Scotland

Coronavirus: How do you write a travel blog during lockdown?

Kay beside a loch Image copyright Kay Gillespie
Image caption Kay is urging people not to travel and to "dream of Scotland" instead

Kay is a full-time travel writer and her income relies on her ability to get out and about but she is currently social distancing on her own in her flat in Leith.

The coronavirus lockdown restrictions meant her work dried up overnight.

"It was a very worrying situation to see my upcoming work completely disappear," she says. "I'm a one-man band - I don't have a team to manage my business so when something unprecedented like this happens, there's nothing to fall back on but yourself."

Like other writers, Kay has now turned her blog, The Chaotic Scot, into a forum for lockdown advice. Curating tips for staying at home has become her new normal.

"I've created a community from my writing," she says. "It's only right that we continue to look out for each other despite all being grounded. We are isolating, but I'm trying my best to make sure we're not lonely."

The UK's coronavirus restrictions will last until "at least" 8 May and probably far beyond in some form.

The hashtag #StayHomeSaveLives has been widely circulated on social media to encourage people to follow these restrictions.

Image copyright Kathi Kamleitner
Image caption "We have a responsibility to be sending the right message," Kathi says

Kathi Kamleitner is an Austrian travel blogger who moved to Scotland in 2013.

She thinks bloggers have a particular role to play in this pandemic.

"Your readers come to you for advice, and for the most part they trust you to give them correct and useful information," Kathi says.

"Encouraging people to think about ways to travel more responsibly and sustainably once this is all over is key messaging too."

Image copyright Kathi Kamleitner
Image caption Kathi's blog 'Watch Me See' documents her travels around Scotland

But should that responsibility include pressing pause on the types of blogs designed to make people want to leave the house?

"You're going against every instinct to not promote Scotland, which really is my reason for getting out of bed in the morning," says Neil Robertson of the 'Travels with a Kilt' blog.

Neil is used to writing all about Scotland but due to the lockdown, he is currently having to self-isolate for at least 12 weeks in Belgium.

Image copyright Neil Robertson
Image caption "You're going against every instinct to not promote Scotland," Neil says

"This came at the worst possible time," he says. "For Scotland, tourism pretty much dies over the winter and only starts picking up in March.

"The vast majority of planned projects will have now been cancelled or postponed, no-one is looking for freelance articles and blog content schedules will have had to be reset as a consequence."

The knock-on effects of this pandemic are largely unknown and relatively unpredictable. However, Neil thinks that the impact on tourism levels will be lasting.

"I wouldn't be at all surprised if we are facing two to three years before returning to previous tourism levels - although I hope it will be sooner of course," he says.

Image copyright Neil Robertson
Image caption Neil predicts that our travel habits will change because of the lockdown

"People's travel habits will change, as well as how much they are willing to spend," Neil says. "We could even be looking at virtual reality becoming a feasible alternative to hopping on a plane."

Some bloggers have chosen to aim to strike the balance between promotion and advice.

"People don't really know me - they know my dog Casper," says Sam, the human face behind 'Scotland with the Wee White Dug'.

Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Sam and Casper are looking forward to getting out and about again

Since lockdown she has been reminiscing about her past travels, as well as using her platform to promote future travel.

"We shouldn't be encouraging travel, but we owe it to small businesses around the country to not take our feet off the pedal, " says Sam.

"I feel like it's my duty to keep these things going."

'Armchair tourism'

"I've been taking people on journeys from their homes. From the beaches of Colonsay to the Isle of Tiree - a spot of armchair tourism," Sam says.

As for Casper, it seems he is content in staying local.

"It's safe to say he's blissfully unaware of what's going on right now."

Image copyright Sam Grant
Image caption Casper is still enjoying his walks - even if they are closer to home

For some, the prospect of a trip away may be further away than others. Emma is a travel and disability blogger - she is in the 'high risk' category, and following advice to shield for 12 weeks.

"I miss having the freedom to go out, and I can't see my family. That's been really hard," she says.

Emma has muscular dystrophy which is a muscle-wasting condition that involves needing a wheelchair to get around.

A lot of her blog is aimed at accessible travel for other people with disabilities.

Image copyright Emma Muldoon
Image caption Emma now finds that she shares some common ground with all of her readers

Recently, she has posted tips on how to stay healthy during lockdown.

"It seems as if myself and all of my readers now have found some common ground in this lockdown - I'm not going out, and neither are they," Emma says.

"My blog raised awareness of conditions like mine before. Now, I think it puts a human face to those who are 'high-risk'.

"Your choice to not social distance may have huge consequences for people like me."