2020 in review – travel | lifestyle | blogging

Some might say that 2020 was the most challenging year ever. Others will claim that the year brought them the most opportunities. We will remember 2020 as the year of both the biggest challenges and the biggest opportunities. And definitely the year we’ve grown as travelers, as a couple, and as a business the most. Here comes our yearly review of 2020 – travel-wise, lifestyle-wise, and blog-wise.

2020 was the beginning of a new tradition (hopefully). We decided to do something fun, inspirational, and generally cool on the 20th of every month. Some months it was straightforward, others we had to really work for it, but the feeling to celebrate a day in each month is simply amazing! Our hope is that we’ll keep up with this on the 21st of every month in 2021!

Karnak temple, Luxor, Egypt
Aiming higher in 2021!


An invisible power pushed us to speed up finalizing and publishing the book “The Magic of Traveling in Central America”. That is our biggest publishing project so far and took a lot of time so our plan was to promote the book in the first months of 2020, later to start working on the English version.

On the 20th of January: We had our book opening party in Sofia! It was a blast!


We were planning the travels of the year with full speed resulting in a lot of trips for the first half of the year – both for work and play. We managed to do a SPA weekend and even go for a short road trip in North Macedonia, not even having a clue that those would be our last pre-pandemic travels. Nace even got a fair share of snowboarding in Austria.

On the 20th of February: We followed the route of tram number 20 in Sofia. We walked the whole time, getting on the tram for just one stop, visited 20 different places of interest along the route. We started exactly at 20.02 hours. That was the adventure that became the reason to do something fun and adventurous on the 20th of every month!


We hit the road to stay in Veliko Tarnovo and visit the majestic Tsarevets Fortress on a whim. Since the end of February, everyone was already talking about a virus, and blog views were going down with each day. We thought it was so distant and impossible, but all the signs were saying the opposite. Bulgaria entered a lockdown on March 13, leaving us with a dozen trips to cancel/refund/re-arrange and endless anxiety.

On the 20th of March: Bistra got so many great surprises on the birthday! The day was probably the only sunny (speaking mostly figuratively) in the entire lockdown.

Mexican dinner at home in Sofia
The famous guacamole by chef Nace


We didn’t enjoy it but got used to “stay home, cancel all” mode. Along with many home-made dinners and even more online Ticket to Ride games, we leveraged the treadmill we bought at the beginning of the pandemic and hoped to stop gaining weight. Walks in the neighborhood became our new traveling style.

On the 20th of April: We did a bike tour in Sofia which was, you guessed it, 20 kilometers long! Even with facemasks, it felt soooo good!

Biking in Sofia, April 20, 2020


May arrived and we started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. As soon as the strict “no leaving your town” measures were released, we hit the road for our first post-pandemic trip in a secluded forest south and then headed to the Bulgarian seaside. We extended our stay once or twice, we just didn’t want to go back home.

On the 20th of May: we danced on the lovely empty and beautiful beach of Silistar. Just the two of us!

Silistar beach, Black Sea coast, Bulgaria


Empowered by the sun, we headed to Greece. Our first international trip since you-know-what. Sithonia beaches were calling and we set up our co-working space in 2 different campsites.

On the 20th of June: We rented two boats and did some Diaporos island exploration with our friends who were also camping in Sithonia. We loved boating so much that we did it again later in summer.

A boat trip around Diaporos island, Halkidiki, Greece


We got back to Bulgaria for our annual Vita Rama retreat and then caught the last no-PCR-test train to enter Greece again. Working hard and exploring even harder in our free time, we also managed to somehow find our dream house in Chalkidiki and by the end of July, we were proud owners of a new house! Something we never imagined would happen in 2020, and one of the total highlight of the year!

On the 20th of July: Sunset in Sani. True to our nature to chase sunrises and sunset, we headed to the Sani area in search of a fortress. It turned out we had to penetrate a temporarily closed 5-star-resort to enjoy the golden phenomenon.

Sunset at Sani resort, Halkidiki, Greece


We needed to go back to our Sofia base to start our first real international journey (as Greece is officially home now). We flew to Germany to meet family, had a day trip to Liechtenstein (a new country on our list), and finally got to Iceland to enjoy summer in this out-of-this-world place. A pure blessing!

On the 20th of August: We joined a boat trip to observe humpback whales. It was freezing yet one of the most joyful moments of the year!


Bistra joined an embodied arts project in Croatia while Nace headed straight to our new home in Greece. The weather in September allowed us to spend the better part of it in the sea and on the beach.

On the 20th of September: We had just reunited in Greece and celebrated the moment by dancing on Dionisiou beach.

Dancing on Dionisiou beach, Greece


If we mastered one thing in 2020, this would be working efficiently and hard so we have more free time to enjoy the surroundings. October allowed us to enjoy some great weather and swimming, a trip to Meteora monasteries, and a weekend on Lesbos island. And we got back to Bulgaria for the wedding of the year.

On the 20th of October: We were back teaching dance for the first time since the pandemic started. It’s an emotion you can only dance to describe!

Dance teachers back to dance


A very improvised and spontaneous trip to Turkey (all our 2020 trips are marked by those qualities) brought us to visit Istanbul off-the-beaten-path, the magical cotton-white Pamukkale, and the majestic natural phenomena of Cappadocia (where we spent Nace’s birthday). The end of the year turned out to be tough times for us and our families, as we had to say goodbye to very beloved members.

On the 20th of November: We attended a theater play in Sofia. This fall, we watched several comedies – we definitely needed more of that!

Hot-air balloons over Cappadocia, Turkey


A new book was coming – “The Magic of Traveling in Tanzania”. That was our gift to all readers and friends at the end of the year. We escaped for a weekend by the fireplaces and absorbing energy from the Krushuna Waterfalls. After releasing the book, we headed to Egypt where we were kissed by the sun and countless colorful fish.

On the 20th of December: We cuddled around a fireplace and then got sprinkled by a waterfall!

Krushuna Waterfalls, Bulgaria

*A short note of statistics on 2020 travels

A new base set up – Greece. Countries visited – 10 (Bulgaria, North Macedonia, Austria, Greece, Germany, Liechtenstein, Iceland, Croatia, Turkey, Egypt). New countries visited – Liechtenstein and Egypt. PCR tests per person – 5 (upon entering Iceland, before entering Greece, at the border with Greece, before entering Egypt, after returning to Bulgaria from Egypt).

This was a review of the year 2020 for us with all the changes in travels and lifestyle it brought. Now it’s time to talk business and share with you all about The Magic of Traveling blog and our other business endeavors in 2020.

35 new articles

Our main blog achievement is that we managed to stay motivated and resilient and continued creating travel content in times where almost nobody thought of traveling! We are absolutely stunned to realize we’ve managed to publish 35 new articles on the blog and updated even more.

New section on the platform: where to stay

We believe where you stay can be of crucial importance for your travel experience, sometimes even the whole experience itself. So we officially started a new section on the blog full of inspiration on where to stay, hotel reviews, and how to make a memorable staycation.

New partnerships

We didn’t expect to have many partnerships since the Covid-19 outbreak. But we’re mesmerized to say that even with just a few of them, we created some amazing impact. So we’re all set for more partnerships in 2021!

Travel content collabs

We collaborated with other travel bloggers to craft some useful and helpful content: what to do instead of freaking out about the pandemic; transformational travel series; where to ski in Europe series.

Thank you, people who contributed to The Magic of Traveling in 2020!

Best affiliate sales month ever

We didn’t expect to have our best affiliate sales month ever in the midst of a pandemic! We loved that travelers are so agile and adapt to the new ways of traveling while taking care of themselves.

In our business advice for travel bloggers article, we talk about this powerful approach.

Hotel Villa Magus, spa near Sofia

Ads network tested

We decided to give an ad network a try in February. The integration process was anything but smooth and easy, the ad showings were not so reliable, the site views went down and after a couple of months of believing and making efforts to run ads profitably, we decided to shut down this attempt and wait for better times and better ad networks to leverage.

The art of giving and selling travel books in 2020

It’s an art we need to master even more but the great news is we reached so many people with our books in 2020. We’ll keep on offering the most precious gifts and inspire you even more!

Publishing a new book

Who in their right mind would publish a new travel book in the midst of a pandemic? “The Magic of Traveling in Tanzania” was our official initiating ceremony to the cuckoo club.

The Journey Box

Some years ago, we started The Journey Box as a very romantic endeavor to offer travel emotions and experiences in a simple box. 2020 came to prove that people will continue traveling, even from inside the box!

Our first virtual travel mart

Our original plan was to leverage attending travel marts and conferences in 2020. At the end of the day, we only attended one virtual event of this type – World Travel Market. We got in touch with tourism boards, brands, authorities, and reassured ourselves we can work together to recover traveling.

Virtual travels

Even in the darkest times of 2020, we somehow managed to mentally survive. And a big part of that is due to the new project we started – Виртуални пътешестия. The online travel talks took us to 7 countries around the world and kept our sanity alive!

Durankulak swamp, Northern Black Sea, Bulgaria

Our YouTube channel

We’ve been having The Magic of Traveling YouTube channel for a few years and never pushed ourselves to upload stuff unless we felt the muse to create something interesting. Even without a special effort to promote our channel, we have more than enough watch time to monetize it. The thing is, we need to reach 1000 subscribers to be eligible. We’d like to call for action here, please do subscribe to our channel and support our work there!

Your Cultural Tour

Our new travel platform is still not officially launched but it’s time to share it with The Magic of Traveling family – that’s you! We’ve been working on Your Cultural Tour for the past few months to create a cultural travel platform that hosts guest writers sharing amazing stories of cultural immersion, as well as local tour providers who can give travelers memorable cultural experiences. A crucial part of traveling is to learn, discover, and appreciate cultures and Your Cultural Tour is here to help you do that.

Showing our support

We personally support many causes and 2020 was no exception. Besides contributing our time, money, or effort to different causes, we used the blog to spread the word and help some initiatives this year – fighting Covid-19 and building a school in Tanzania.

The Great Pyramid of Giza, Cairo, Egypt

Here’s some food for thought. To be a traveler during a global pandemic is like being a wine sommelier while pregnant. It looks impossible, but if you commit to finding a way to do it, you’ll find one. So let us ask you – what way did you find to travel, what way are you willing to stick to? Cheers and fingers crossed for a fruitful and peaceful 2021!

At the end of our 2020 review, we’d like to say thank you to all of you who were there for us in those turbulent times! Our wish is to stay connected in 2021 and be there for each other no matter what the new year will offer!

2020 in review - travel lifestyle blogging
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