A break from blogging
Hello folks! It has been around a year since I last published a post and wow a lot has happened since then eh? Most prominent is obviously Covid-19, lockdown, restrictions etc.
For me personally its went from a busy Christmas last year with my business Lark & Lily Designs , a few trips in Scotland and one to Mexico in January this year and then to the devastating pandemic, not qualifying for any financial support, loosing 3 family members in 2 months (not to covid) to feeling a bit lost. It has been a big roller coaster.
I feel like our holiday to Cancun in January was a lifetime ago and sipping cocktails by the pool, exploring Chichen Itza and enjoying amazing food. Like many of us that had travel plans this summer and autumn they have been cancelled and postponed so we have been encouraged to staycation safely.
I live in a small town named Wick in the most northerly mainland Scottish county, Caithness. We are lucky to have amazing scenery here, we have had a couple of trips in the Highlands close to home as we didn’t feel too safe venturing out of Scotland. One thing that has been an issue for folk like myself living and working in the Highlands has been the massive volume of camper vans, motorhomes, sports cars and large groups heading up here to ‘do the NC500’. Many campsites chose not to open this season due to the risks of the virus and the high numbers descending all at once means less places for them to set up, camp and dump their waste responsibly.
Irresponsible tourists are always about but with the post lockdown and promotion of staycations it’s been magnified massively. Here in the Highlands we pride ourselves on our warm and welcoming friendly hospitality. But when you are walking your dog, taking a trip to your local park, beach or visiting a local historical site and come across folk pitched up, human waste, wipes, rubbish, abandoned tents, scorched ground and remains of fires it does become frustrating. Folk parking overnight in places they shouldn’t be, blocking croft, farm and home gates, using passing places to piss in (which you can be fined for) or home owners finding rubbish and campervan waste at the bottom of their garden etc. Some are treating the Highlands like it is a festival then leaving all their shite behind when they leave to go home after the weekend. You will always get a minority spoiling it for the majority but this year the minority have arrived in larger numbers and are stretching facilities to the limit.
The highlands are the same size land mass as Belguim but much more sparsely populated. Many of us live around 2.5-3 hours away from the main hospital in Raigmore, it only has a handful of ventilators & since the high influx of tourists we have seen small areas on the West and East Coast have growing covid cases. The roads to get there are packed full of motorhomes, sports car convoys and high volumes of traffic. Which can be problematic on the narrow single track roads on the West Coast. Many have never driven single track or don’t know how to use passing places. We were on our motorbike and had a few near misses with campers, motorhomes and large trucks charging on, not willing to reverse and going far too fast. We arrived at a Achmelvich beach and I was shocked to see people not taking notice of any signs ‘No Parking on grass’. Big trucks and cars all parked up on verges on way to the small car park and congesting the single track roads.
I know this isn’t a problem contained to the Highlands and is happening all over Scotland’s countryside. It has always been a problem since the NC500 was marketed to the masses without thought for the nature and people already here. It just makes me sad that some humans can’t take responsibility and take their rubbish with them, be more courteous on the roads, enjoy and respect nature. I know many folk living in the Highlands are messaging local politicians and trying to get things done to help the situation. Slow sustainable tourism is a big topic right now and something that should be marketed more.
Covid, to me, has really shown how selfish many humans are, how the environment is suffering and the reality is things can’t go on the way they are. It really upsets me reading folks sad experiences online, they try to educate some of the tourists, explain the laws here and often get abuse. We are in the middle of a pandemic and I think many forget that.
Mental Health for many of us has been a struggle during all this too. I think seeing the state of the world on the main stream media outlets is hard, I have tried to reduce my time online and watching the news as it is not helping my mental state at all. I am struggling to find motivation with blogging, my business and other aspects of life. I do think this pandemic has made many of us realise that slowing down is a good thing for our mental health. Disruptions of supply chains, things take longer, it is out of our control and means it is taking longer to do business.
As a small business owner this pandemic has been difficult, stressful and disheartening. Many things were out of my control, I tried not to stress but sometimes when it is related to your income you can’t help it. My anxiety has been at an all time high and my depression has sometimes worsened over some periods of all this. With only a couple of weddings, stockist closed for months & trying to promote myself online it has been tiring and at times I felt why was I even still trying to do this. It can feel lonely and that there is lack of support. I try to support other small businesses online as am not in the position to be buying a lot right now. Some of small businesses I have spoken to have felt similar and we are hoping that this Christmas folk will shop with small and independent businesses over large corporations and with more online events, pop ups etc it will make shopping for gifts even easier.
I have gotten back into reading again after many months of not picking up a book, getting out into nature and learning to rest. We have to look after ourselves mentally and physically. I have learned I enjoy social distancing in respect of being sort of anti-social now. I used to feel I had to go to events, meet ups etc even when I was tired, busy and cramming things in. Learning more self care is something I am happy to bring out of all this. I have enjoyed my time with Mr Mac and our dogs and I am very grateful I had them to get through it all with. I do not think things will go back to high paced norm, I am hoping we can learn to go to a slower norm.
A bit of a random post covering a few areas that are important to me. I know things affect us all differently; how have you been coping during this pandemic?