Is it really 2022 already? Covid years are like dog years. Blink and they’re over. Washed away in slow-moving flood that feels less like a disaster movie now, and more like a scam, like a hotel that looks nothing like the pictures on the website. I want my money back. No, forget that – I want my time back!

A year

It occurred to be on Christmas Eve that a year earlier, as we collectively approached the end of the worst year ever, we felt like something was coming to an end, even though I think we all knew that it wasn’t really. It was cold and Christmas parties were so much a destination as a landmark, something to signal the fact that 2020 would be consigned to history in just a few days.

And then there was midnight on December 31st. Wherever you were in the world, you surely breathed a sigh of relief. 2020 was over and while 2021 probably wouldn’t be much better, at least it wouldn’t be 2020 and that counted for something.

But for me, 2021 was just, well, boring. Nothing happened. I didn’t travel anywhere aside from a seven-day vacation in Portugal which felt like seven days plucked from the pages of a travel brochure from back when travel agents had brochures from which people would select seven days somewhere sunny.

Make no mistake, I was grateful for that opportunity to escape the routine of routine, but it lacked the hectic nature of an open-ended adventure meeting locals on and heading off on the road with no real idea where I’d find myself tomorrow, or the next day.

In 2021 nothing was new. Each day felt more or less like the one before it, and I even started to recognize strangers. I purchased plants and cultivated them to the point where people complimented me, brought pasta bowls for their interesting shape, and even repainted the apartment. My routines are roots, and all the while I longed to rip them up from the ground, gifts the plants to friends, and leave those nice white pasta bowls for the allure of a dusty road and something new tomorrow.

It’s funny because I look back at 2020 now and find myself thinking that while it was an awful year, it was interesting in so much as we were all thrown into unfamiliar situations. Quarantines, Zoom parties, Tiger King (I only watched episode one because, seriously, why the fuck was that show a thing?), and clapping out of your window at 8 PM.

We were together alone, and while it was frightening and uncertain in many respects, it was also unifying and new in others. Pushing the bed up against the wall then laying out on a towel on the bedroom floor as the sun streamed through the full-length open windows warming my home-bound bones. It was a new way to sunbathe, but I made the most of it. I found a recording of a Gold Coast beach with the sounds of lapping waves and the gentle low beat of a distant radio. I closed my eyes and let myself travelled there, eventually moving across the room as the shadow chased me into a corner. That was fun, and I got a fairly decent tan too!

I went on solo bike rides to places I wouldn’t have thought to explore before. Found new favorite places, and even a couple of old chateaux where I could lay in the sun amid carefully cut grass and manicured hedges. I stretched the possibilities of restrictions and pushed the boundaries or boundaries.

And now here I am, looking back on 2020 with some kind of affection, like school days when all we wanted was to get out into the world and no longer be held back by education! It sucked, there’s no doubt about it, but at least there was novelty in that calamity. 2021, however, felt like a strangely uncanceled season of a daytime soap opera nobody watches anymore.

I’m bored of this. Bored of masks and variants, vaccines, and anti-vaxers. Bored of not being able to hug people, shake hands, or somewhere without having someone scan a code on my phone with an app that will almost certainly become problematic soon enough. I’m bored of hearing politicians talk about this crisis and the amount of money they’re willing to spend to defeat it while they do as little as possible to address the climate crisis which has been around longer and will be far worse in the long run. 2021 was worse than 2020 because it was an insufferable bore.


So I’m heading off to America in a few weeks, and while it won’t be a motorbike trip on an unfamiliar road, it will be a change of scenery at least. In fact, it’s a trip that retraces my first steps into international travel as I touch down in the USA, thirty years to the day I first stepped off the plane into the California sun.

I’m looking forward to seeing those familiar faces once more and taking the Amtrak to Colorado over the Rocky Mountains. Of course, we’re living in uncertain times, so I’m not entirely convinced something won’t happen to scupper those plans. We’ll see I guess. But for now, I’m happy to see the end of 2021, the most boring year of my life. 2022 started with a sunny day, so you know what, I’d call that a good start.