My 2020 Year in Review

With 2020 being over I wanted to share some info and stats on my key moments and accomplishments as well as an outlook on the plans for 2021. In addition, I also share my experience on travel during 2020 and add some info on things I've been frequently asked about by friends and acquaintances.

My 2020 Year in Review

Twenty-twenty. Wow. What a mess.

Probably like most people, at the end of 2019 I made big plans for the upcoming year. I set my goals and worked the switches to make them happen. Up until February everything still looked kind of okay and achievable – at least from the impression European and US media gave in regard of that virus barely anyone has ever heard of up until then. It looked like yet another health scare that would pass by eventually, just the way it happened every now and then in the last 102 years.

Travel

Lisbon (Part 1)

One of the few sunny days I had in Lisbon

Lisbon was my first stop in 2020. I initially thought of spending a few months there but after only a couple of weeks I cancelled my plans. Lisbon was one of the very few cities for me where my social media fuelled euphoria came to a crashing halt the moment I set foot in the city.

I arrived late at night at the airport. The place looked very worn down and definitely too small for the amount of tourists. I waited nearly 45 minutes for my luggage and ordered a cab as soon as I was outside the terminal. The ride from the airport to the Airbnb that I had booked took around 40 minutes and I arrived around half past twelve in the night. A person came by to hand over the keys to the apartment. The place was completely run down.

Besides of the fact that it definitely didn’t appear as it was advertised on Airbnb it also didn’t have heating. Even though Lisbon is quite in the south, in January the temperatures still fall below 10°C at night. After a twenty-minute call with the US Airbnb support I got the complete booking refunded, ordered another cab and drove off to a nearby hotel. The cab driver was a Ukrainian man that seemed to have been drinking. He drove with his window open because he smoked heavily and he seemed to enjoy listening to German gangster rap at a very high volume. I assume he didn’t understand the extremely vulgar lyrics and most likely just enjoyed the sound.

Unfortunately the experience at the hotel didn’t get a lot better. The room wasn’t exactly clean and it was located above the hotel’s parking garage. At least I had a place to spend a few nights at and it would give me some time to find a new long-term accommodation, I thought.

Over the next couple of days I found that most parts of the city reflected the condition of my first Airbnb: Sidewalks are ridiculously small and wrecked for the most parts, streets in general are really dirty and traffic makes it hard to walk the narrow streets. Many restaurants and bars seem to have given up fixing their interiors and simply incorporated that worn-down look of the building into their vibe. I got a full-blown Paris syndrome.

The combination of a very post-soviet condition paired with ridiculous prices for accommodations and bad food and coffee options made it impossible for me to get comfortable. It also didn’t help that the average Joe on Lisbon’s streets seems to be rather inconsiderate, as things like holding doors open for others or making space on the narrow sidewalks don’t seem to be baked into their behaviour. Not to mention the passive-aggressiveness of drivers and the way they race their cars through the cobblestone paved streets. And all that in a cold, windy and very rainy period of the year that made the city drown in an even more terrible, greyish appearance. I was just done with it. At least for now.

After little over two weeks later I left Lisbon for Miami, for some much needed change of scenery. Lisbon was grey and ugly for most of the time, with only few sunny days. At that point, European and American media only started report about a new virus originating in China.

Miami

The Lincoln Theater in Miami Beach

I had booked an apartment in Coconut Grove and even though it was tiny and quite expensive as well, it had everything I was craving for after a few weeks of Lisbon: A king size bed, a fast and stable internet connection, big windows for a beautiful view with lots of sunlight and blue sky. The Fresh Market was only half an hour by foot away so I enjoyed many shoreline walks.

The time in Miami flew by too fast. I was again sitting in the AirFrance’s A380 towards Paris, where I would board the connecting flight to Lisbon. Having replenished my batteries for a bit, I decided to give Lisbon a second chance.

Lisbon (Part 2)

Old buildings in Lisbon

After 13h and 45m of travel, I arrived back in Lisbon. I was dead tired. I couldn’t sleep throughout the flight because the A380 was packed and Air France apparently included a free demonstration of what global warming will feel like for all of their 516 passengers. Either that or the AC was simply broken.

First things first: Before going to the new Airbnb I booked for some quality sleep, I had to pick up a few things. “It shouldn’t take more than half an hour.", I thought to myself. Little did I know about Portuguese punctuality and reliability. I was left waiting for over an hour only to find out that I couldn’t pay because neither Apple Pay nor credit card payments are something Lisbon can do in 2020. At least running around the neighbourhood with heavy luggage in order to find an ATM kind of woke me up a bit.

Another forty minutes later and I was finally able to get a cab to the Airbnb. I hoped so much I could simply check in, take a hot shower and just sleep for the next 24 hours. I reckoned without my host.

This time the Airbnb looked as advertised online. No worn-down walls (in the apartment), no mould and a clean bathroom. It was smaller than I expected, though, and it only had two small windows. The place was a lot darker than the photos on Airbnb pictured it. However, the thing that I didn’t see coming at all was, that the residential building it was located in was under construction, meaning that there was heavy drilling and hammering hearable throughout the whole place. For a brief moment I forgot my annoyance about this and thought “Wow, that’s the first renovation effort I came across in this city so far”. I was too tired to deal with the situation, so I just accepted it.

A regular day in Lisbon

A few days later, I went to a place named FOOD Mercearia Biológica for dinner. It’s a bit of an upscale place as it caters to folks looking for organic and vegetarian food options mostly. Apparently places like this are hotspots for pickpockets in Lisbon, which I didn’t realise before. Here’s the scheme:

You’re sitting at a table, enjoying your food. Your jacked (or purse) is probably hanging on your chair. You notice two guys who sitting at the table behind you but you don’t really care because you’re in a restaurant and you don’t think of anybody reaching back into the inside of your jacket, opening the pocket’s zipper and pulling out your wallet – while that’s pretty much how it happens. Minutes later you notice the two people behind you are gone and suddenly your smartphone is being flooded with ATM transaction notifications from your Revolut, Bunq and other credit card accounts. You check your jacket for your wallet and notice it’s gone. You calmly open each app after another, transfer all the money to a card-less account and let the thieves continue trying while you kindly ask the staff to call the police. Meanwhile you try to figure out where the transaction are being made from, unfortunately none of the people around can really help you as they either do not know that place or simply don’t speak english very well. You wait for the police to arrive so you could simply show them the transactions in hope they would be able to drive to the place so you could recover your wallet. You wait some more. And you still wait. Forty minutes in you still wait. And then you wait another twenty minutes. Yes, after one hour the police arrives. They don’t speak english and don’t know the place the transactions show as merchant. You ask them to check the security footage of the place, which would very likely reveal the thieves. They don’t really care to do so, even though you asked the staff upfront to make sure that there was security footage recorded (hint: it was recorded). You’re being driven to the police station because they can’t do anything for you. At the police station you have to wait in line. Not because there are many people, but because a soccer game in which Ronaldo plays is being live streamed onto the television hanging in the room’s corner and officers prefer to focus on that rather than on the boring bureaucracy they’re paid to deal with. Another forty minutes go by, an officer winks you over to him. He asks you a couple of standard questions regarding the situation during the less exciting moments of the soccer game. You leave your contact info in case the wallet that contains all your credit cards, IDs, insurance cards, etc. turns up again. You’ll very likely not hear from them again.

Bunq showing the transactions the thieves tried

Initially, I intended to spend most of 2020 in Southeast Asia. I had a Finnair flight to Bangkok scheduled. Unfortunately – or luckily? – with most of my important documents (IDs, credit cards, etc) stolen, I was unable to board the flight. Up until March I still fought with Finnair – who turned out to be one of the worst EU airlines, in terms of customer experience – because not only did they cancel my flight towards Bangkok, but they also cancelled every other connecting flight I booked with them. In hindsight it turned out to be a blessing in disguise that they chose to give a damn about customer happiness and not offer to keep the rest of my ~1800 EUR journey available to me. I intended to simply book a different flight towards Bangkok so that I could still make it to all the connecting flights, but apparently Finnair’s company policy is that if you book a whole journey with them and you are not able to attend one flight, they reserve the right to cancel the rest of the journey without checking back with you nor refunding you for the cancelled flights.

Gran Canaria & Fuerteventura

The dunes in Fuerteventura

Fed up with the travel situation, my lost documents and the emerging pandemic I decided to board a cheap flight to anywhere – which turned out to be Gran Canaria, on the Canary Islands of Spain – and enjoy a few weeks of sun, sea and sand. Only after a couple of days, the situation on Gran Canaria began to tip over. The first cases were identified and slowly restrictions were put in place.

At that point I packed my things up and boarded a ship to the neighbouring island Fuerteventura. Being a lot less populated I assumed I could still spend a couple of weeks of holiday over there until I would eventually retry to get to Southeast Asia.

Then the government locked down the islands. No more travel was possible. I was stuck on Fuerteventura. A curfew was put in place so most people had to stay at home. Tourists were asked to leave the islands but I managed to find a place I could stay for a longer period of time. It was a bit of a struggle, since even Airbnb, Booking, etc. were asked by the Canary governments to stop offering their services during that time.

Eventually I was able to book a much needed escape ticket from Fuerteventura. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to leave the area by sea, so I had to book a Binter flight. Everyone who has been on the Canaries probably knows how bad airports and especially airport staff and procedures on the Canary Islands are. However, after too many weeks on Fuerteventura all I wanted was to leave. Don’t get me wrong, Fuerteventura is a beautiful island and it’s possible to have a great time there, as long as you’re willing to spend a lot of money on below-average accommodation with unbelievably slow internet speeds. Also, food options there are very limited. I was always surprised of how bad availability and variety of produce on Spain’s islands is, while only a few hundred miles away on Madeira they have plenty of options available. Considering Spain’s significantly higher GDP and better development, it’s a shame that the logistics on their Canary Islands seems to suck so bad that it isn’t even possible to get anything delivered there in a reasonable amount of time – like a week or two. And obviously the global crisis didn’t benefit the broken logistics.

Madeira

The view over Funchal

I managed to escape to Madeira and found a very nice guest house to stay. The host there was one of the most welcoming and nice people I’ve ever met. For sure, that’s one of the main reasons why the Canary Islands left a sour taste in my mouth. It wasn’t my first time on the Canaries so I was used to their way of treating tourists. I kind of expected my first time on Madeira to be similar – but it wasn’t. The way I perceived Madeira was influenced heavily by how I was treated as a guest of that island, which was very good overall. Not only are the accommodations on Madeira of better value, but more importantly the people seem to be more welcoming and do not seem to be looking so desperately to somehow make a buck off you, as it appears to be the case on the Canaries.

Apart from that, Madeira is a small, car-dependent island. Internet speeds are partially better than I experienced them in mainland Portugal, food/grocery options are a lot better than on the Canary Islands and infrastructure is in good shape. Funchal is terribly crowded, but places like Machico are quite liveable. Even though the highways are near mint, I didn’t enjoy driving through Madeira. Portuguese people seem to enjoy a rather aggressive and dangerous style of driving. Also, due to the very mountainous environment, there are a gazillion of tunnels, hiding the scenery and making longer drives very boring and tiring.

With the situation starting to get worse throughout Europe, I decided to leave the EU as soon as possible. Through friends and media I learned how ridiculously bad the situation was managed by the individual EU governments and how countries couldn’t even find common sense within their own border, not to mention outside of it. While Asia was still under heavy lockdown, Central American seemed to slowly begin re-opening. Since I wouldn’t want to end up being locked-in by the rain season either, I decided to still wait a little and rather take a direct flight from Madeira to Porto first, in order to spend a few days there. It was a short flight, cases in Porto were still below the EU average and I always wanted to visit the city and see if the hype is real. Porto is being praised heavily by tech and art people alike and gained a lot of popularity across influencers and YouTubers over the past few years. So, since I still had to kill some time, why not give it a try.

Porto (and reflecting on Lisbon)

A sunny but cold day in Porto

First things first: If I would have to choose between Lisbon and Porto, I would definitely, definitely pick Porto. Compared to Lisbon, Porto is the better city in every possible way: More friendly people, better coffee, significantly better accommodation, better food options, better grocery stores and a slightly better infrastructure. That said, I struggled enjoying mainland Portugal due to a lot of small but to me significant things. Things you probably wouldn’t notice while visiting any of these cities for only a few days or weeks. But personally I wouldn’t want to be living in either Lisbon or Porto. First and foremost, infrastructure. Most places I stayed at in Lisbon had significant issues, be it warm water, be it internet speeds, be it noise or overall decay. Not only are buildings usually very old, badly insulated and oftentimes suffer from mould, but they also suffer from botched sanitary facilities, furniture and appliances; The public infrastructure (like streets and sidewalks, public transportation, public spaces) is just as deteriorated as the residential buildings. From that point of view Porto, as well as Lisbon, reminded me a lot of the eastern bloc. That’s not necessarily a bad thing – I lived in the eastern bloc and frequently travelled there as well. However, unlike the eastern bloc, the cost of actually living in Lisbon or Porto is significantly higher. Portugal has one of the highest VAT rates (23%) while offering one of the lowest mean incomes in the EU.
That is where things don’t add up for me. I don’t dislike a place for a lower quality of life. In fact, that is what might make places special in first place. A certain vibe, a certain spirit that you simply won’t have in highly developed and wealthy cities. However, one key element of “poor, but sexy” is that the lower standards make living affordable to a more diverse population. That is where I found that Porto as well as Lisbon failed the equation. In Lisbon it seemed that no matter how much money I would put on the table, the quality of accommodation wouldn’t change significantly. In Porto I ended up paying over $600 per week on a place only to avoid the struggles I’ve been experiencing before in Lisbon. And indeed, the apartment I had in Porto was very decent: It had heating, it had warm water for longer periods, it had a well equipped kitchen and big panorama windows in the living area. But at over $2400 per month it’s pretty much what one could as well find in cities like Melbourne, Berlin or Bangkok – cities with decent public transportation, with better walkability, with more international food options and a (formerly) more buzzing nightlife.

To me it seemed that the cost of living is on a par with larger and more developed cities while the value and standard of living didn’t really catch up to that. Public transportation is as bad as it gets, public services are terrible, cars rule the cities and both places struggle with awful walkability due to their busted infrastructure, making it pointless to even think of any other means of transport like cycling or e-boarding. Both cities' digital infrastructures are in similar shape, with Portugal being 25th in Speedtest’s global broadband speed index and 43rd in mobile data speed (as of November 2020), hanging well behind countries like Thailand, Romania and Hungary – all of which have a significantly lower cost of living compared to Portugal.

On top of that, even getting the most simple things done takes significantly more time due to inefficiency and terrible service in so many different areas – be it bureaucratic things, banking or other services. Stores oftentimes don’t deliver things or if they do they might take a long time to reach you. Amazon for example won’t deliver many things to Porto. Out of three things I had to order during my time there, one didn’t arrive at all. The things that are being delivered might take a week or two to arrive. Shopping locally is the best option, unfortunately availability in local shops and stores isn’t good.

Long story short, for me personally Porto, and even less Lisbon, do not quite deliver on the hype they’re being praised with. While Porto an overall okay experience for a short period of time, I wouldn’t want to stick around for too long.

Panama City

Good morning Panama City!

As soon as flights to Central America became available again and the rain-season seemed to be ending, I booked the next best one to Panama City. The flight departed from Lisbon, so I raced from Porto to Lisbon over night, nearly missing the 737 towards Amsterdam at 5:00 AM, only to not having to spend even just a single day in Lisbon again. I managed to get my flight to Amsterdam, where I boarded KLM’s 787 Dreamliner toward Tocumen International.

Flying from Europe to Central America is a PITA with the flight time being shy of 13 hours. Luckily I was so tired that I basically slept the entire flight. Otherwise I would have probably upset myself over all the people not capable of wearing their masks correctly or the KLM staff not caring about that at all.

Panamá is beautiful and Panama City is one of the best places to live. Unfortunately short-term accommodations are as bad as it gets. Panama City is pretty much Central America’s Miami in terms of accommodation prices. In addition to Airbnb and hotels being very expensive, the level of maintenance of such places is below average. I wouldn’t be able to recommend any accommodation in Panama City because things there age very quickly due to the lack of care. The best thing to do when browsing for places to stay in Panama City is to look for ones that have been constructed or renovated very recently. That’s pretty much the only chance to get something decent without spending too much.

One thing that I learned throughout my travels is that there are cities where Airbnb works perfectly fine and there are cities where it simply won’t, unless you’re willing to spend an arm and a leg, making it even more expensive than most of the better-known hotel brands. Panama City is one of those places where Airbnb doesn’t work, unfortunately. None of the places I got looked anything like how they were advertised on Airbnb – a fate that Aruba seems to share with Panama City, btw. Airbnbs in Panama City are either priced from $5000 upwards per month or very likely to look like a run-down ’80s cocaine penthouse.

Also keep in mind that in most parts of Central and South America “super fast internet” means something up to 1Mb/s downstream. Mobile data is usually faster in Panama City than broadband connections. Many places (especially in Casco Viejo) therefor have mobile data hotspots instead of broadband connections. Streaming Netflix or YouTube is possible but most of the time rather not something you’d want to waste your patience on.

In terms of groceries Panama City has a lot to offer. The Foodie stores are my one-stop-shop for most things, since they carry many products from all over the world – from German Sauerkraut, over Japanese Ramen and Takoyaki to American Beef, there’s little you won’t find there.

After a while in Panama City and with cases there beginning to rise again, making the government impose new restrictions (again), I decided to continue my travel to some place with possibly fewer people, more nature and definitely more sun. Panamá unfortunately was quite rainy still and since I wasn’t looking forward to spend the holidays locked indoors for any reason, I decided to hop on a Copa Airlines flight towards Aruba.

Aruba

Art in Sint Niclaas

This tiny constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean Sea is part of the ABC (Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao) isles and a well-known holiday destination for many Dutch as well as American tourists. With a constant temperature around 27ºC/81ºF and a yearly average of 65 rainy days it’s a great place to get in some much needed Vitamin D and use the warm climate for outdoor activities.

I arrived here without having anything but a rental car booked. Aruba, just like most Caribbean isles, is pretty expensive in terms of accommodations and food. Especially during the peak season between December and February places can go for a staggering $20k per month. Hence, booking something upfront wasn’t an option.

I decided to play Roulette instead. I put all my chips on the current situation field and decided to give my negotiation skills a try. It turned out to be a pretty good choice. With the pandemic still on-going, Aruba’s travel industry took a hit as well, allowing me to get things a lot cheaper, sometimes even for nearly half their initial price. The approach worked well for accommodations but less so for cars and obviously not for groceries. Shelling out $400 on an errand is something that can very easily happen on Aruba. Ling & Sons and Superfood Plaza have a great range of yummy things, but prices especially for American and European products go through the roof. A diet based on fresh produce is financially the best thing to do while on Aruba, I guess.

Nevertheless, as of right now I’m still on Aruba and I think I’ll stick around for a little longer. I managed to get some good deals on accommodations and it doesn’t seem to be getting as crowded as usual around here. At some point I might hop over to Bonaire or Curaçao, but I don’t know yet. Right now I’m enjoying some normality, by being able to walk around on near empty beaches without wearing a mask and by being able to do some running and other physical activities in a climate I enjoy very much. In the evenings I usually get to see a beautiful sunset and work on some of the projects that I’ve started this year, as well as my on-going long term goals and targets.

The Eagle Beach

Summary

This is an overview of the places that I’ve travelled to throughout 2020, with links to specific posts for every place (if available). I have been to a few more cities, but only for very short stops of up to one week, which I didn’t list.

Travel FAQ

Here are some of the things I got asked about by friends and acquaintances over my travel activity in 2020, with my answers to them. This might help you put things better into perspective and give you an impression of how life on the go might be like during these strange times.

How was flying in 2020?

It wasn’t any different to any other year, apart from most people wearing masks, visors and/or glasses. Throughout Europe, airports were more or less empty from March until around July. Before and after that nothing changed: Ridiculously long lines with people standing close to each other, awfully organised security procedures and packed airplanes. Empty middle seats? Nope. Empty rows? Nope. People wearing masks throughout the whole flight? Forget about it. Airline staff telling people to put their masks back on or put it over their noses? Haha, good one.

Long story short, all this “We care about your safety” was straight-out bullshit. The only difference to pre-2020 were the free hand sanitisers you got everywhere throughout airports and aircraft. While some airlines advertised that they’d disinfect their planes with misting cannons, they didn’t do that during turn time. If you’re worried about your aircraft having that virus hanging in the air your best bet might be to always take the very first flight of a day. However, since I personally do not believe the airline’s marketing I didn’t really put my hopes in them cleaning or dusting their aircraft. Instead, I always wear my FFP2/FFP3 mask, take care to not touch my face and regularly wash and disinfect my hands, phone and other things.

One thing I’d like to put out here:

Dear terminal security agents,

If you really do have to open people’s hand luggage and go through their stuff, would you mind disinfecting your hands before reaching into the bag? It would help a lot, especially when one can hear you snuffle and cough from 6 feet distance.

Thanks!

Sincerely, the passenger you almost always request to open his hand-luggage because you’ve apparently never seen a hand espresso maker, an unusually shaped wristwatch or 25 meters of Paracord before.

What about travel restrictions?

It was a PITA to deal with those. At times I was stuck in places for several weeks due to restrictions at local or destination airports. Information is usually not clear enough, so most of the time planning a trip required some guess-work. Checking multiple sources is definitely a must-do before booking flights, in order to make sure you won’t end up getting rejected or being required to quarantine for multiple weeks.

And testing?

Throughout Europe it was barely required. Madeira was the only place I had to get tested within Europe back at the time. I was surprised how well testing was managed in Madeira. They had the whole infrastructure set up from mid 2020, I only had to sign up on a web/mobile app upon arriving at the airport. I was assigned a QR code that I simply showed the testing personell after disembarking from the aircraft, testing was done on-site and I was asked to quarantine until I’d get the result. It was delivered by mail and only took ~6 hours. Few other European countries had figured it out up until that point, but Madeira was one of the good examples. Most European countries did not require any testing up until very recently.

Panamá and Aruba on the other hand had a very strict lockdowns and didn’t allow any travel for a long time. They basically used their rain seasons to curb the spread in order to be able to re-open as soon as the dry season starts. It was very noticeable that these areas really needed the tourists, since on-arrival testing was in place, but it was (and still is) quite a foolish act. Panamá for example only does the nasal swab instant tests and even those aren’t being performed correctly most of the time. While those swabs are supposed to touch the Nasopharynx, the staff at the Tocumen barely inserts it into the Nasal cavity, meaning that one would probably have to be riddled by the virus in order to trigger a positive result.

It’s a same-but-different story for Aruba. The official documents state a variety of things that are required in order to be allowed to enter island. However, in real life the airport staff barely checks whether all the requirements were met. I chose to perform right before leaving Panama City, at the Panama Clinic. The procedure there worked very well and I received my result on time. I had the document printed in order to show it to the authorities on arrival. However, the staff barely glanced at the paper and let me pass, making me wonder whether I could have saved the $90 and instead might have been able to enter using a self-written test result. Hmm.

How is everyday life in … with the current situation going on?

It differs a lot from country to country. For example, I felt very safe in Panamá, because Panamanians really take the situation seriously, wear masks, scan their temperature and use sanitiser. Unlike literally every European country I visited throughout 2020, Panamá is really disciplined in that sense. I had little concern getting in an Uber or walking through Panama City.

In Aruba, on the other hand, the locals seem to be more carefree than the Panamanians. In addition, their efforts seem to be torpedoed by American and European tourists refusing to wear masks.

Throughout Portugal, Spain and Germany it has been even worse, with people barely following safety protocols. When the first wave hit Europe, I was on the Canary Islands and I found their initial response to be very good – unlike the response within mainland Spain, for example.
The Canary Islands had military police on the streets that made sure people would comply with the curfew and other rules that were put in place. They even helped out at large supermarkets, made sure people used disinfectants and places would not get too crowded at times. The autonomous region even handed out masks to people at times when governments like Germany still maintained their “masks won’t help” positions.
However, with the high season approaching around July, even the better prepared areas like the Fuerteventura took down their guards in order to avoid a big hit on their economy, leading to infections spiking shortly after.

Wouldn’t it have been safer for you to just stay put?

I don’t believe so. The situation in all countries I’ve been to changed significantly on a weekly basis. From my perspective it seemed like the best idea to keep moving rather than set camp in one place. Not to mention that even if there was a remote place I could simply shelter for the whole year, I wouldn’t haven been able without completely failing on everything that was and still is happening in my personal and professional life.

In retrospective I believe that the approach I took was the best thing to do for me: Monitor the local situation, stay alert and as soon as things change, move quickly to a less impacted area. Standing still in times of uncertainty is probably the worst thing to do.

How did you pick the places to go so that you wouldn’t get stuck?

A mix of data (case numbers, political actions, mathematical predictions, exit strategies) and good ol' gut feeling.

Didn’t travelling stress you out?

Heck, it did.

What safety measures did you follow for yourself?

  • Always wear a FFP2/FFP3 mask when surrounded by other people
  • Keep a safe distance to other people
  • Wash/disinfect hands regularly
  • Don’t touch the face with dirty hands
  • Define “clean” and “not so clean” zones for items in luggage, don’t mix up things like toothbrushes with things that you mostly use outdoors
  • Wipe down groceries or wash hands after touching stuff
  • Don’t trust other people to clean things, clean them yourself
  • Clean stuff and wash clothes regularly
  • Don’t wear outdoors clothes indoors – if you’ve lived in cities like Berlin and regularly used public transportation you probably already stopped doing that even before the pandemic
  • Don’t eat raw/unpacked things while outdoors (e.g. open buffets)
  • Don’t use public transportation unless really necessary
  • Avoid crowded places
  • If not feeling well, stay indoors, definitely don’t travel
  • Only meet with people if really necessary and not possible through video calls (e.g. banking and legal related things)
  • Don’t take candy from strangers in white vans. Just kidding. But don’t.

Projects

Firefly development board

Apart from my already on-going projects, I’ve used my time to start a couple of new things. Even with my professional activities taking a lot of my time, I nevertheless executed on a few ideas that were on my mind for too long. This is a summary of all the new projects I started working on in 2020.

  • Kona, the Webhooks Dashboard
  • journal, this site that you’re looking at right now
  • uveira, an offline Wikipedia CLI for dumpster-dive MongoDB imports
  • zeit, a command line tool for tracking time spent on activities
  • geld, a command line tool for tracking money and budgets
  • journalist, a RSS aggregator
  • Do more things using the RISC-V platform

Goals for 2021

Travel

  • Visit Paraguay
  • Visit the Seychelles
  • Visit Iceland
  • Visit Panama again
  • Visit Japan again
  • Visit Vietnam again
  • Visit Melbourne again

Projects

  • Advertise Kona and see whether people are interested in using it
    • Iterate on its web UI and build a publicly usable API
    • Launch the paid plans
  • Publicly release journalist, a RSS aggregator
    • Finalise integration into Reeder and other Fever API compatible clients
    • Build own CLI client for journalist that uses an extended version of the API and implements a few nice tricks
  • Extend geld with advanced budgeting features and statistics
    • Focus on usage by multiple people/teams
    • Implement easier to use import/export features
  • Migrate from macOS to Linux

Personal

  • Invest more time in self-development and extending my social skills
  • Read at least six new books and finally finish Moby Dick
  • Pick up on learning Haskell
  • Pick up on learning Japanese
  • Pick up on a more intense workout routine
  • Start using VIM more often, maybe try to migrate from Sublime Text (wrote this entry completely in VIM)
categories [journal] · published [2021-01-03] · updated [2021-01-03]