Reflecting on 2020

January 8, 2021

WanderlustBeautyDreams, Latina Travel Blogger, NYC Photography, NYC blogger,

 

Another year has wrapped up and it's time for me to reflect on how 2020 went for me.


2020.

We can all agree that 2020 was a year we didn't expect at all. But it was a year that everyone around the world will remember whether it was good or bad. It was a year where we learned to slow down, adapt to to virtual meetings, classes, communication overall, and forced to adapt to a new reality. Finding those lessons through adversity or a worldwide pandemic is what I try to focus on. With so much sadness, loss and  devastation that this the year has brought, lets look for the light that helped us push through a rough year.


As mentioned in last years reflection post, it's so easy to caught up in all the negative aspects that a year has brought (especially in 2020) but it's important to take time to spotlight the positives that also came out of your year. If you want to catch up on my past reflecting posts (click here to read 20192018, and 2017 reflecting posts).  Whether you got to spend extra quality time with loved ones during quarantine, cultivated new hobbies, created a new business, learned new recipes, connected with new people virtually, started a passion project you've put off, or simply just getting through a tough year; celebrate those wins. 


Personal Growth.

I kicked off 2020 with such optimistic vibes in hopes of making this my year to shine. Everything was going great until what we all know now, the 2020 pandemic.  In February, I was sick for the whole month.  I usually don't get sick and if I do, it goes away pretty quickly. I didn't know what I had. I assumed it was the flu since of course it's the winter season and I had all the symptoms. But I never was sick for that long in my life. Looking back I believe it was Covid-19. There's no certainty thats what it was since during that time we didn't go into lockdown till March. But being in and out of Manhattan leads me to believe it was just that. At one point of 2020, New York was the epicenter. Till now, I've realized how much I took my health for granted. It made me more aware to make my health a priority moving forward. 


The lockdown for many of us lead to many emotions during these unprecedented times. I think I went on a full rollercoaster ride of emotions this year but especially during quarantine. Something that kept popping up for me, was not dealing with past trauma. There's so much I've kept inside for many years and it just poured out emotionally for me. Dealing with trauma is a journey and to actually heal from that you have to take that ride, no matter who uncomfortable it gets.  I took the time to recognize my feelings and emotions from the past and how it affected me. That trauma continued to be part of me even in my adult life without even realizing it. 


I also recognized to let many relationships and friendships go that no longer serve me. I've always been quick to cut people out of my life that are toxic. Being in lockdown you realize which relationships/friendships matter and which don't. Being forced to be away from loved ones also made me want to prioritize the ones who matter to me more once all of this is over. Rediscovering my voice, power, vulnerability, and strength was something I'm thankful for in 2020.


In November, I was sick for a month again. This time around I lost my sense of taste and had a fever every single day. When I got tested for COVID-19 and the flu, the test came out negative since I couldn't schedule a drive-thru test till 2 weeks in of being sick. It's recommended to get tested within the 8-10 day period. But my anti-body test did come out positive so I did have the virus in my system.  Again more than ever, I'm grateful that I was able to surpass this sickness while others didn't have the same opportunity. A day before my birthday, I received news thats my uncle on my dad's side of the family passed away. He was the youngest of the siblings that suffered many health complications. Watching the wake and the funeral through Facebook live was very emotional to say the least. There was also a few other deaths in the family occurred soon.


There was much sadness during this month where at times I didn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. It's hard to get yourself out of depression. Mental health has been a huge topic of discussion this year and for good reason. Being isolated, the loss of human connection and interaction, financial issues, and the loss of so many people around the world can affect your mental state. Especially when everything came at once this year. Finding ways to lift your spirits day to day is something that helped me find some sense of positivity in a space where things were so negative. 


Blog.

With travel coming to a halt worldwide, my blog traffic decreased significantly like many other travel bloggers. I have to admit I lost motivation the first half of the year. I wasn't as consistent in writing posts. It was hard to stay creative during this time but I pulled through and wrote about fun topics. Writing about the Black Lives Matter movement and protests, virtual tours around the world, and the lack of diversity in the travel industry.


Although I posted less this year, I've been doing more on the back end on my blog. I've been updating old posts and working very hard on my SEO. 
 The second half of the year my blog traffic started to pick up again! A lot of my local posts from the tri-state area, blew up in traffic. A few of those posts are now ranking on the first/second page of Google, which makes me so happy because it's hard to rank this high in search results. I closed the year having readership from 160 countries! This number increased from last year's reach which is something I'm super happy about despite the pandemic happening. I'm still shocked how far around the world my blog reaches. I'm so thankful for the people who stop by and take the time to read my blog posts, it means the world to me! Especially this year when it's been rough in the travel niche.


Travel.

Travel was not in the cards in 2020. I had a few bucket-list destinations I wanted to visit this year but had to postpone those trips to when it's safe to travel internationally. This year, made me venture out more to local spots in the tri-state area. I kicked off the year staying at the Even Midtown East Hotel in NYC before the lockdown ensued the following month. For many months, I stayed home with minimal contact with others. I attended several BLM protests in NYC. Once more outdoor locations started opening up, I visited the New Jersey Botanical Garden in August as well as many other parks in the New Jersey area. In September, I went apple picking. I was invited to check out a new Greek restaurant that opened in the midst of the pandemic in NYC. In October, I visited a few pumpkin patches and a pumpkin carve drive through. I never experienced that before but it was fun! I visited Lake Placid for the first time. It's a five hour drive from NYC and made me want to explore and share more of the upstate New York area. I also had the chance to stay a lovely resort, the Golden Arrow Lakeside Resort during my time in Lake Placid. Hoping for more local trips in 2021!


Youtube.

I had so many series in mind to film for Youtube this year but because many places shut down in NYC, that wasn't possible. Also again with everything on in the world, my travel content didn't get much viewership compared to years past but I'm still grateful for those who showed love to my videos. I brought back filming a second a day for the whole year, which I realized I do on my channel every other year. It takes dedication to remember to film every single day for these kind o videos but I had fun doing it. I was also glad that I documented this crazy year so I can look back on it in the future. 


I filmed  and uploaded 17 videos on my main channel and 17 videos on my spanish channel this year. I gained over 53k channel views on my main channel channel and 24k channel views on my spanish channel. On the last day of 2020, I hit 1k subscribers which was one of my goals for this year. I'm at the half-way mark in my watch-time hours to get reach the requirements to apply for the youtube partnership program where I can monetize my content on the youtube platform.


A lot of my past local tri-state area content increased in views this year since many people where looking for local getaways. On my spanish channel, a few videos went viral but one video received 16k views. It's been so interesting which videos get pushed out by the youtube algorithim. This has to be one of my favorite platforms to create content. I hope to upgrade my laptop and camera gear to be able to create more quality content next year. Hoping for my growth on the platform in 2021!



Social Media.

I would usually break down my growth on all of my social media platforms in this section but to be honest I wasn't very consistent this year. I didn't grow much on Instagram. I took many breaks from posting and showing up but towards the end of the year I was re-inspired. I think it's okay to take breaks when you don't feel like posting or being on a platform. Especially with the year that we had, just stepping away from your phone to disconnect is important for your mental health. Being on zoom calls, watching the news, or just being on our phones more than usual can just be very overwhelming. I also stopped my posting on my second account (@wanderlustsuenos) where I repost Latinx travelers. I've felt pulled in may directions that towards the end of the year I took a break from posting there. Will be coming back in 2021 though! Instagram introduced new features to the platform which I've been enjoying playing around with. I've been trying to post more Reels and have been getting great traction with that new feature. 


On to Tiktok, this platform exploded during quarantine! It's crazy to see the growth over the year.  My contract with the agency ended in January because of the virus but I still continued to post content on the platform here and there. I've enjoyed watching other people's content more but towards the end of the year I started to post more consistently. One of my tiktoks blew up to 20k views within a few days. You just never know which video will gain traction but it's been one of my favorite platforms to be on in 2020. On Pinterest, I hit 1,500 followers and my monthly views increased significantly from last year. A few of my pins went viral especially my BLM protest photography. Till this day, many of those photo pins are being saved and receive high impressions. Facebook is a platform I struggle to grow and this year I didn't get out of the 2k range. I'm okay with that but hope to learn more in 2021 on how to grow it.


Achievements.

Although my my work opportunities weren't like years past, I'm still proud of the partnerships I had this year. In total, I worked with with 12 brands! A few of those brand partnerships were on a recurring basis. I had to turn away or pull out on a few campaigns that didn't feel right or align with my values. I think it's so important to listen your gut and walk away from those situations. As many brands see influencer marketing as great way to gain exposure, you need to also know your worth in this business. Charging accordingly, being firm when negotiating, and knowing when to walk away is important. Remember that your time, audience, and skills are of value.


I was also featured in a few places on the internet that I wanted to share. In April, Aruba.TV reached out to me and wanted to showcase my Aruba Travel Video on a TV segment. I never had my videos featured on TV before, so this was pretty cool in my book! In July, my friend Ivonne (@latinachictravels) started @latinasvirtual which is a resource for those who want to grow their business online. I was part of her "Viajera Features" where I talked about travel and the importance of being able to connect and network digitally. In August, I was reached out to share my travel story with SueƱos de Una Viajera, which I shared a more personal glimpse into my upbringing and how I was able to make travel possible. In September, I was featured by Wanderful in their round up of  25 Inspiring Latinx Travel Influencers to Follow Right Now. In October, Wynee from the blog (WyneesWorld) featured me in her Latinx Heritage Month roundup on Instagram. You can check that out in her story highlights. In December,  I was reached out to have my BLM Protest Video featured in a music video. This was another first for me,  seeing my video footage in a music video! A friend of mine sent me over an article I was featured in and I had no idea about! Mhojhos Research included me in their roundup of Top Instagram Influencers on Hispanic Music, Culture and Lifestyle.


Another goal of mine for this year was to attend more events and network more.  Prior to the world going on lockdown, I attended the New York Times Travel Show as Press, got invited to Google Maps Brunch, and went to a book signing for someone I look up to the in travel photography space. During quarantine, I've attended over 30+ zoom virtual events, webinars, and chats pertaining to the travel industry. Although I envisioned this part to look a little different this year, I've met and connected with so many amazing people across the U.S and globally! This year I also invested in myself in terms of purchasing workshops, a course, and one on one call. I use to put off investing in things like this because I would think it's not worth it. I'm glad I pushed myself out of my comfort zone when it comes to this area because I actually learned so much and will be implementing a lot of this tactics in 2021.


Thank You 2020.

Here's to ending this whirlwind of a year of 2020. With so much uncertainty this pandemic has brung, we could only be hopeful for a better 2021. This year was necessary for many people to reflect on societal issues, personal growth, reflecting on their career path or pivoting into a new direction, re-evaluating relationships in their life, deciding to re-locate to another state or country and etc. It was a hard year of social distancing, job loss, not being able to see loved ones, becoming ill, or losing family and friends unexpectedly. This is a year we won't be able to forget and will be written down in history books. If anything we can take away from 2020 is to cherish the people in your life that matter. You never know when they can be taken away.  There were many lessons learned and I'm ready to start a fresh year with new goals. Most importantly, THANK YOU for following my adventures and supporting me whether it's through my blog, Instagram or Youtube! It means more than you know when you comment, like, or send me emails/messages. 

 

Comment Below,
What were your lows or highs of 2020?

42 comments

  1. You are really doing great with your life. God bless you more.

    ReplyDelete
  2. It wasn't much of a year for my blog either, at least not in terms of the number of beer- themed trips that I usually take and usually post about. But it WAS a great year for my social media presence. I reached record followers on every platform: Twitter, facebook, Pinterest, instagram, YouTube, Trip Advisor, Tumblr, etc.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love that you can look at such a crazy year and find the good in it all. That's so important.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, it's been a journey for me to get to this point. I use to be very negative but looking at the positives just make things clearer when you positives outweigh the negatives!

      Delete
  4. I don't have Tik Tok but I do know that's a favorite of so many. I can't get my social medias to grow much. They kind of plateaued a few years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I find that Tiktok can be very entertaining if you just like to watch but could be also great to grow fast if you create content.

      Delete
  5. I am so happy 2020 is done, although 2021 isn't really rocking my world yet. Hopefully things perk up soon.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love that you made 2020 a year of something good to go along with all the negative things that we couldn't control about it. That's the way to do it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Congratulations on accomplishing so much in a very difficult year! Despite the obvious difficulties of having a travel blog in 2020, it sounds like you found a way to stay motivated and make the most of it. Here's to only good things in 2021!

    ReplyDelete
  8. This year has been different for sure. Congrats on doing so many great things!

    ReplyDelete
  9. My highs for 2020 were falling in love along the way, staying alive the entire year round and of course, eating as much food as I could. My lows for 2020 were falling out of love along the way, losing an uncle to COVID-19 and having lots of little tiny anxiety attacks as I was preparing for 2021 general elections in my country!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry for your loss, I lost an uncle too. I could understand your anxiety as well I didn't even mention that in my post about the elections that happened in the U.S and all the political stress that occurred. Hope you have a better 2021!

      Delete
  10. This is such a good way to look back on 2020. We all had a rough year, but focusing on all the positive things you did, or achieved, really makes everything seem a lot better!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! I like to write my wins or happy moments in my notes folder or notebook and at the end of the year look back at the year that way. Hope you have a better 2021!

      Delete
  11. I'm so glad you're able to look back on this challenging year with thanksgiving and pride. There are so many GOOD things that came out of 2020 and I think it's easy to forget those amidst the difficulties we've faced. Props to you for your positivity!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Trying to stay positive can be hard especially with a year like 2020.

      Delete
  12. Last year was crazy but ou found out so positive points in it... God Bless you!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh wow! SO MUCH incredible reflection and successes in 2020! I am so happy for you, and this is so empowering. I definitely need to checkout your Spanish YouTube Channel. I have family from Chile, and I also speak Spanish!! Love this post!

    ReplyDelete
  14. 2020 was a challenging year indeed but it sounds like you had some great moments and achievements as well. It was refreshing to read a more positive and hopeful reflection.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I love that you focused on the good of 2020 instead of the bad!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Loved reading about your achievements in 2020, through challenges you have succeeded in accomplishing many things. Keep going ahead much more in 2021

    ReplyDelete
  17. A year that none of us will ever forget. It sounds like you managed to make the most of things and stayed positive which is great

    ReplyDelete
  18. I say thank you to 2020 and the fact that it is over with. Was a hard year for us, financially and health. Best wishes to all in 2021. Denise

    ReplyDelete
  19. You are so hardworking and have a great work-life balance. It's great that you are able to know when to work and stop at the same time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's been a struggle for sure. I just listen to when I need a break and take the time off when needed!

      Delete
  20. 2020 was very bad for all of us. I hope 2021 will be more productive.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You've accomplished so much in 2020! You also reminded me that I really need to work on my SEO and go back on old blog posts and optimize them too!

    ReplyDelete