Guru’Guay’s 2020

2020. Working in the travel sector, you can imagine how we were hit. Guru'Guay chews over the pivots to stay afloat & celebrates Uruguay's 'good' pandemic.
By Karen A Higgs
Last updated on January 5, 2021

It’s been the strangest year, and for some people very painful and difficult. A lot of people are having to spend the holidays alone. If that was your case, know that we are thinking of you.

We were forced to do things that if it hadn’t been for the pandemic we never would’ve done. It seems like a good time to look back and celebrate some of the good that’s come out of it. ❤️

Good things that happened in 2020

January: Guru’Guay is recommended in the New York Times 📰

February: The summer season is going ahead and we don’t have a care in the world…

March: The pandemic is declared in Uruguay on March 13. After wondering what the hell to do, we launch a series of videos –the Uruguay Coronavirus Chronicles– designed to help expats who don’t speak Spanish. The amazing folk in our Discover Uruguay group came together to volunteer and support each other.

April: Tired of seeing New Zealand as the sole poster child for pandemic response in the English language press, The Guru and founder of Guru’Guay, Karen A Higgs, writes her article for Medium ‘There is no place I’d rather be in a pandemic than Uruguay’. Two days later it goes viral in Uruguay. Uruguayans write to say how it made them cry in gratitude for what they have.

May: We decide to go ahead with launching The Guru’Guay Guide to Montevideo audiobook. It’s the first ever long duration audiobook about anything Uruguay related in English in the world.

June: The Guru is interviewed for three of the most popular travel podcasts in the US—Amateur TravelerWe Travel There and her particular favourite, the brilliantly named Extra Pack of Peanuts which had her laughing all the way through. What is interesting was that none of the podcasters want to refer to the pandemic, and that’s the beauty of podcast. They have an eternal lifespan.

July: Following the Medium article, the Uruguayan press is interested to hear more from Guru’Guay’s unique perspective. El País, Uruguay’s oldest newspaper, offers us the entire backpage every other Wednesday to tell the stories of foreigners who have found themselves stuck in the pandemic. The stories touch people’s hearts and make them realise what a compassionate country they live in.

August: The Government of Montevideo puts out a press release endorsing our audiobook.

September: As the pandemic is still very much under control, Uruguayans are out and about on weekends. The beaches and the interior have their best off-season maybe ever. However, as an urban centre, Montevideo is not doing so well. Guru’Guay gets asked to work our magic on locals 😉 The Montevideo tourism board sponsors The Guru to do a travel segment on a popular afternoon radio show listened to all across the Uruguayan coast inviting folks to ‘Discover Montevideo’ through a foreigner’s eyes.

October: After 20 years living in Parque Rodó, The Guru moves to the Old City to a building built by the modernist architect Vilamajó with the most amazing views of the Bay of Montevideo.

November: The International Living franchise does just four conferences this year due to the pandemic and one of them notably is on Uruguay. Karen is invited to be a panellist and talk about the pros and cons of life here.

December: We are going out with a bang—the Guru’Guay website is now in Spanish 🤩🎉 and we were featured in National Geographic Travel, along with some of our foodie Top Picks in Montevideo.

On balance & how you can help

So… 2020 was eventful and challenging. Working in the travel sector primarily with English-speakers, you can all imagine how much we were hit. Hence the pivot to Spanish. We love what we do but it’s not been an easy year.

If you never bought a Guru’Guay guide or you fancy buying a gift for a friend, or listening to the audiobook, you can show your support in a way that will have an immediate impact for us. THANK YOU.

Send yourself or a friend our paperbacks:

You can also help us without spending a bean. Use our free bilingual guide to the best of Uruguay and tell other folks about it, you’ll find it on the homepage. Expats especially will LOVE the handy directory of service providers (from someone to sort out your bad back to someone to fix your Mac). You’ll help us hugely if mention that you found them thanks to Guru’Guay. Please copy and share the link with friends rather than forward the guide if you can—but whatever is easiest for you!

Also, if you’re desperate to get to Uruguay, we have just found out about a way to get here while the borders are still closed—you just need to be able to stay for at least five weeks. This is good for non-residents. Contact us if this is music to your ears!

We hope you have a significantly better 2021.




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