As Governments around the globe impose lockdowns and people self-isolate, COVID-19 has hit the travel industry hard. The World Nomads Travel podcast is suspending its regular destination episodes and, in their place, offering a daily round-up of the major coronavirus-related travel headlines.
00:36 Headlines (at the time of recording)
01:40 Meme makers working overtime
02:43 Jessie Festa
04:27 Jessie’s silver lining
06:28 Working in lockdown
10:00 Next episode
“Nobody's really researching how to travel because we shouldn't be traveling right now. So, there's that which leads to then loss of income with my ads, loss of income with brands, no brands are really working with travel influencers right now” - Jessie
Jessie Festa runs Jessie on a Journey a solo female, offbeat travel blog. Jessie’s goal: to inspire you to live your best life through travel, as well as take your trips #BeyondTheGuidebook for active exploration, unexpected adventures, and transformative travel experiences.
In self-isolation? You can put your time to good use practicing your travel writing skills
You can get in touch with us by emailing email@example.com.
We use the Rodecaster Pro to record our episodes and interviews when in the studio, made possible with the kind support of Rode.
Kim: In this episode, a travel blogger taking a hit financially in the wake of COVID-19, adjusting to working alongside your partner while in lockdown and Thailand gets creative with their travel logo.
Speaker 2: Welcome to the new daily World Nomads podcast. We'll be keeping you up to date with travel alerts, information about coronavirus and sharing some uplifting news infused to inspire you and keep you smiling.
Kim: Hi, it is Kim and Phil shelving our destination episodes to focus on how the coronavirus is affecting the travel industry and we're sharing stories too from nomads affected by it. But Phil, let's kick it off with some headlines and of course this is at the time of recording.
Phil: Okay. The big news is that the UK has gone into full lockdown. Meetings of no more than two people and that the streets are going to be policed to make sure people are doing the right thing, but you are allowed outside to buy food or medication, exercise alone once a day or to travel to work if it is absolutely necessary.
Phil: An airport officer in the U.S. has tested positive for coronavirus. He's home now. And the tourism authority of Thailand has been very creative and temporarily redesigned the logos for international and domestic tourism reminding foreign and Thai tourists to maintain social distance.
Phil: Can we call it physical distancing please Kim because I think we all still need to remain social. I'm going to change that. The physical distancing, okay?
Kim: Not a problem you have editorial control here.
Phil: Thank you very much. And we'll put those logos in the show notes.
Kim: Now just like the TAT people are getting creative with those logos, meme makers are in absolute overtime.
Phil: And I'm loving some of them. They are so funny.
Kim: There are some really funny ones around at the moment on social. Now we talked yesterday, tongue in cheek of course about the divorce rate going up when the pandemic is over. But I like this meme. It reads, "Prediction. There will be a minor baby boom in nine months and then one day in 2033 we shall witness the rise of the quarantines."
Phil: The quarantines.
Kim: It's true.
Phil: I like that one, yeah. A Variation on that one, a friend of mine posted, he said, "Can you please be sure to use protection? I can't afford all the baby presents in nine months."
Kim: And what about the nail artist who has glued fake nails to surgical gloves so she can flaunt her nails and stay protected? Look, it is not essentially travel news, but I like that anyway. So have you got anything else for me, Phil?
Phil: Just one more thing. Eritrea in Africa has reported its first case of coronavirus. So that one's off the list now as well. Okay.
Kim: Jessie Festa runs Jessie on a Journey but like everyone else, she isn't going too far at the moment. So how is she feeling about being stuck in, does she recognize the irony given the name of her blog Phil?
Jessie: Yeah, it's funny I've said that in the past too because this is definitely one of the biggest journeys of my life. But I've kind of always said, it's a travel journey but it's also like me growing as a person and kind of going through different challenges that present themselves. And like I just said, this is definitely going to be one of the biggest.
Kim: All right, well let's unpack that then. We'll talk about travel first. Now this is huge for you because there's loss of income that comes with having a travel blogging business.
Jessie: Yeah. So for me, there's a few. One, there's the loss of traffic, which happens. It felt like almost instantly, honestly it was like everything was fine and then suddenly it was just like bam! Like a huge traffic drop. Nobody's really researching how to travel because we shouldn't be traveling right now. So there's that which leads to the loss of income with my ads, loss of income with brands, no brands are really working with travel influencers right now because of a lot... And the other thing is actually a lot of travel affiliates have paused paying. So all that affiliate income has gone as well.
Jessie: And then on the other side of things, one way I monetize is I sell tours in New York City. I have a photo tour company that's part of my blog. And March was pretty much a hundred percent cancellation and I had one tour like March 1st that was right before this all got pretty crazy. But yeah, everything else was canceled. And then at this point we don't know what the next few months are going to look like. So I'm not betting on getting that income.
Jessie: The one good thing for me is that I also monetize with selling travel blogging courses. And I do think now is a good time for people to sort of like refocus, maybe get some new skills. And I think people are looking at it that way. So even though I have had a membership, a number of people did kind of cancel. They're having a loss of income too. I totally get that. But I've also been seeing people join because they're sort of taking this time to do that. So for me personally, that's been a little bit of a saving grace that I have diversified in that way. But with the travel side of things, pure travel, oof. Yeah, it's not good.
Kim: So how long did it take you when you sat down on the couch, presuming, I'm painting my own picture. And you thought about all these arms to Jessie on a Journey, when did you see the silver lining?
Jessie: Yeah, so for me, both of the products I have my courses, I have a number of courses, but we'll just say, the travel blogging school and my tours, those things are things I never thought I would do when I first started Jessie on a Journey in 2011. They both came from listening to my audience and just kind of keeping track of the questions that were being asked. I had so many people asking me to show them around New York and then I was like, okay, how can I diversify or do something different than what's already out there? Oh, I'm a photographer.
Jessie: So that's how the photo tours came to be. And the same with the blogging courses. I just had so many people asking me how they could do this full time like I was doing, that I just got the idea that way. So it's really kind of by accident that I'm in this position right now where I at least do have the courses to help me. I could never have foreseen this exact situation happening. But yeah, I don't think anyone could have.
Kim: Now you're also in this situation, which is very similar to me, small apartments. I'm in Manly in Sydney, Australia. You're in Manhattan in New York with your partner working from home at the same time as you are. We're in this situation as well. So there are challenges there.
Jessie: Yes. So not only are we learning how to work from home together, I mean I'm used to this. I've been working from home or out of cafes since 2011. But we're living in working in essentially one room together. We don't have a house where we're walking, one's upstairs, one's downstairs. We're in the same room. So it's been challenging so far. I mean, we're only a week in. It's been okay because we're sort of like respectful of each other's space. He's a teacher, so sometimes he needs to do recordings. So I'll try to go in the bedroom and then vice versa. So we're trying to just adapt to each other's schedules.
Jessie: One other thing is we just adopted a cat today, which is just like this added layer of something we need to now figure out. On one hand I'm kind of like, Oh my goodness, but on the other I just felt like right now with everything going on, it just felt like, I don't know, something positive to put our energy into.
Kim: What would you message be to people, you said you started Jessie on a Journey in 2011 you know you've got nine years of experience under your belt. What would you be saying to other travel bloggers or people in the industry at the moment?
Jessie: Yeah, so I would say that instead of obviously most of us are going to panic a little bit, totally normal, but this also is an opportunity to A, connect with your audience. They're going to be feeling stressed and anxious and overwhelmed as well. So trying to be there for them, seeing what they need. One thing I've done is I emailed my community and I offered to send postcards to them. I'm actually sitting in bed right now filling them out just to add a little bit of joy and sort of like bring travel to them in a way. So just figuring out what that might mean for your audience.
Jessie: Maybe that means also sending some videos. Like I created just a short video for my audience saying that I was there for them. I just felt like being on video was a little bit more connective, I guess would be the word. And then the other thing is tweaking your content plan. If you were planning on publishing an ebook about how to travel Europe or you're trying to publish all these things to do in destination X guides. I mean that's not really what people are needing right now. Of course there's going to be people planning for future trips, but you really want to be thinking about what you could do now to help them.
Jessie: Maybe it's like right now I'm doing a post on how to create like a staycation experience, right in your apartment, whatever your niche is. If you usually cover travel wellness, maybe now you talk about how you could turn your home into like a wellness retreat. I don't know, I'm just thinking off the top of my head, but pivoting a bit. And then the other thing, now, as I said before, a lot of affiliates in the travel sphere are pausing payouts. So you also will probably want to think about some affiliates that you could work with that are not in the travel industry.
Jessie: One example, I'm an affiliate for Yoga Download and they're a virtual yoga studio basically. They have over a thousand classes. Through March, they're doubling their commissions. So outside of the travel sphere, you can still have some luck with other affiliates who are still paying. So think about what affiliates you love, what affiliates would help your audience and try to join some new programs.
Kim: Absolutely love that idea of the postcards Jessie, just beautiful. Now the next episode, a couple of upbeat nomads making the most of being stuck in Bunas Ellie's.
Phil: While joining in on that positivity, a 95-year-old grandmother or Nona has become the oldest Italian to beat the deadly virus. Go, Nona!
Kim: Yeah. How good is that? That is good news. Great way to finish. See you tomorrow. Bye.
Speaker 2: The World Nomads podcast. Explore your boundaries.