Carrie-Ann Lightley, one of the UK’s premier accessible travel bloggers, says that her livelihood was somewhat taken away from her when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.
Her ‘dream’ trip to Australia, Bali and Singapore was cancelled and suddenly travel – her passion and the thing that paid her bills – was no longer an option.
Writing on the WheelAir website, she said: “I threw myself headfirst into doing everything I could to develop my work and skills during lockdown.
“I worked hard on my blog’s SEO and my social media strategy. I launched a newsletter, and a series of interviews with accessible travel providers about the measures they were putting in place to safely welcome disabled guests post-lockdown.
“I took part in countless podcast interviews and livestream collaborations.
“And yet, the love wasn’t there. I had proved to myself that I could stay relevant, that I could still be seen, and that I still had an engaged audience who wanted information about accessible travel. But what I was truly missing was the travel itself.”
So she decided to get back to travel any way she could, even if that meant staying local.
To anyone else missing travel and fed up of their own four walls, she wrote: “I started off small, with some alternative dog walking routes, remembering my own advice: you can be a tourist in your hometown.
“Sometimes all it takes is a different view, a mindset shift, and you can still get that travel feeling without breaching lockdown restrictions or going very far.
“I worked up to a trip to the nearest seaside with friends for fish and chips.
“Even without leaving the car, the smell of the sea air, the tang of salt and vinegar and the stunning sunset view transported me to a holiday state of mind.”
She also managed a couple of trips within the UK when travel restrictions were eased.
She concluded: “So, what has the pandemic taught me about accessible travel? That it is, and always will be, one of the things I love the most.
“That ‘travel’ can be defined as simply looking at a different view, taking a different route, or slowing down to appreciate your surroundings.
That you definitely don’t have to go far to have an amazing travel experience. And that I’ll never again take travel for granted.”