What a Year! Favorite Posts from 2020

Think back to January 1, 2020. We bet that no matter what you anticipated, 2020 turned out galactically weirder than you expected. One of our first posts of the year was Ten Off-The-Beaten Path Destinations for 2020. Oh what folly!

In January we were full of high hopes for an awesome travel year: plans for a South Africa trip were in the works. Then came COVID.

In a bewildered world with a raging Pandemic and non-existent travel, our blog had to change. And after adjusting to the initial shock, we broadened our scope, shifted our focus, and continued publishing content that fascinated us, and hopefully, all of you. These were our most popular posts from 2020, and some of our personal favorites.


I Love Your Blog! 7 Reasons to Come In Through the Front Door. If you only access a blog via the WordPress Reader, you’ll miss all the small details and fascinating quirks that fellow bloggers have created. Here’s the solution.

Pandemic Predictions: Changing the Face of Travel. Throughout the year the Pandemic was (and still is) on everyone’s mind – especially travelers who wonder what to expect in the future. Here’s our crystal ball.

Travel Blogging Without Travel: A Decision Point. As so many of us discovered, writing a travel blog during a global Pandemic is … well, tricky! What’s a blogger to do? This is what we decided.

The Magic of 9 Years of Blogging: Lessons Learned. While we were distracted by the events of the world, Gallivance quietly turned 9 last September. We shared some of our lessons on agility, passion, and home.

Petroglyphs: Imagination Chiseled in Stone. These mysterious stone carvings appear around the globe on every continent except Antartica, and have intrigued scientists for decades. What’s the story?

Blindsided in Liverpool: An Unexpected Beatles Journey. It’s not often that Terri bares her soul, but she let it all hang out in this post!


If We Could Only Read One of Your Posts … Which One? We love collaborating with you, so we invited you to send us a link to your favorite post on your blog. The response was tremendous and gave all of us reading material for weeks.

Abandoned Cities of the Maya: A Cautionary Tale of Collapse. Today, marvelous Mayan pyramids and palaces welcome visitors, but the mystery remains. Why did their society collapse?

Human Imagination: It All Started with the Lion Man. Human imagination – when did humans become aware, creative and mindful, and where’s the proof?

The Big Reveal: 7 Lessons From Our Blog Makeover. One of our huge projects for 2020 was to completely renovate our blog. Whew – what a task! Here’s how we did it.

* * *

Let us begin the New Year by thanking you for your steadfast friendship, keen insights, and awesome comments! Hearing from you is what makes blogging all worthwhile. Here’s hoping that 2021 will be a galactically better year for all of us, filled with long-awaited hugs from loved ones and a glimmer of hope for the return to travel we all love.

Happy 2021, Everyone! Terri & James

Photo Credits: 1. frank mckenna 2. Jan Tinneberg   3.  Kristopher Roller 4. Marv Watson   5. Louis Maniquet   6. Gnomesville on Facebook  

Author: gallivance.net

We're Terri and James Vance - high school sweethearts who went on to international careers and became world nomads. Today, 65 countries later, we're still traveling ... and still in love. Check out Our Story for more of the backstory at gallivance.net.

47 thoughts

  1. What a year it has been! I’ve been inspired by your ability to pivot and your energy in reworking your blog. Your posts helped me reflect on possibilities for our own blog. Honestly I’m still in the reflective stage. Sending best wishes to you both and here’s hoping some of those postponed travel plans will make a comeback later this year.

    1. Sue, judging from your blog’s popularity and with your added topics and guest posts, you and Dave seem to not have missed a beat on your blog. Honestly, as the pandemic dragged on and the realities for the travel world became obvious, as a travel blogger I felt a bit like a buggy driver as the first motor car rolled by. But change isn’t always bad, and being forced to re-examine one’s priorities periodically isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      So here’s to a more normal 2021, with lots of travel, real hugs, and less work for doctors and nurses. All the best to you two for a great year. ~James

    1. Thanks Darlene. We’re also very happy to have gotten to know you and your blog as well. It’s always interesting to see all the interaction in the publishing community, and to keep track of conditions on the ground in Spain. Take good care in the coming year and stay healthy. ~James

  2. And the good news for me: I’ve read all these posts! I don’t know how you select which are your favorites since all offer something unique. But I do know why people love your photos, information, details and humor! Thanks for blogging. You add much to the blogosphere. And best wishes for more adventures and more good posts in 2021.

    1. Read all our posts? A gold star for your Rusha. To say it’s been a strange year is a terrific understatement, and maybe 2021 will bring back some normalcy – in lots of ways. We’re itching to get back on the road, and are hoping to do just that in the early spring. It would be really sweet if we could get our vaccination before takeoff, but in the meantime it’s maskup and keep our distance.

      Thanks again for continuing to follow along, and you and Bert take good care and stay healthy in 2021. ~James

  3. From the beginning, I’ve always enjoyed your posts, Terri and James, seeing the world through your eyes, learning new things, appreciating the beauty of your photography, and of course, your sense of humor— more important now than ever. I look forward to where your posts will take us in 2021. –Curt

    1. Thanks Curt. We’ve really enjoyed your recent posts as well since we just covered a lot of the same ground not long ago. It’s always interesting to see the same sights through someone else’s eyes and to get a different perspective. We hope that you and Peggy stay safe and healthy in the coming year, and have lots of fun travel. ~James

    1. Henry, with a vaccine making its way through the population, we’re hopeful that the number of infections will soon start to drop and maybe in a few months we can all breathe a bit easier. Take care of yourself, and wishing you a wonderful 2021. ~James

    1. Amen Leslie. I think it will take a while for a vaccine to start making a real impact on making plane travel safer, but it can only get better. Take care and all the best for a better 2021. ~James

    1. Thanks so much Jacqui. We hope that you find something here that interests you. I was very pleased to discover your intriguing Crossroads Trilogy, which dovetails nicely with my interest in early human development. It’s always fun to be able to put a human face on all that science. All the best for a healthy and successful 2021. ~James

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Rebecca. We’re also glad to have crossed paths with you in the blogosphere, because it’s always informative to get another perspective. Take care and have a happy and healthy 2021. ~James

  4. Oh I see that we have missed some really good posts during the year. I especially want to go back and read the one on the Mayan cities, now that we have actually visited there ourselves. Love the idea of the top ten of the year!

    Whew, what a year. So hard for so many. We honestly feel so grateful for how our year turned out. We somehow snuck in a visit to Japan in Dec 2019 and January 2020 before the pandemic began and for that we are very grateful because yes who knew how little we would all travel in 2020. I do hope that you get to reschedule your trip to South Africa (being that it is my birth country I am biased, but what a wonderful country it is and has so much to offer to travellers!)

    Always enjoy reading you both and congrats for adapting to change and pivoting to adjust to the new reality that 2020 was!

    Happy new year to you both.


    1. Peta, as you know well, publishing a blog is hard work, so we always find it a rewarding exercise to look back at what we’ve done over the year and how things have gone. In addition to post popularity and reader interaction, a review of our posts for 2020 was an interesting review of our journey through the Year of Covid.

      We started the year thinking that it was just another virus that would pass. Little did we know that it would eventually touch everyone, everywhere and have such a far-reaching effect on the globe and everyone’s ability to travel … and write travel blogs.

      As you may have gathered from the number of posts we have on the Maya, it’s one of our favorite ancient cultures. While you’re in Mexico you really should make it a priority to see as much of the culture as possible, as well as the Aztecs around Mexico City. You and Ben take care of yourselves, and have a happy, healthy, and fun 2021. ~James

  5. Happy New Year, Terri and James, You remind me how January 2020 was significantly different than January 2021. You are both great examples for evolving, adjusting and flexibility. I met you and your blog part way through the year and I am glad our paths crossed. Your blog has a warm and inclusive feeling along with interesting and entertaining content. I have bookmarked your post to read the initial posts I missed. I look forward to reading and connecting with you in 2021.🙂 Erica

    1. Thanks so much for your kind words Erica. “Warm, inclusive, interesting, and entertaining” is precisely what we want our blog to be, and it’s heartening to know that someone notices and appreciates it. Thanks so much for continuing to follow along.

      I just visited your blog and saw all the wonderful family photos from your holidays. You have a lovely family and the photos are charming. I think that if there’s any silver lining to the pandemic it’s that the restrictions and uncertainties in the past year have taught us to be more flexible and to truly appreciate what’s important in our lives. And hopefully, we’ll all carry these ideas forward into the new year. All the best to you and your family for a happy, healthy, and hopefully more normal 2021. ~James

  6. I love the fact that you keep publishing posts in this blog despite the current limitations to travel. They help us imagine a post-Covid world, and what we need to do differently by then. When the pandemic is over, I hope you’ll get to do the postponed South Africa trip, but in the meantime, stay safe and healthy! Happy New Year to you both.

    1. Thanks Bama. Our focus on travel this year will be more regional and US focused. We’re lucky that the US is a big place with lots of variety and options for new sights and experiences. I’m sure it’s the same for you in Indonesia. We took a month-long train trip across Java, and it was wonderful, but I suspect that we only scratched the surface.

      We will all get back to international travel eventually, and in the meantime we have to be creative and be careful. All the best to you for a happy, healthy, and fun 2021. ~James

      1. Even I as someone who has been living in Java for most of my life haven’t seen everything. But a month-long train trip across the island sounds epic!

    1. Thanks Alison. The infection rate continues to skyrocket here in the US, so it’s hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. There’s going to be lots of pain in short term, but hopefully, the vaccine effects will start to take hold and as spring arrives things will moderate. In the meantime, we continue to be careful and look forward to some travel when the weather breaks. All the best to you and Don for a happy and healthy 2021. ~James

    1. Amit, I’ll tell you a “behind the scenes” story about “Galactically.” When we were writing the post we were looking for a good adjective to describe how truly weird this year has been, and we settled on this word. But in the course of the conversation we were concerned that everyone would get it. Obviously it worked!

      We hope that all is going well for you, and we wish you all the best for the coming year. It’s bound to get better. ~James

  7. Oh you guys… I seriously need to catch up on what y’all did with this space during 2020. I’m absolutely intrigued. I hope that early 2021 finds you both well and ready for whatever adventures this year brings to us collectively and individually. I, myself, have decided that I’d like to focus more on my blog’s roots again… documenting and writing about the sacred rhythms of my everyday life. Here’s to a bright new year! xo liz

    1. Happy New Year, Liz! It’s wonderful to hear from you as we all close out the tumultuous experiences of 2020, and enter 2021 with hope and joy. I know your world has been rocked this past year, and I love your intention to focus on your blog’s roots. Embracing the reasons we all started blogging makes me smile. Here’s wishing you and Lina the very best in the New Year, filled with happiness, joy, and calm. ❤ ~Terri

  8. You two were on the ball with all the changes happening in the world and with coming up with creative ideas regarding your blog and your life! Kudos! And, to redo an entire blog in 2020, that must have been the biggest accomplishment and probably quite unexpectedly. Such a major task. Ceasing opportunities when the obvious (travel) is not available, is a quality in itself. Well done, Terri and James, and may 2021 bring you more of what you love and stand for!

    1. Liesbet, like most people we have lots of downtime around Dec-Jan, and that gives us an opportunity to look back at how things have gone as well as look forward to what we want for the coming year. As it happened, last year this self-examination time coincided with the beginning of the pandemic shutdown. So we had even more reasons to evaluate things, and the results are all the changes that you’ve mentioned.

      As a couple we divide and conquer, so Terri is primarily responsible for all the blog reorganization and theme change. It was something we’d put off for a few years and she did a great job on the changes. And BTW, with a newly published book I’d say we weren’t the only busy people last year. All the best to you and Mark for a happy, healthy, and travel-filled 2020 and good luck with the new book. ~James

  9. Hope the new year found you both well! I definitely missed some of your posts this year, and I see you’ve done a great work in the meantime! I have always enjoyed your posts, with plenty of useful tips and ideas! Have an amazing new year ahead🙂

    1. Christie we enjoy putting together these year-end wrap ups. As bloggers they’re a good opportunity for a topic popularity check as well as give ourselves a pat on the back for all the work we’ve done. It was a crazy year for everyone, and we’re hopeful for some level of normalcy in the coming year. All the best to you for a happy, healthy, and fun 2021, and thanks for continuing to follow along. ~James

  10. How you two get around! Not covering the entire globe, but forging friendships through your blogs. I really must read more of your posts; I loved the account of Cambodia! I was always an ‘armchair traveller’, but quite unable to up sticks for varioous reasons.

    Because we could only start travelling rather late in life (71 in my case) and our budget was tight, and because of our love of history and art, we have limited ourselves to touring in Europe – France is ‘just over the stream’ – The English Channel.

    We like to travel slowly, in our own car, using B&B’s whenever possible, and taking different routes each year. In this way we have been able to drive many back roads, particularly in France and Italy. Many regions, and towns and villages have been explored by us in depth, with lasting friendships formed.

    We pass on the best (and the very few worst) experiences in overnight stays, restaurants and ‘hidden places’. Also many routes ‘less travelled’, because those are full of surprises.

    At present we are working on our month’s tour of France in 2018, but I am pulling up old letters and short accounts of earlier holidays, including Crete and Croatia.

    Let’s hope it’s not too long before we can all set off again. Meanwhile, I shall send our link to Gallivance on, because your site seems to have become a catalyst – a very friendly one.

    Good Luck and Good Health for 2021 –
    Jackie and Graham Usher.

    1. Happy New Year Jackie and Graham! It’s wonderful to hear from you again. I love your philosophy of slow travel – you can miss so much if you’re just rushing off from one destination to the next. And of course, it’s the people you meet along the way that are the true icing on the cake.

      I’m looking forward to reading your account of touring France – such a beautiful place. And I agree with you, hopefully we’ll be able to quench our wanderlust in the near future. James and I wish you and Graham the very best in 2021. 🙂 ~Terri

  11. Terri and James your creativity have been shining throughout the year…perhaps even more than ever. I love your writing, it always gives me a sense of wonder. You are also very generous with the blogging community, including other bloggers on some of your blog posts, commenting, visiting, and supporting. Yet your blog is not for commercial purposes, it is genuine, unique, interesting, honest.
    I have a smile on my face every time one of your blog posts arrive in my inbox, I know it will be a real treat to read it. I am excited to keep following your blog in 2021, keep well, and keep writing. Happy New Year!!!

    1. You are so very kind, Gilda. Thanks so much for all of your support and participation over the years. You are the originator of some of my all-time favorite quotes, like this one on Simplicity:

      “It is amazing how little you need to be happy.”
      –Gilda at Traveller Interrupted

      This past year, you and Brian were on the cutting edge of the Pandemic in Asia and Europe. Your reports as things began to shut down in Southeast Asia in March had me on the edge of my seat. And your explorations this past summer let us visit some cool places vicariously. Which fits another of your quotes:

      “Asking yourselves what is it that you really want/need at this point in your life. For us travelling is a priority at the moment.” –Gilda at Traveller Interrupted

      James and I wish you and Brian a fabulous 2021 filled with joy, peace, good health … and a bit more travel. ❤ ~Terri

  12. May 2021 bring only the best to both of you. I’ve loved your blog all along, but the changes you made in 2020 were spot on. You managed to stay relevant and heart-felt. Mixing education, humor, common sense and fun. I’m looking forward to some of your US based travels this year. Hopefully, I can get back into the swing of things soon. I just haven’t had the heart for it lately. All the best!

    1. Happy New Year, Laura! And thanks so much for your encouragement and kind words. Your phrase, “You managed to stay relevant and heart-felt.” really made our hearts sing. 🙂 Writing during 2020 was a new challenge we hadn’t anticipated. I can totally understand not being in the mood to write – since so many of us were just trying to negotiate a challenging landscape and live our lives. Whenever you’re ready, we’re looking forward to hearing about all of your exploits. Selling fireworks has to come with its own great tales to tell. Wishing you and Steve a fabulous 2021 filled with joy, peace, good health … and a bit more travel. 🙂 ~Terri

  13. Great idea to provide a review of your favourite posts from this crazy year. You sure were busy creating interesting content. I just took a quick look at your January off the beaten path post. Who would have guessed! I love that you included the adorable town of Bacharach. Happy New Year!

    1. Caroline, we loved Bacharach and it was such a wonderful break. When we visited we had been on the road for a while and were burned out. It’s relaxed, tiny-town feel and fantastic setting was just what we needed. All the best to you for a happy, healthy 2021. ~James

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