My Quarantine Routine: Isobel, a 46-year-old trying to run a travel company

The travel industry has almost completely collapsed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With countries across the world in lockdown, holidays and trips have been cancelled and we have no idea when it will be possible again.

Isobel McCardie, 46, runs a travel company called Rock My World with her husband Mark.

They live in North Berwick, Scotland, with their dog Mylo and are used to working from home, but since the outbreak started, their business has been turned upside down.

For My Quarantine Routine, Isobel explains how they spent April 15.

7 am

Wake up to my alarm and to Mylo, our Lhasa Apso, shuffling around in his bed.

I’ve recently signed up to online yoga classes which are run by my friend Katy Wakefield.

Lockdown has given me the opportunity to try something new, so when I found out Katy was doing this I decided to give it a bash. Mark is joining me today for the 7.15 am sunrise session in the lounge.

Feeling much more energetic and ready for the day after my yoga session. Head for the shower and get dressed.

After years of working from home, I have (mostly) made the effort to get ready to go to work. Having that structure really helps with motivation and productivity.

Breakfast is a fairly standard affair today and consists of cereal, toast and tea – still a winning combo.

9 am

I’m at my desk ready to start calling clients and work through bookings that have either been cancelled due to travel restrictions, or need rebooked.

It’s a much more arduous process than the joyous experience of booking them, and it’s hard at times to keep upbeat when we are cancelling people’s holidays but I always have a glass is half full approach.

I have always loved travelling, so owning a travel business is a dream come true. It’s a real privilege to help plan and organise our clients dream trips, and I feel part of the whole experience.

Unfortunately, Covid-19 has left us all wondering when we will be able to travel again, so our priority for the moment is to look after our clients’ booked trips, help them understand current restrictions and plan for future holidays.

10 am

It’s time for a freshly brewed coffee before our very own daily ‘COBR Meeting’ over Zoom. As well as running our own business, we mentor a group of travel consultants within our parent franchise.

Since the Covid-19 outbreak, we have a daily briefing with key members of the team to discuss travel developments and action plans that we filter through to our consultants.

Sometimes there are no answers, which can be frustrating, as we have a million obstacles being thrown at us and the goalposts are moving daily! Mark positively reminds me it that is all temporary and we just need to do our best. 

11 am

Back on the phone calling clients and suppliers. We have managed to rebook a few more holidays to Turkey, Borneo and Africa which is a great feeling. 

12 pm

Create a daily post for our Facebook page. Today we are asking our followers to share their dream locations. This is a great way to cheer yourself up during the lockdown, and you can really let your imagination fly. Our favourite country is Italy – we got married there five years ago.

1 pm

Take a break for lunch. I’ve always been a foodie and love cooking, it helps me relax and get my head out of work. Lockdown seems to have amplified this as I spend more time cooking from scratch and making tasty homemade meals.

We have a lot of ‘bits n bobs’ in the fridge so I throw together a frittata. It’s one of my husband’s favourite lunches. 

Have a WhatsApp video call with my mum, dad and auntie, who are all at home isolating as part of the shielding program.

We’ve been very worried for them as they are in the vulnerable category, but I’m proud of how well they’ve been doing so far.

2 pm

Back to work after lunch and it’s time to get through some necessary admin and filling. I do a little chair dance as we’ve just received an enquiry from Facebook for a holiday to Dubai in 2021.

It’s fab to have a break from the admin to do what I love – finding the perfect holiday for my clients. 

3.15 pm

Hubby makes me a cup of tea with a slice of banana bread we made yesterday. Seems everyone on lockdown is making banana bread. Our version is with spelt flour and is super tasty. 

4 pm

The sun has started to shine so we decide to get out for our daily walk with Mylo.

Our house is only five minute’s walk from the beach and a largely deserted golf course. I feel very lucky to be living here and grateful to get out and enjoy the fresh air. 

5 pm

We make it back just in time for the daily government briefing. It’s important for us to keep on top of what is happening around the world but it’s scary to see the scale of what is unfolding day by day.

I am holding out for when we start to see some light at the end of this darkest of tunnels.  

6 pm

Start dinner preparations. I’m sure my hubby will agree – mealtimes have become the biggest pleasure during lockdown and we’ve loved discovering local suppliers.

Today we have some fresh sausages from our local butchers and potatoes from a local veg supplier. Sausage and mash it is! Delicious.

7 pm

Laptops are closed for the day and there are no more calls to make. We catch up with the latest episode of Dragon’s Den.

Tonight’s episode displayed some pretty brutal exchanges from the Dragon’s, but I was impressed with one chap’s business called Thrift + which sells second-hand clothes and gives part of the proceedings to charity. Sara Davies took a punt on him.

8 pm

Have a ‘Covid Catch Up’ with my two school friends on Facetime. I have no idea why we never made video calls prior to lockdown. I love it and will definitely keep them up after all this is over. 

9 pm

Try to read a few chapters of my book on Kindle. I joined a local book group a few months before lockdown, and our last meet up was over Zoom as social distancing had just been introduced.

We haven’t scheduled the next one yet, but it’s likely to happen sooner rather than later, so I better start page-turning.

We’re reading The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell and I’m enjoying it so far.

10 pm

Still reading but getting sleepy, but I’m determined to finish a couple more chapters.

10.30 pm

Fall asleep with the Kindle on my chest. Hubby wakes me up at 10.45 pm and we head to bed.

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