What a strange and stop-start year it has been. With the nosedive in the popularity (and possibility) of travelling overseas in 2020 I saw my work switch to focus almost 100% to Britain and, more specifically Wales – which was probably apt, as almost all the travelling I did was Wales-based.
Quite a significant amount of this was for Undiscovered Wales, which lockdown gave me and co-founder Kerry Walker the chance to create, and it’s been great to see that going from strength to strength, with almost 100 insightful in-depth travel features as of this month on all aspects of Welsh travel from cuisine to coastal hikes and country manors, and over 3000 monthly reads.
Quite a significant amount more was for research on the forthcoming Lonely Planet Wales, Britain and Best Britain Trips titles. Researching this during the umpteen lockdowns, tier restrictions and general pandemic-era public reticence to be quite so welcoming to travel writers, came with its own set of challenges, but the results, as adventurers will soon get to see, are fantastically inspirational and provide the perfect base for planning special post-lockdown journeys.
I was lucky enough to get to work on several other inspirational travel titles too: Lonely Planet’s Wine Trails of Europe (my contribution was on Hungary’s Tokaji region) and Ultimate Travel List 2 which ranks the 500 best places on the planet to visit as voted for by the world’s top travel writers (I contributed a bunch of chapters for this one on everything from St David’s Cathedral to the mesmeric Andean Inca ruins of Choquequirao). I also authored the Welsh chapter of the just-out Good Pub Guide 2021 and so quite literally got to drink my way around Wales and be paid for doing so.
A lack of opportunity to travel to the far-flung cities of the globe also meant increased opportunities for exploring far closer to home: writing a lot about Cardiff (one of the few capitals Brits were easily able to visit last year!) and one of the most incredible hikes I have ever done, the Cambrian Way which runs south-north across the rugged mountain spine of Wales.
2021 is set to be a year far more open in its possibility, and I’m already excited to be working with several very different clients this year (more news on that another time). But 2020 did teach us some useful lessons, us travel writers included.
It taught us to visualise an adventure not in some distant land but right under our own noses. Ultimate Travel is not necessarily back-of-beyond wildernesses. It can begin in our back gardens.