The year 2020 seemed more like an apocalyptic sci-fi movie to most of us, and more so to travelers around the world. While COVID-19 dealt a huge blow to travel and travel-based businesses worldwide, it also crushed all our dream trip plans that we made for this year. I, for instance, had at least 5 trips planned for this year, and only one proper trip materialized, in February, which was to Varkala. I did manage another masked trip on my birthday, though not too far away from my hometown.
However, apart from travel, which was next to nil in 2020, I also tried getting my dose of oxygen from a few other things. One of them was food. Since I have been in my hometown, Kolkata, since March 2020 (and not in Bangalore, where I work), I had the opportunity to taste some of the finest local dishes from authentic eateries in Kolkata (which I had missed for the last 5 years in B'lore). So, while the signature Kolkata dishes such as aloo+egg biryani and "koraishutir kochuri" weren't missed, neither were sweet dishes such as "narkel nadu" and the traditional "gur" dishes such as "patishapta," "gurer roshogolla," and "gur rabri."
Apart from food, I also had the opportunity to buy scores of local handloom products from Facebook and Instagram lives. While most of these were bought directly from sellers, some were bought through local boutiques. So, I enriched my wardrobe with everything from the local "kantha" and "jamdani," to "ajrakh," "indigo," "chikankari," and "phulkari," all sourced from local sellers. Also, this online shopping spree made me forget all my woes of not being able to shop for souvenirs at local flea markets while traveling.
Added to this was my shopping spree for handmade accessories. While shopping from local sellers helped small businesses, it also made me realize what I had been missing all these years while I shopped mostly at malls.
Lastly, I quenched my travel thirst by reading up a lot on travel and making scores of future travel plans. So my travel reading list included not just blogs and online itineraries, but also some well-researched books and personal travel accounts of seasoned travelers.
All in all, the hypochondriac in me hasn't let me travel seriously after the lockdown, but the travel junkie in me definitely wishes to make up for all the real travel lost in 2020 by traveling at a stretch for a few months, once this nightmare is over.