Taylor-Eataly

“When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents and these moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same. You have grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living. You are wrapped in endless boundless grace and things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday.” – Morgan Harper Nichols (The quote I chose for 2020.)


Year in Review 2020

A woman spending New Year's 2020 at Disney World

A year ago, I rang in 2020 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was absolutely magical watching all of the talented shows in front of Cinderella’s Castle that was decked out in purple, silver and blue lights.

I remember saying to myself “This is finally going to be my year!” I thought my blog was going to take off – meaning that I would make a sustainable living from ad income, sponsored posts, etc.; I thought I was going to move to a new city and travel to all of these amazing new countries on my bucket list… But 2020 had other plans!

I will admit that Q1 of 2020 treated me pretty well. I managed to take two international trips until March happened and then the whole world became infected with the famous C word we all rather forget.

Even though 2020 didn’t happen the way we all thought it would – new decade, new goals, new successes, new beginnings; it was a year where every single one of us were faced with challenges in ways we never thought possible. 2020 made us appreciate what we have and to never take anything for granted!

A woman picking cherry blossoms in 2020

Throughout the challenges also came silver linings. Even though I didn’t get to go on all of the amazing international trips I had planned this year, 2020 forced me to adventure around my own country and to appreciate the magic of domestic travel.

Since I started Brown Eyed Flower Child in 2018, I have been sharing annual reviews on my blog of my top moments, highlights, downsides and lessons learned throughout the year. I hope you all enjoy my 2020 year in review!

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin this Post to Keep Handy

2020 Top Moments, Highlights, Downsides and Lessons Learned

Winter 2020

A woman at Lago di Braies in 2020

January:

Walt Disney World New Year's 2020

After ringing in the New Year at Walt Disney World, I couldn’t wait to finally go on my first international trip of the decade which was a dream trip to the Italian Dolomites. (Little did I know that would be my ONLY trip to Europe this year.)

My trip to the Italian Dolomites in mid-January was the first time I ever worked with a tourism board (Val Gardena) and a ski resort (Kronplatz). I worked so hard to get those collaborations and on top of that, I worked with an amazing hotel (Hotel Teresa) that brought me on some epic adventures.

A woman tobogganing in the Italian Dolomites

My Dolomites trip was the only solo trip I took this year, which is pretty crazy considering I traveled a lot on my own in 2019. What was great about my trip to the Dolomites was that I met so many awesome people through Hotel Teresa.

During my Dolomites trip, I also rented a car for the first time and got my international driver’s license. I will admit that it was a little overwhelming renting a car on my own for the very first time in a foreign country and I did end up getting a ticket because I didn’t know how the toll situation worked when I first got on the Auto Strata (highway)… FAIL! Thankfully, I gained my confidence and the staff at Hotel Teresa told me what to do moving forward.

A woman skiing at Kronplatz in the Italian Dolomites

In the Italian Dolomites, I got to go on some epic winter hikes, ate in cute wooden huts on the mountains, skied down Olympic-level slopes, went tobogganing down the Alps and had the time of my life.

The very first time I had heard of the C word was when I just arrived home from my Dolomites trip! My dad told me that it had broken out in China and it was quickly spreading.

In addition to my Italy trip, I also attended the New York Times Travel Show in late January and it was the very last event I went to in NYC before everything happened.

February:

Angkor Wat at sunrise in 2020

During the month of February, I went on my last international trip before knowing it would be a while until I would travel abroad again.

My friend and former coworker Sam and I did a big Southeast Asia trip to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Before my trip to Asia, I spent winter weekends ice skating at Bear Mountain and did a big SuperBowl campaign. We also found out the devastating news of Kobe Bryant’s death. When it comes to the NBA, my family are huge Lakers fans, so everyone was very upset over this! I feel like that was when things in the world really started to make a turn for the worst.

I did get my first magazine feature in 201 Magazine and I was also featured in USA Today‘s newspaper networks in the state of New Jersey. It was an incredible feeling being featured in a publication for my passion and all of my hard work! (I was also featured in the magazine again in December.)

Now, before I go into my Vietnam and Cambodia trip, I do want to let you know that I was going back and forth on whether or not I should cancel since the situation was getting bad in Asia.

At that point, I was uneducated, naive and knew very little about what was going on. My parents tried to talk me out of it, but after speaking to a few people who had been living in Bali, I decided to just go since the trip and hotel collaborations were already coordinated. In all honesty, I’m so glad I went on this trip!

Two women exploring Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia

It was Sam’s first time in Asia, so we made sure to experience everything that Vietnam and Cambodia are known for!

We started our journey in Ho Chi Minh City where I got to work with the Park Hyatt Saigon, which is one of the most prestigious hotels in HCMC.

A woman in Ho Chi Minh City in 2020

During our time in Saigon, we got to walk around and explore some of the popular landmarks. We also got to meet up with two of my Instagram friends Marisa of This World Traveled and Kathy.

After spending time in Ho Chi Minh City, Sam and I flew to Siem Reap Cambodia, where I got to work with a stunning hotel called Sokkhak Boutique Resort.

A woman enjoying a hotel pool in Siem Reap, Cambodia

During our few days in Siem Reap, we got to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, have fun on Pub Street and relax in the sun!

From Siem Reap, we flew back to Vietnam and spent time on the coast in the central part of the country.

We enjoyed the first part of our time in Central Vietnam in beautiful Da Nang where we saw the famous Linh Ung Pagoda and Lady Buddha along with the famous Golden Bridge at Sun World in Ba Na Hills as well as Marble Mountains.

A woman exploring the temples in Da Nang, Vietnam

Hoi An was my favorite part of Vietnam because I enjoyed experiencing the culture there and I loved the digital nomad and expat community that it boasted.

Sam and I thoroughly enjoyed a coconut forest tour on a basket boat. Even though it down poured during our tour, it didn’t stop us from having a good time. After that, we got to savor an amazing lunch in a rice field!

Later that evening, we got to enjoy the dreamy vibes in Hoi An’s Ancient Town that is filled with colorful lanterns. I felt like I was in a dream!

A woman walking through Hoi An Ancient Town and admiring all of the lanterns

(During my time in Da Nang and Hoi An, I got to work with two sister boutique hotels – Bridges Da Nang and Beach Haven Suites.)

Next, our travels took us to Cat Ba Island. Now, I would have to say that Cat Ba was probably the most disappointing part of our trip.

A woman in Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Asia had already been affected during our time in Vietnam, so most of the hot spots that we visited were pretty quiet.

During our time on Cat Ba Island, Sam and I stayed at one of the nicer hotels on the beach and it was literally just us and a French family there. What is usually a fun island filled with adventure was completely vacant. Walking through the halls of our hotel and eating at their restaurant was quite eerie since there wasn’t a soul around and it was a rather large resort.

A woman hiking Cat Ba National Park in 2020

Some of the highlights of our time on Cat Ba Island were hiking in the National Park and having fun in the town center at night. We also got to relax at the beach, even though it was a bit chilly since Northern Vietnam gets cold in the winter.

Another bummer regarding our time at Cat Ba Island was that we couldn’t do a day tour around Ha Long Bay, due to the current world situation. I was a little upset about it because it was something I was looking forward to during my time in Vietnam, but guess I’ll have to come back in the future!

A woman on the iconic Train Street in Hanoi, Vietnam

We ended our trip in Hanoi, which I loved! The foodie scene there was amazing and both Sam and I enjoyed wandering around the French Quarter, watching the train go by on the iconic Train Street, walking through the Temple of Jade Mountain and sipping coffee in The Note Coffee café.

When I arrived home from my Southeast Asia trip, I had found out that the C word had reached Europe and cases were rising in Italy, where I was the previous month! That’s when I knew this was bad.

March:

A woman staying at Woolverton Inn during 2020

Ah March! The month where everything went downhill. At this point, the C word already reached the U.S. and was slowly starting to spread around the country.

Thankfully, I didn’t have any big international trips planned for March except a mini getaway in my home state and I had also booked a domestic trip to the Southwest because I thought “why not?”.

During the first week of March, I did a wonderful, sponsored collaboration at the Woolverton Inn in Stockton, New Jersey. I brought along my friend Michele, a fellow New Jersey creator who I had been friends with on Instagram for a while at that point.

Two women enjoying hot chocolate at Woolverton Inn in New Jersey

Overall, Michele and I had a great time staying at the Woolverton Inn and we also got to enjoy walking around the quaint towns of Lawrenceville, New Jersey and New Hope, Pennsylvania. Little did I know that this would be the last hoorah for a few months…

The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day was when we officially went into lockdown. I did enjoy one last night out with a friend at a brewery before everything got shut down.

It was really tough having to cancel all of my trips for the foreseeable future and it was even more difficult seeing my blog traffic drop by 75% during this time period since everyone all over the world stopped traveling. (I had finally started growing my traffic and many of my blog posts were finally ranking on major search engines. I was halfway to getting on Mediavine, the ad platform that promises a sustainable income for bloggers.)

In addition, due to everything going on, a lot of companies lost money, employees were furloughed and brand collabs had stopped coming in during lockdown. (During Q1, I had received the most brand collaborations as a blogger than ever before. Success was looking very promising for 2020. Even though this year was a set back for my blog, business started to pick back up in September, which I’m very grateful for.)

A woman at home in 2020

I ended up using this time period to work on some back end stuff on my website and I also started going through and optimizing older articles. I am happy that I had the time to do that since a lot of those older posts are now ranking. I also increased my DA (Domain Authority) by doing guest posts on other bloggers’ websites.

I am far from being a homebody, but in the beginning I was okay with being home since I kept myself busy by fixing my blog, watching The Office on Netflix (the first show I’ve finished in several years) and eating my weight in baked goods.

A woman hiking at Ringwood State Park in 2020

During the month of March, my family and I also did some local hikes in the State Parks nearby. We enjoyed hiking at Harriman State Park, Ringwood State Park, Bear Mount State Park and Sterling Forest State Park in New York.

Spring 2020

A woman enjoying the spring in 2020

April:

April was the worst month of the year. Things in the New York City area were getting so bad and a lot of people were getting sick and dying. Watching the news was so depressing and what was really tough about it was that we couldn’t escape the negativity because stay at home orders were really being enforced, which was rightfully so.

All State Parks officially shut down in early April, so we started taking daily walks around our neighborhood. It had been the first time in a handful of years where I actually got to walk around the neighborhood I grew up in.

2020 was the first year that we spent Easter without family. It was a bummer as we usually spend the holiday at my family’s shore house. We still made the best of it by making all of our favorite dishes, virtually seeing our extended family through WebX and enjoying the beautiful cherry blossom trees in the area.

After Easter, the fam and I started going stir crazy sitting in the house, so that was when we decided to start going down the shore to our beach home in Lavallette every weekend moving forward.

A woman enjoying the bay in 2020

We enjoyed ordering out from our favorite restaurants, taking long walks along the bay and seeing some familiar faces from a distance. The beach and boardwalk did not open until May, but we did get to sit on the bayside beach during warmer days, which was nice!

May:

A woman enjoying her time at home in 2020

There wasn’t much of a difference from April to May except that State Parks reopened and we were able to continue our local hikes. Outdoor dining started to resume in New Jersey at the end of the month, so my friend and I made it a goal to visit a new brewery every week to get out and socialize from a distance. The beach also opened as well, so we were able to start sitting oceanside again.

Overall, lockdown was difficult, but it wasn’t unbearable. Like I said above, I am not a homebody, but those three months made me enjoy the little things about being home.

All of us had been affected by this situation in one way or the other and we were all in the same boat… AT HOME! I did enjoy my weekly Zoom calls with my friends Kristy and Hannah as well as my friend Kristin. It was the closest thing to having a social life during that time period and we all were able to help each other through heartbreak, tough times and discouraging moments.

June:

A woman admiring the views of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

The world situation started to get a little better in June and thankfully, travel started to slowly come back. I rebooked my Southwest road trip for my 29th birthday and my mom and youngest brother ended up coming with me.

A family in Las Vegas during 2020

Our road trip started and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada and we got to stay at The Venetian Resort. I enjoyed a nice birthday dinner and brunch at two renowned restaurants in the hotel and got a small taste of what Sin City has to offer.

A woman on the Grand Canyon West Skywalk

From Vegas, we made our way into Arizona and I did a collaboration with Grand Canyon West. It was so epic seeing the Grand Canyon for the very first time and we also got to walk over the glass Skywalk that they have there!

After our day at Grand Canyon West, we made our way to Sedona, which is a breathtaking city that features red rock canyons all around!

A woman hiking Devil's Bridge in Sedona

We did the hike to Devil’s Bridge, which was extremely hot and we definitely didn’t have enough water, but it was totally worth it! My mom, brother and I also got to eat at Lisa Dahl’s renowned restaurants, which were absolutely AMAZING!

Our last part in Arizona was spent in Page where we got to see the incredible Horseshoe Bend and even did a day trip to Monument Valley – two places that have been high on my USA bucket list for a while.

A woman at Monument Valley in 2020

I loved the Western vibes that Page offered and I hope to go back and see Antelope Canyon, which was unfortunately closed due to the world situation, and also kayak along Lake Powell.

A woman at Bryce Canyon National Park in 2020

Utah was epic and that was where we spent the last leg of our trip. From Page, we drove north to Bryce Canyon National Park, which was also a cool USA bucket list hotspot that I got to cross off.

A woman hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park in 2020

After spending half a day at Bryce, we made our way to Zion National Park where I got to collaborate with Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and East Zion Adventures.

A woman canyoneering in Zion National Park in 2020

During our time at Zion, we had such a blast mini golfing at Zion Ponderosa, stargazing at night, canyoneering, going on hikes and walking through The Narrows. If I had to choose a highlight of this trip, it was definitely canyoneering in Zion National Park!

Summer 2020

A woman enjoying a summer day in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

July:

July was an even better month than June, thankfully! Summer was probably the highlight of the year in general because I got to enjoy more road trips around the USA.

A woman enjoying a road trip in 2020

Even though I didn’t get to go on all of the international trips I had hoped for in 2020, I truly had a lot fun exploring the USA and seeing most of the big National Parks that have been on my bucket list for many years. I gained a whole new level of appreciation for domestic travel!

During the months of July and August, we spent a lot of time at the family beach house in Lavallette, which is always so nice!

Three women enjoying happy hour drinks in Lake Tahoe

Later in the month, I also did another mini road trip out west in Northern California and Oregon with my friends Kristy of Ventre’s Adventures and Hannah of Don’t Blink Blog.

Our road trip kicked off by spending a few days in Lake Tahoe, which had been a longtime dream destination for me to visit. Overall, Lake Tahoe was definitely the highlight of the trip, if I had to choose, although I truly enjoyed all of the other spots we visited along our road trip.

A woman admiring the views at Emerald Lake in Lake Tahoe during 2020

I worked with an adventure resort called Granlibbakken Tahoe in Tahoe City, California. During our time around the lake, we got to enjoy epic hikes, swimming in the crystal blue waters and so much more. I hope to return to Lake Tahoe in the future!

After our three days in Tahoe and also exploring the Emerald Pools, Kristy had to depart since she was starting her new teaching job, so Hannah and I continued on.

A woman at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California

We first made our way to Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is outside of Redding, California. Overall, I loved Lassen and it was definitely one of the most underrated National Parks I’ve visited.

From Redding, we drove to the Pacific Coast and explored Redwoods National and State Parks in Bigfoot territory. Seeing the tallest trees on Earth was one of the most magical experiences!

A woman in the Redwoods during 2020

Even though this area in California was chilly for July, it was absolutely mystical! We stayed in the town of Crescent City, which I will admit was bit sketchy, but I did get to savor the best clam chowder in a bread bowl!

A woman at Natural Bridges in Oregon

Next, Hannah and I made our way into Oregon and were amazed by all of the natural beauty that we saw! We first stopped at Natural Bridges, where we made an attempt to actually walk over the bridges, but due to extremely steep hills, dangerous cliffs and poison ivy, we didn’t want to risk our lives.

A woman enjoying the views at Coos Bay in Oregon

Afterwards, we drove up to Coos Bay where we admired more breathtaking coastal views! It was surreal being there.

A woman hiking Sweet Creek Falls in 2020

Before reaching the city of Eugene where we spent the night, Hannah found a hidden gem called Sweet Creek Falls. The hike along these waterfalls was extremely easy, but it was one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen! Oregon made its way to one of the most beautiful states I’ve visited.

A woman hiking in Mount Hood National Forest in 2020

From Eugene, where we got to enjoy some delicious food, we spent a day at Mount Hood National Forest. At Mount Hood, we did the Tamanawas Falls trail where we saw more breathtaking waterfalls!

A woman in front of the Portland, Oregon stag sign in 2020

We ended our California and Oregon road trip in Portland. I will admit that traveling to Portland during the time we did was questionable due to all of the crime that was going on. It was pretty unfortunate that so much destruction was going on in the city because I found Portland to be very beautiful.

Two women in Portland, Oregon

Thankfully, Hannah and I stayed away from all of the chaos and enjoyed exploring the city parks and savoring amazing food at Portland’s renowned restaurants. During our time in Oregon’s capital, I also worked with the Inn at Northrup Station, which was a cool retro-style boutique hotel.

August:

I started the month of August spending a full week at the shore house with my mom. We usually spend weekends down the shore, so whenever I get the opportunity to enjoy a full week there, it is always so nice and rejuvenating.

The only downside to my week down the shore was that there was a major storm that passed through, leaving us with no power for 24 hours. Other besides that, it was nice to enjoy the week with the ocean breeze in our faces.

A woman enjoying an Aperol Spritz at Hammetts Hotel in Newport 2020

I didn’t go on a big domestic trip in August, but instead, I did two short getaways in New England. The first getaway I did was with my mom to Newport, Rhode Island. It was my second time in Newport within a year since I did a day trip during fall 2019.

During our time in Newport, I got a lovely sponsored stay with a beautiful brand-new boutique hotel called Hammetts Hotel. I also got to work with a sailing company called Sightsailing of Newport where I enjoyed a morning mimosa sail on the Narragansett Bay.

A woman on a sailboat in Newport, Rhode Island

Our time in Newport this summer was spent enjoying the best restaurants the city offers, exploring the elegant Newport mansions and even visiting a local winery.

Later in the month, I did another New England getaway to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts with my friend Kristin. We stayed at Nobnocket Boutique Inn, which was a charming bed and breakfast located in Vineyard Haven.

A woman enjoying summer in Martha's Vineyard

During our time in Martha’s Vineyard, we got to savor the most delicious seafood, craft beer and more! We also got to visit the beach and even do a hike along breathtaking cliffs.

In addition, Kristin and I also got to visit Cape Cod and enjoy some of the wonderful summer activities it offers such as wine tasting!

A woman at Cape Cod Winery during 2020

In addition to my two New England getaways, my mom and I also accomplished walking over the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is a 7.2-mile roundtrip journey.

The specific day that my mom and I decided to do this walk was one of the hottest days during the summer and there was absolutely no shade on the bridge whatsoever!

The walkway starts in Nyack, NY and goes to Tarrytown, NY or vice versa. Since we started in Nyack, we walked across to Tarrytown where we enjoyed beautiful views of the Hudson River Valley and had lunch at a fun biergarten!

Overall, it was a very difficult walk in the summer, but I do recommend it if you’re in the NYC area! Please bring a lot of water, snacks and even save this experience for a cooler day in the fall or spring.

September:

September is one of my most favorite months during the year. You could still enjoy summer fun without the crowds, the weather is beautiful and there is a lot of excitement around autumn, which is my second favorite season.

The month of September is usually filled with seafood festivals, but unfortunately everything was canceled this year due to obvious reasons.

My family and I still enjoyed spending weekends down the shore and at the end of the month, I went on my third road trip out in the American West.

Two women at Glacier National Park in 2020

My cousin Alexie and I did our mini road trip in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. We began our trip in Kalispell/Whitefish, Montana where we explored Glacier National Park. From there, we made our way to the National Bison Range, Missoula and Bozeman.

During our time in Montana, we admired all of the breathtaking scenery, saw cool wildlife and drank amazing craft beer. I loved it there!

A woman at Yosemite National Park during 2020

After spending a few days in Montana, Alexie and I made our way into Wyoming where we explored Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Being amazed at all of the cool natural wonders at Yellowstone easily made it one of my favorite National Parks and during our time there, we got to see more bison and even a grizzly bear cub from a distance!

A woman hiking at Grand Teton in Wyoming

Hiking in Grand Teton was also amazing, but I do wish we had extra time to explore more trails there. It is truly a gorgeous National Park!

A highlight during our time in Wyoming was staying at Chamberlin Inn in the charming Western town of Cody. The hotel was absolutely lovely and the town itself made me feel like I was in a Western movie with all of its saloons, rodeos and charm.

A woman at Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs Colorado

The last part of our road trip was spent in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We drove around seven hours from Cody, Wyoming to Steamboat and even though there wasn’t much along the way, it was definitely worth it when we finally arrived!

My cousin and I stayed in a charming mountain Airbnb and we got to go hiking, visit the hot springs and enjoy the quaintness of Steamboat Springs’ downtown area.

Fall 2020

A woman at a Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast during fall

October:

I love the month of October because it is full of fall fun! I always like visiting wineries, cideries and farms. I got to enjoy all of the fun fall festivities with my friends this year, including my local Oktoberfest, which I’m super grateful for!

A woman on a food tour in Brooklyn in 2020

In addition, I also got to work with Intrepid Travel and do their NYC Urban Adventures food tour in Brooklyn. It was the very first time I participated in a food tour and I enjoyed all of the delicious staples that Brooklyn offers.

A woman feeding the flamingos in Aruba

In the middle of the month, I went on my very first international trip since February to Aruba. It was my second time in the Caribbean and I absolutely loved relaxing at the beach, horseback riding in the National Park, windsurfing for the first time and seeing the famous pink flamingos.

A woman swimming under water in Aruba

During my time in Aruba, I worked with the amazing Divi All Inclusive resort and I also got to work with Wonders Boutique Hotel. My trip to Aruba was a family trip and we all had an amazing time!

At the end of October, my friend Kristin and I did another fun New England getaway to Salem, Massachusetts for Halloween. During my time in Salem, I worked with the Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

A woman in Salem, Massachusetts during Halloween 2020

Even though Salem was pretty quiet compared to recent years and it down poured and then snowed on us, we still had a great time visiting all of the Salem Witch Trials and Hocus Pocus locations! We also went to a local cidery and ate at great restaurants.

In addition, we also spent a night in Boston and I got to revisit The Liberty Hotel, which is my absolute favorite luxury hotel in the city.

November:

A woman staying at Yourcation Awaits in Rosemary Beach, Florida

The month of November brought me on two new domestic trips. At the beginning of the month, I partnered with Yourcation Awaits and stayed at their Rosemary Beach location in Florida. It had been on my bucket list to visit the 30a area of Florida (the Panhandle) and I loved everything about it when I was there.

A woman enjoying her trip at 30a Florida

Since the rental property featured five bedrooms, I invited five other bloggers to join me in Rosemary Beach. I, along with Hannah of Don’t Blink Blog, Alex of East Coast Contessa, Shwetha of Chasing Shwetha and Ashley of World to Wander made amazing memories both at the beach and at all of the fun spots along 30a.

November also consisted of great hikes within the Hudson Valley and it was so cool to discover new trails that I’ve never done before like Breakneck Ridge, Timpe Torne Trail and more! (Thanks to my fellow blogger friend Rebecca for introducing me to a lot of these amazing hikes!)

A woman enjoying her weekend in the Finger Lakes in 2020

Later in the month, my mom and I did a late fall weekend getaway to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. I had never been to the Finger Lakes before, but so many NYC bloggers inspired me to go this year.

A woman enjoying at hike at Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes

During my time in the Finger Lakes, I partnered with the Inns of Aurora in Aurora, New York and The Bond 1835 in Skaneateles, New York. My mom and I had a great time hiking at Watkins Glen, wine tasting along the Cayuga Wine Trail and visiting the MacKenzie-Childs headquarters.

We closed off the month by having a lovely Thanksgiving with our usual crowd (our usual crowd met the exact limit for the amount of people we were supposed to allow in our homes during this weird time period).

A woman enjoy The Greens Rooftop at Pier 17 in 2020

I also got to meet up with fellow New York City travel bloggers and enjoyed my very first Christmas activity at The Greens’ Cabins, which is located on Pier 17 in South Street Seaport. I had a great time reconnecting with fellow NYC bloggers who I hadn’t seen in several months and the cabins were so cozy!

December:

A woman in front of Cartier during the holiday season

Since cases started to rise in December, I decided it was best to not hop on a flight this month and simply enjoy the Christmas magic in New York City. I figured this was the best year to get holiday content in NYC since there were no crowds due to the current world events.

My mom and I spent a few days in downtown Manhattan as I worked with Sonder. We got to see all of the Christmas decorations in the Financial District, at South Street Seaport, in Midtown and more!

A woman enjoying Christmas at Oscar Wilde in NYC

I also revisited New York City to do more Christmas activities with Caitlin of My Darling Passport and I even got to see the magical Christmas light displays at Dyker Heights in Brooklyn with my other friend Kristen.

Our Christmas was spent the same way we spend it every other year where we enjoy the Italian-American Feast of the Seven Fishes at my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family and a traditional celebration at my parent’s house on Christmas Day with my mom’s side.

Right after Christmas, my mom and I went back into New York City to enjoy one last Christmas adventure. We savored a great lunch at Eataly, which features a seasonal rooftop that decorates beautifully for the holidays. Afterwards, we had fun ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center; a major NYC bucket list goal!

A woman ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center

December was my most successful month to date! I scored my highest paying collaboration and made the most I ever had as a blogger. I can’t wait to see what the New Year has in store for my business. I have a lot of great plans that I cannot wait to expose to you all soon!!!

I am looking forward to ringing in the New Year quietly at home. It is the first year in a while that I am okay with not having any plans. I’m actually quite proud of myself for finally being okay with that and not feeling FOMO, but I will admit that if the current situation in our world wasn’t happening, I most likely would’ve booked a trip to ring in 2021. We always have next year though!

I hope you all have a Happy, Healthy, Safe and Prosperous New Year! I’m excited and hopeful for 2021 and wish each and every one of you the best.


What I Learned in 2020

A woman at Hudson Yards during the holiday season 2020

Since this blog post is long enough, I figured I would list everything I learned this year:

  • It is okay to have long term goals, but short-term goals are way more feasible and you are less likely to be disappointed from them.
  • Don’t ever take advantage of anything whether it be health; time with family and friends; traveling freely; being invited to an epic event; going to an office happy hour and I could go on!
  • You could still live your best life, even during a crisis, but you may just have to adjust a bit.
  • A minor setback always leads to a major comeback.
  • Domestic trips could be just as rewarding as an international trip.
  • You have a voice and it is so important to speak up about what you believe in.
  • There is a silver lining to every situation.
  • You are not alone.
  • Nature is the best healer.
  • It makes a huge difference surrounding yourself with people who simply get you!
  • Manifesting works and it is powerful!
  • The best thing to do during a difficult time is to meditate.

Even though this wasn’t the most ideal year for travel, I still got to do three international trips; journey to three brand new countries; enjoy 10 domestic trips, which included two staycations; visit six new states; saw seven new National Parks as well as countless State Parks and made countless new memories.

I am excited and hopeful for 2021 and I know deep in my heart that it will be a prosperous year filled with miracles and breakthroughs for many people.

I want to thank you all for your continued support all year long. Brown Eyed Flower Child wouldn’t exist without you and I truly hope our paths cross at some point in the future. Sending you all love and joy in this New Year!

Love,

Taylor

A woman on a trip in Aruba in 2020

Click here to join my private blog sharing Facebook group.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

Related posts

40 Things to do in NYC During the Holidays

One of the most fascinating places to experience all of the Christmas magic is in New York City. From Rockefeller...

Pursue Your Dream Life with CreditRepair.com

Thank you CreditRepair.com for sponsoring this post. CreditRepair.com’s team understands that a credit score is not just a number; it's...

Late Fall Finger Lakes Weekend Itinerary

Most people think to visit New York’s Finger Lakes during summertime and the warmer months in general, but many do...

8 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on December 31, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Wow. for a very different and strange 2020, you made the best of it and was able to see alot of stunning places in our home country. I am glad I was able to take several of those trips with you. I am so glad to have seen the breathtaking National parks out west, the beautiful finger lakes and parts of New England. Aruba was another awesome and well needed vacation. We were able to really relax without all the crowds. Christmas in NYC was a huge success. Loved skating at Rockefeller center and eating at the beautiful rooftop Eataly ~ thank you for an awesome Christmas gift ~ Staying in downtown was an experience I have always wanted to do~ especially being in the finance area ~ loved seeing the NY stock exchange building and south street seaport beautifully decorated. Hoping 2021 brings us all a lot of happiness, health and prosperity ~ blessings to you in 2021. So proud of your hard work and continued dedication as a blogger! Also proud that you were featured in the 201 magazine twice this year ~ Love you tons, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:16 am

      We really had a great year and made the best of it. Thank you for experiencing a lot of it with me. 🙂

  2. Bucketlist Bri on January 7, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Loved looking through your adventures this year, Taylor! Despite all the downsides, you were able to pull off such cool road trips, hikes, and collabs! Excited for you and your blogging journey in 2021 and beyond! Xx

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:15 am

      Thank you so much Bri! I feel very lucky to have explore a lot of the USA this past year and to even get in 3 international trips. 🙂 Hoping for a better 2021!

  3. Dom and Jo on January 9, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    It’s cool that we visited a few of the same places this year!! It definitely showed us the things we took for granted and made us appreciate the simple things like family time and friends! Awesome post Taylor!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:06 pm

      Yes, I totally agree. I am very grateful I was able to get a few trips in, including a few international trips. 🙂

  4. Alanna Koritzke on January 15, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    What an incredible year despite everything! I was at Walt Disney World in January 2020 too! How funny. I’m so excited for new travels this year because my passport is getting dusty!

    • Taylor Deer on January 15, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you Alanna! I feel very grateful to have experienced everything I did last year. 🙂 Also, that is awesome. Disney during New Year’s was magical!

Leave a Comment





Taylor-Eataly

“When you start to feel like things should have been better this year, remember the mountains and valleys that got you here. They are not accidents and these moments weren’t in vain. You are not the same. You have grown and you are growing. You are breathing, you are living. You are wrapped in endless boundless grace and things will get better. There is more to you than yesterday.” – Morgan Harper Nichols (The quote I chose for 2020.)


Year in Review 2020

A woman spending New Year's 2020 at Disney World

A year ago, I rang in 2020 at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. It was absolutely magical watching all of the talented shows in front of Cinderella’s Castle that was decked out in purple, silver and blue lights.

I remember saying to myself “This is finally going to be my year!” I thought my blog was going to take off – meaning that I would make a sustainable living from ad income, sponsored posts, etc.; I thought I was going to move to a new city and travel to all of these amazing new countries on my bucket list… But 2020 had other plans!

I will admit that Q1 of 2020 treated me pretty well. I managed to take two international trips until March happened and then the whole world became infected with the famous C word we all rather forget.

Even though 2020 didn’t happen the way we all thought it would – new decade, new goals, new successes, new beginnings; it was a year where every single one of us were faced with challenges in ways we never thought possible. 2020 made us appreciate what we have and to never take anything for granted!

A woman picking cherry blossoms in 2020

Throughout the challenges also came silver linings. Even though I didn’t get to go on all of the amazing international trips I had planned this year, 2020 forced me to adventure around my own country and to appreciate the magic of domestic travel.

Since I started Brown Eyed Flower Child in 2018, I have been sharing annual reviews on my blog of my top moments, highlights, downsides and lessons learned throughout the year. I hope you all enjoy my 2020 year in review!

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.


Pin this Post to Keep Handy

2020 Top Moments, Highlights, Downsides and Lessons Learned

Winter 2020

A woman at Lago di Braies in 2020

January:

Walt Disney World New Year's 2020

After ringing in the New Year at Walt Disney World, I couldn’t wait to finally go on my first international trip of the decade which was a dream trip to the Italian Dolomites. (Little did I know that would be my ONLY trip to Europe this year.)

My trip to the Italian Dolomites in mid-January was the first time I ever worked with a tourism board (Val Gardena) and a ski resort (Kronplatz). I worked so hard to get those collaborations and on top of that, I worked with an amazing hotel (Hotel Teresa) that brought me on some epic adventures.

A woman tobogganing in the Italian Dolomites

My Dolomites trip was the only solo trip I took this year, which is pretty crazy considering I traveled a lot on my own in 2019. What was great about my trip to the Dolomites was that I met so many awesome people through Hotel Teresa.

During my Dolomites trip, I also rented a car for the first time and got my international driver’s license. I will admit that it was a little overwhelming renting a car on my own for the very first time in a foreign country and I did end up getting a ticket because I didn’t know how the toll situation worked when I first got on the Auto Strata (highway)… FAIL! Thankfully, I gained my confidence and the staff at Hotel Teresa told me what to do moving forward.

A woman skiing at Kronplatz in the Italian Dolomites

In the Italian Dolomites, I got to go on some epic winter hikes, ate in cute wooden huts on the mountains, skied down Olympic-level slopes, went tobogganing down the Alps and had the time of my life.

The very first time I had heard of the C word was when I just arrived home from my Dolomites trip! My dad told me that it had broken out in China and it was quickly spreading.

In addition to my Italy trip, I also attended the New York Times Travel Show in late January and it was the very last event I went to in NYC before everything happened.

February:

Angkor Wat at sunrise in 2020

During the month of February, I went on my last international trip before knowing it would be a while until I would travel abroad again.

My friend and former coworker Sam and I did a big Southeast Asia trip to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Before my trip to Asia, I spent winter weekends ice skating at Bear Mountain and did a big SuperBowl campaign. We also found out the devastating news of Kobe Bryant’s death. When it comes to the NBA, my family are huge Lakers fans, so everyone was very upset over this! I feel like that was when things in the world really started to make a turn for the worst.

I did get my first magazine feature in 201 Magazine and I was also featured in USA Today‘s newspaper networks in the state of New Jersey. It was an incredible feeling being featured in a publication for my passion and all of my hard work! (I was also featured in the magazine again in December.)

Now, before I go into my Vietnam and Cambodia trip, I do want to let you know that I was going back and forth on whether or not I should cancel since the situation was getting bad in Asia.

At that point, I was uneducated, naive and knew very little about what was going on. My parents tried to talk me out of it, but after speaking to a few people who had been living in Bali, I decided to just go since the trip and hotel collaborations were already coordinated. In all honesty, I’m so glad I went on this trip!

Two women exploring Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia

It was Sam’s first time in Asia, so we made sure to experience everything that Vietnam and Cambodia are known for!

We started our journey in Ho Chi Minh City where I got to work with the Park Hyatt Saigon, which is one of the most prestigious hotels in HCMC.

A woman in Ho Chi Minh City in 2020

During our time in Saigon, we got to walk around and explore some of the popular landmarks. We also got to meet up with two of my Instagram friends Marisa of This World Traveled and Kathy.

After spending time in Ho Chi Minh City, Sam and I flew to Siem Reap Cambodia, where I got to work with a stunning hotel called Sokkhak Boutique Resort.

A woman enjoying a hotel pool in Siem Reap, Cambodia

During our few days in Siem Reap, we got to watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat, have fun on Pub Street and relax in the sun!

From Siem Reap, we flew back to Vietnam and spent time on the coast in the central part of the country.

We enjoyed the first part of our time in Central Vietnam in beautiful Da Nang where we saw the famous Linh Ung Pagoda and Lady Buddha along with the famous Golden Bridge at Sun World in Ba Na Hills as well as Marble Mountains.

A woman exploring the temples in Da Nang, Vietnam

Hoi An was my favorite part of Vietnam because I enjoyed experiencing the culture there and I loved the digital nomad and expat community that it boasted.

Sam and I thoroughly enjoyed a coconut forest tour on a basket boat. Even though it down poured during our tour, it didn’t stop us from having a good time. After that, we got to savor an amazing lunch in a rice field!

Later that evening, we got to enjoy the dreamy vibes in Hoi An’s Ancient Town that is filled with colorful lanterns. I felt like I was in a dream!

A woman walking through Hoi An Ancient Town and admiring all of the lanterns

(During my time in Da Nang and Hoi An, I got to work with two sister boutique hotels – Bridges Da Nang and Beach Haven Suites.)

Next, our travels took us to Cat Ba Island. Now, I would have to say that Cat Ba was probably the most disappointing part of our trip.

A woman in Cat Ba Island, Vietnam

Asia had already been affected during our time in Vietnam, so most of the hot spots that we visited were pretty quiet.

During our time on Cat Ba Island, Sam and I stayed at one of the nicer hotels on the beach and it was literally just us and a French family there. What is usually a fun island filled with adventure was completely vacant. Walking through the halls of our hotel and eating at their restaurant was quite eerie since there wasn’t a soul around and it was a rather large resort.

A woman hiking Cat Ba National Park in 2020

Some of the highlights of our time on Cat Ba Island were hiking in the National Park and having fun in the town center at night. We also got to relax at the beach, even though it was a bit chilly since Northern Vietnam gets cold in the winter.

Another bummer regarding our time at Cat Ba Island was that we couldn’t do a day tour around Ha Long Bay, due to the current world situation. I was a little upset about it because it was something I was looking forward to during my time in Vietnam, but guess I’ll have to come back in the future!

A woman on the iconic Train Street in Hanoi, Vietnam

We ended our trip in Hanoi, which I loved! The foodie scene there was amazing and both Sam and I enjoyed wandering around the French Quarter, watching the train go by on the iconic Train Street, walking through the Temple of Jade Mountain and sipping coffee in The Note Coffee café.

When I arrived home from my Southeast Asia trip, I had found out that the C word had reached Europe and cases were rising in Italy, where I was the previous month! That’s when I knew this was bad.

March:

A woman staying at Woolverton Inn during 2020

Ah March! The month where everything went downhill. At this point, the C word already reached the U.S. and was slowly starting to spread around the country.

Thankfully, I didn’t have any big international trips planned for March except a mini getaway in my home state and I had also booked a domestic trip to the Southwest because I thought “why not?”.

During the first week of March, I did a wonderful, sponsored collaboration at the Woolverton Inn in Stockton, New Jersey. I brought along my friend Michele, a fellow New Jersey creator who I had been friends with on Instagram for a while at that point.

Two women enjoying hot chocolate at Woolverton Inn in New Jersey

Overall, Michele and I had a great time staying at the Woolverton Inn and we also got to enjoy walking around the quaint towns of Lawrenceville, New Jersey and New Hope, Pennsylvania. Little did I know that this would be the last hoorah for a few months…

The weekend before St. Patrick’s Day was when we officially went into lockdown. I did enjoy one last night out with a friend at a brewery before everything got shut down.

It was really tough having to cancel all of my trips for the foreseeable future and it was even more difficult seeing my blog traffic drop by 75% during this time period since everyone all over the world stopped traveling. (I had finally started growing my traffic and many of my blog posts were finally ranking on major search engines. I was halfway to getting on Mediavine, the ad platform that promises a sustainable income for bloggers.)

In addition, due to everything going on, a lot of companies lost money, employees were furloughed and brand collabs had stopped coming in during lockdown. (During Q1, I had received the most brand collaborations as a blogger than ever before. Success was looking very promising for 2020. Even though this year was a set back for my blog, business started to pick back up in September, which I’m very grateful for.)

A woman at home in 2020

I ended up using this time period to work on some back end stuff on my website and I also started going through and optimizing older articles. I am happy that I had the time to do that since a lot of those older posts are now ranking. I also increased my DA (Domain Authority) by doing guest posts on other bloggers’ websites.

I am far from being a homebody, but in the beginning I was okay with being home since I kept myself busy by fixing my blog, watching The Office on Netflix (the first show I’ve finished in several years) and eating my weight in baked goods.

A woman hiking at Ringwood State Park in 2020

During the month of March, my family and I also did some local hikes in the State Parks nearby. We enjoyed hiking at Harriman State Park, Ringwood State Park, Bear Mount State Park and Sterling Forest State Park in New York.

Spring 2020

A woman enjoying the spring in 2020

April:

April was the worst month of the year. Things in the New York City area were getting so bad and a lot of people were getting sick and dying. Watching the news was so depressing and what was really tough about it was that we couldn’t escape the negativity because stay at home orders were really being enforced, which was rightfully so.

All State Parks officially shut down in early April, so we started taking daily walks around our neighborhood. It had been the first time in a handful of years where I actually got to walk around the neighborhood I grew up in.

2020 was the first year that we spent Easter without family. It was a bummer as we usually spend the holiday at my family’s shore house. We still made the best of it by making all of our favorite dishes, virtually seeing our extended family through WebX and enjoying the beautiful cherry blossom trees in the area.

After Easter, the fam and I started going stir crazy sitting in the house, so that was when we decided to start going down the shore to our beach home in Lavallette every weekend moving forward.

A woman enjoying the bay in 2020

We enjoyed ordering out from our favorite restaurants, taking long walks along the bay and seeing some familiar faces from a distance. The beach and boardwalk did not open until May, but we did get to sit on the bayside beach during warmer days, which was nice!

May:

A woman enjoying her time at home in 2020

There wasn’t much of a difference from April to May except that State Parks reopened and we were able to continue our local hikes. Outdoor dining started to resume in New Jersey at the end of the month, so my friend and I made it a goal to visit a new brewery every week to get out and socialize from a distance. The beach also opened as well, so we were able to start sitting oceanside again.

Overall, lockdown was difficult, but it wasn’t unbearable. Like I said above, I am not a homebody, but those three months made me enjoy the little things about being home.

All of us had been affected by this situation in one way or the other and we were all in the same boat… AT HOME! I did enjoy my weekly Zoom calls with my friends Kristy and Hannah as well as my friend Kristin. It was the closest thing to having a social life during that time period and we all were able to help each other through heartbreak, tough times and discouraging moments.

June:

A woman admiring the views of Horseshoe Bend in Arizona

The world situation started to get a little better in June and thankfully, travel started to slowly come back. I rebooked my Southwest road trip for my 29th birthday and my mom and youngest brother ended up coming with me.

A family in Las Vegas during 2020

Our road trip started and ended in Las Vegas, Nevada and we got to stay at The Venetian Resort. I enjoyed a nice birthday dinner and brunch at two renowned restaurants in the hotel and got a small taste of what Sin City has to offer.

A woman on the Grand Canyon West Skywalk

From Vegas, we made our way into Arizona and I did a collaboration with Grand Canyon West. It was so epic seeing the Grand Canyon for the very first time and we also got to walk over the glass Skywalk that they have there!

After our day at Grand Canyon West, we made our way to Sedona, which is a breathtaking city that features red rock canyons all around!

A woman hiking Devil's Bridge in Sedona

We did the hike to Devil’s Bridge, which was extremely hot and we definitely didn’t have enough water, but it was totally worth it! My mom, brother and I also got to eat at Lisa Dahl’s renowned restaurants, which were absolutely AMAZING!

Our last part in Arizona was spent in Page where we got to see the incredible Horseshoe Bend and even did a day trip to Monument Valley – two places that have been high on my USA bucket list for a while.

A woman at Monument Valley in 2020

I loved the Western vibes that Page offered and I hope to go back and see Antelope Canyon, which was unfortunately closed due to the world situation, and also kayak along Lake Powell.

A woman at Bryce Canyon National Park in 2020

Utah was epic and that was where we spent the last leg of our trip. From Page, we drove north to Bryce Canyon National Park, which was also a cool USA bucket list hotspot that I got to cross off.

A woman hiking the Narrows in Zion National Park in 2020

After spending half a day at Bryce, we made our way to Zion National Park where I got to collaborate with Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort and East Zion Adventures.

A woman canyoneering in Zion National Park in 2020

During our time at Zion, we had such a blast mini golfing at Zion Ponderosa, stargazing at night, canyoneering, going on hikes and walking through The Narrows. If I had to choose a highlight of this trip, it was definitely canyoneering in Zion National Park!

Summer 2020

A woman enjoying a summer day in Lake Tahoe, Nevada

July:

July was an even better month than June, thankfully! Summer was probably the highlight of the year in general because I got to enjoy more road trips around the USA.

A woman enjoying a road trip in 2020

Even though I didn’t get to go on all of the international trips I had hoped for in 2020, I truly had a lot fun exploring the USA and seeing most of the big National Parks that have been on my bucket list for many years. I gained a whole new level of appreciation for domestic travel!

During the months of July and August, we spent a lot of time at the family beach house in Lavallette, which is always so nice!

Three women enjoying happy hour drinks in Lake Tahoe

Later in the month, I also did another mini road trip out west in Northern California and Oregon with my friends Kristy of Ventre’s Adventures and Hannah of Don’t Blink Blog.

Our road trip kicked off by spending a few days in Lake Tahoe, which had been a longtime dream destination for me to visit. Overall, Lake Tahoe was definitely the highlight of the trip, if I had to choose, although I truly enjoyed all of the other spots we visited along our road trip.

A woman admiring the views at Emerald Lake in Lake Tahoe during 2020

I worked with an adventure resort called Granlibbakken Tahoe in Tahoe City, California. During our time around the lake, we got to enjoy epic hikes, swimming in the crystal blue waters and so much more. I hope to return to Lake Tahoe in the future!

After our three days in Tahoe and also exploring the Emerald Pools, Kristy had to depart since she was starting her new teaching job, so Hannah and I continued on.

A woman at Lassen Volcanic National Park in California

We first made our way to Lassen Volcanic National Park, which is outside of Redding, California. Overall, I loved Lassen and it was definitely one of the most underrated National Parks I’ve visited.

From Redding, we drove to the Pacific Coast and explored Redwoods National and State Parks in Bigfoot territory. Seeing the tallest trees on Earth was one of the most magical experiences!

A woman in the Redwoods during 2020

Even though this area in California was chilly for July, it was absolutely mystical! We stayed in the town of Crescent City, which I will admit was bit sketchy, but I did get to savor the best clam chowder in a bread bowl!

A woman at Natural Bridges in Oregon

Next, Hannah and I made our way into Oregon and were amazed by all of the natural beauty that we saw! We first stopped at Natural Bridges, where we made an attempt to actually walk over the bridges, but due to extremely steep hills, dangerous cliffs and poison ivy, we didn’t want to risk our lives.

A woman enjoying the views at Coos Bay in Oregon

Afterwards, we drove up to Coos Bay where we admired more breathtaking coastal views! It was surreal being there.

A woman hiking Sweet Creek Falls in 2020

Before reaching the city of Eugene where we spent the night, Hannah found a hidden gem called Sweet Creek Falls. The hike along these waterfalls was extremely easy, but it was one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen! Oregon made its way to one of the most beautiful states I’ve visited.

A woman hiking in Mount Hood National Forest in 2020

From Eugene, where we got to enjoy some delicious food, we spent a day at Mount Hood National Forest. At Mount Hood, we did the Tamanawas Falls trail where we saw more breathtaking waterfalls!

A woman in front of the Portland, Oregon stag sign in 2020

We ended our California and Oregon road trip in Portland. I will admit that traveling to Portland during the time we did was questionable due to all of the crime that was going on. It was pretty unfortunate that so much destruction was going on in the city because I found Portland to be very beautiful.

Two women in Portland, Oregon

Thankfully, Hannah and I stayed away from all of the chaos and enjoyed exploring the city parks and savoring amazing food at Portland’s renowned restaurants. During our time in Oregon’s capital, I also worked with the Inn at Northrup Station, which was a cool retro-style boutique hotel.

August:

I started the month of August spending a full week at the shore house with my mom. We usually spend weekends down the shore, so whenever I get the opportunity to enjoy a full week there, it is always so nice and rejuvenating.

The only downside to my week down the shore was that there was a major storm that passed through, leaving us with no power for 24 hours. Other besides that, it was nice to enjoy the week with the ocean breeze in our faces.

A woman enjoying an Aperol Spritz at Hammetts Hotel in Newport 2020

I didn’t go on a big domestic trip in August, but instead, I did two short getaways in New England. The first getaway I did was with my mom to Newport, Rhode Island. It was my second time in Newport within a year since I did a day trip during fall 2019.

During our time in Newport, I got a lovely sponsored stay with a beautiful brand-new boutique hotel called Hammetts Hotel. I also got to work with a sailing company called Sightsailing of Newport where I enjoyed a morning mimosa sail on the Narragansett Bay.

A woman on a sailboat in Newport, Rhode Island

Our time in Newport this summer was spent enjoying the best restaurants the city offers, exploring the elegant Newport mansions and even visiting a local winery.

Later in the month, I did another New England getaway to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts with my friend Kristin. We stayed at Nobnocket Boutique Inn, which was a charming bed and breakfast located in Vineyard Haven.

A woman enjoying summer in Martha's Vineyard

During our time in Martha’s Vineyard, we got to savor the most delicious seafood, craft beer and more! We also got to visit the beach and even do a hike along breathtaking cliffs.

In addition, Kristin and I also got to visit Cape Cod and enjoy some of the wonderful summer activities it offers such as wine tasting!

A woman at Cape Cod Winery during 2020

In addition to my two New England getaways, my mom and I also accomplished walking over the Tappan Zee Bridge, which is a 7.2-mile roundtrip journey.

The specific day that my mom and I decided to do this walk was one of the hottest days during the summer and there was absolutely no shade on the bridge whatsoever!

The walkway starts in Nyack, NY and goes to Tarrytown, NY or vice versa. Since we started in Nyack, we walked across to Tarrytown where we enjoyed beautiful views of the Hudson River Valley and had lunch at a fun biergarten!

Overall, it was a very difficult walk in the summer, but I do recommend it if you’re in the NYC area! Please bring a lot of water, snacks and even save this experience for a cooler day in the fall or spring.

September:

September is one of my most favorite months during the year. You could still enjoy summer fun without the crowds, the weather is beautiful and there is a lot of excitement around autumn, which is my second favorite season.

The month of September is usually filled with seafood festivals, but unfortunately everything was canceled this year due to obvious reasons.

My family and I still enjoyed spending weekends down the shore and at the end of the month, I went on my third road trip out in the American West.

Two women at Glacier National Park in 2020

My cousin Alexie and I did our mini road trip in Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. We began our trip in Kalispell/Whitefish, Montana where we explored Glacier National Park. From there, we made our way to the National Bison Range, Missoula and Bozeman.

During our time in Montana, we admired all of the breathtaking scenery, saw cool wildlife and drank amazing craft beer. I loved it there!

A woman at Yosemite National Park during 2020

After spending a few days in Montana, Alexie and I made our way into Wyoming where we explored Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton National Park.

Being amazed at all of the cool natural wonders at Yellowstone easily made it one of my favorite National Parks and during our time there, we got to see more bison and even a grizzly bear cub from a distance!

A woman hiking at Grand Teton in Wyoming

Hiking in Grand Teton was also amazing, but I do wish we had extra time to explore more trails there. It is truly a gorgeous National Park!

A highlight during our time in Wyoming was staying at Chamberlin Inn in the charming Western town of Cody. The hotel was absolutely lovely and the town itself made me feel like I was in a Western movie with all of its saloons, rodeos and charm.

A woman at Strawberry Park Hot Springs in Steamboat Springs Colorado

The last part of our road trip was spent in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. We drove around seven hours from Cody, Wyoming to Steamboat and even though there wasn’t much along the way, it was definitely worth it when we finally arrived!

My cousin and I stayed in a charming mountain Airbnb and we got to go hiking, visit the hot springs and enjoy the quaintness of Steamboat Springs’ downtown area.

Fall 2020

A woman at a Finger Lakes Bed and Breakfast during fall

October:

I love the month of October because it is full of fall fun! I always like visiting wineries, cideries and farms. I got to enjoy all of the fun fall festivities with my friends this year, including my local Oktoberfest, which I’m super grateful for!

A woman on a food tour in Brooklyn in 2020

In addition, I also got to work with Intrepid Travel and do their NYC Urban Adventures food tour in Brooklyn. It was the very first time I participated in a food tour and I enjoyed all of the delicious staples that Brooklyn offers.

A woman feeding the flamingos in Aruba

In the middle of the month, I went on my very first international trip since February to Aruba. It was my second time in the Caribbean and I absolutely loved relaxing at the beach, horseback riding in the National Park, windsurfing for the first time and seeing the famous pink flamingos.

A woman swimming under water in Aruba

During my time in Aruba, I worked with the amazing Divi All Inclusive resort and I also got to work with Wonders Boutique Hotel. My trip to Aruba was a family trip and we all had an amazing time!

At the end of October, my friend Kristin and I did another fun New England getaway to Salem, Massachusetts for Halloween. During my time in Salem, I worked with the Harbor Light Inn in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

A woman in Salem, Massachusetts during Halloween 2020

Even though Salem was pretty quiet compared to recent years and it down poured and then snowed on us, we still had a great time visiting all of the Salem Witch Trials and Hocus Pocus locations! We also went to a local cidery and ate at great restaurants.

In addition, we also spent a night in Boston and I got to revisit The Liberty Hotel, which is my absolute favorite luxury hotel in the city.

November:

A woman staying at Yourcation Awaits in Rosemary Beach, Florida

The month of November brought me on two new domestic trips. At the beginning of the month, I partnered with Yourcation Awaits and stayed at their Rosemary Beach location in Florida. It had been on my bucket list to visit the 30a area of Florida (the Panhandle) and I loved everything about it when I was there.

A woman enjoying her trip at 30a Florida

Since the rental property featured five bedrooms, I invited five other bloggers to join me in Rosemary Beach. I, along with Hannah of Don’t Blink Blog, Alex of East Coast Contessa, Shwetha of Chasing Shwetha and Ashley of World to Wander made amazing memories both at the beach and at all of the fun spots along 30a.

November also consisted of great hikes within the Hudson Valley and it was so cool to discover new trails that I’ve never done before like Breakneck Ridge, Timpe Torne Trail and more! (Thanks to my fellow blogger friend Rebecca for introducing me to a lot of these amazing hikes!)

A woman enjoying her weekend in the Finger Lakes in 2020

Later in the month, my mom and I did a late fall weekend getaway to the Finger Lakes in Upstate New York. I had never been to the Finger Lakes before, but so many NYC bloggers inspired me to go this year.

A woman enjoying at hike at Watkins Glen in the Finger Lakes

During my time in the Finger Lakes, I partnered with the Inns of Aurora in Aurora, New York and The Bond 1835 in Skaneateles, New York. My mom and I had a great time hiking at Watkins Glen, wine tasting along the Cayuga Wine Trail and visiting the MacKenzie-Childs headquarters.

We closed off the month by having a lovely Thanksgiving with our usual crowd (our usual crowd met the exact limit for the amount of people we were supposed to allow in our homes during this weird time period).

A woman enjoy The Greens Rooftop at Pier 17 in 2020

I also got to meet up with fellow New York City travel bloggers and enjoyed my very first Christmas activity at The Greens’ Cabins, which is located on Pier 17 in South Street Seaport. I had a great time reconnecting with fellow NYC bloggers who I hadn’t seen in several months and the cabins were so cozy!

December:

A woman in front of Cartier during the holiday season

Since cases started to rise in December, I decided it was best to not hop on a flight this month and simply enjoy the Christmas magic in New York City. I figured this was the best year to get holiday content in NYC since there were no crowds due to the current world events.

My mom and I spent a few days in downtown Manhattan as I worked with Sonder. We got to see all of the Christmas decorations in the Financial District, at South Street Seaport, in Midtown and more!

A woman enjoying Christmas at Oscar Wilde in NYC

I also revisited New York City to do more Christmas activities with Caitlin of My Darling Passport and I even got to see the magical Christmas light displays at Dyker Heights in Brooklyn with my other friend Kristen.

Our Christmas was spent the same way we spend it every other year where we enjoy the Italian-American Feast of the Seven Fishes at my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve with my dad’s side of the family and a traditional celebration at my parent’s house on Christmas Day with my mom’s side.

Right after Christmas, my mom and I went back into New York City to enjoy one last Christmas adventure. We savored a great lunch at Eataly, which features a seasonal rooftop that decorates beautifully for the holidays. Afterwards, we had fun ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center; a major NYC bucket list goal!

A woman ice skating at The Rink at Rockefeller Center

December was my most successful month to date! I scored my highest paying collaboration and made the most I ever had as a blogger. I can’t wait to see what the New Year has in store for my business. I have a lot of great plans that I cannot wait to expose to you all soon!!!

I am looking forward to ringing in the New Year quietly at home. It is the first year in a while that I am okay with not having any plans. I’m actually quite proud of myself for finally being okay with that and not feeling FOMO, but I will admit that if the current situation in our world wasn’t happening, I most likely would’ve booked a trip to ring in 2021. We always have next year though!

I hope you all have a Happy, Healthy, Safe and Prosperous New Year! I’m excited and hopeful for 2021 and wish each and every one of you the best.


What I Learned in 2020

A woman at Hudson Yards during the holiday season 2020

Since this blog post is long enough, I figured I would list everything I learned this year:

  • It is okay to have long term goals, but short-term goals are way more feasible and you are less likely to be disappointed from them.
  • Don’t ever take advantage of anything whether it be health; time with family and friends; traveling freely; being invited to an epic event; going to an office happy hour and I could go on!
  • You could still live your best life, even during a crisis, but you may just have to adjust a bit.
  • A minor setback always leads to a major comeback.
  • Domestic trips could be just as rewarding as an international trip.
  • You have a voice and it is so important to speak up about what you believe in.
  • There is a silver lining to every situation.
  • You are not alone.
  • Nature is the best healer.
  • It makes a huge difference surrounding yourself with people who simply get you!
  • Manifesting works and it is powerful!
  • The best thing to do during a difficult time is to meditate.

Even though this wasn’t the most ideal year for travel, I still got to do three international trips; journey to three brand new countries; enjoy 10 domestic trips, which included two staycations; visit six new states; saw seven new National Parks as well as countless State Parks and made countless new memories.

I am excited and hopeful for 2021 and I know deep in my heart that it will be a prosperous year filled with miracles and breakthroughs for many people.

I want to thank you all for your continued support all year long. Brown Eyed Flower Child wouldn’t exist without you and I truly hope our paths cross at some point in the future. Sending you all love and joy in this New Year!

Love,

Taylor

A woman on a trip in Aruba in 2020

Click here to join my private blog sharing Facebook group.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

8 Comments

  1. Kim Deer on December 31, 2020 at 10:36 am

    Wow. for a very different and strange 2020, you made the best of it and was able to see alot of stunning places in our home country. I am glad I was able to take several of those trips with you. I am so glad to have seen the breathtaking National parks out west, the beautiful finger lakes and parts of New England. Aruba was another awesome and well needed vacation. We were able to really relax without all the crowds. Christmas in NYC was a huge success. Loved skating at Rockefeller center and eating at the beautiful rooftop Eataly ~ thank you for an awesome Christmas gift ~ Staying in downtown was an experience I have always wanted to do~ especially being in the finance area ~ loved seeing the NY stock exchange building and south street seaport beautifully decorated. Hoping 2021 brings us all a lot of happiness, health and prosperity ~ blessings to you in 2021. So proud of your hard work and continued dedication as a blogger! Also proud that you were featured in the 201 magazine twice this year ~ Love you tons, mom xoxo

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:16 am

      We really had a great year and made the best of it. Thank you for experiencing a lot of it with me. 🙂

  2. Bucketlist Bri on January 7, 2021 at 12:16 pm

    Loved looking through your adventures this year, Taylor! Despite all the downsides, you were able to pull off such cool road trips, hikes, and collabs! Excited for you and your blogging journey in 2021 and beyond! Xx

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 11:15 am

      Thank you so much Bri! I feel very lucky to have explore a lot of the USA this past year and to even get in 3 international trips. 🙂 Hoping for a better 2021!

  3. Dom and Jo on January 9, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    It’s cool that we visited a few of the same places this year!! It definitely showed us the things we took for granted and made us appreciate the simple things like family time and friends! Awesome post Taylor!

    • Taylor Deer on January 9, 2021 at 9:06 pm

      Yes, I totally agree. I am very grateful I was able to get a few trips in, including a few international trips. 🙂

  4. Alanna Koritzke on January 15, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    What an incredible year despite everything! I was at Walt Disney World in January 2020 too! How funny. I’m so excited for new travels this year because my passport is getting dusty!

    • Taylor Deer on January 15, 2021 at 2:14 pm

      Thank you Alanna! I feel very grateful to have experienced everything I did last year. 🙂 Also, that is awesome. Disney during New Year’s was magical!

Leave a Comment





Related posts

40 Things to do in NYC During the Holidays

One of the most fascinating places to experience all of the Christmas magic is in New York City. From Rockefeller...

Pursue Your Dream Life with CreditRepair.com

Thank you CreditRepair.com for sponsoring this post. CreditRepair.com’s team understands that a credit score is not just a number; it's...

Late Fall Finger Lakes Weekend Itinerary

Most people think to visit New York’s Finger Lakes during summertime and the warmer months in general, but many do...