During COVID lockdown we’re reviving our AM to PM feature which delves into the lives and day-to-day diaries of members of our local business community. It’s great to be nosy and find out how others are coping, structuring their days and getting through these tricky times.
In this post we put the spotlight on Felicia Severns.
Felicia Severns, 42, is the owner/operator of a tailor-made tour operator, Odyssey World. Working online and from her ‘garden HQ’ in Longwell Green, she plots our return to freedom and new adventures ahead.
I’m a life-long night-owl, so when my alarm goes off, I spend the next hour WFB (working from bed) – snoozing, responding to overnight emails from Asia, checking the news and batting away my ragdoll cat’s efforts for attention. True multi-tasking!
I’ve stuck to following Joe Wicks’ PE Workout for 30 minutes on YouTube. It may be designed for kids but it’s hard!! It wakes me up for the day and then I commute the 30ft to my garden office. I’m so thankful for our Odyssey World HQ; it’s a lovely space and as we already run our business as a distributed digital workplace, we have been able to service and communicate with our clients with no interruption.
The travel industry has taken a huge hit, so our day has completely changed. With reduced income and little new revenue stream, I’m working harder than ever. My business partner and I are dealing with months of travel cancelations and re-bookings, and communicating with anxious clients about their upcoming trips. Odyssey World specialises in responsible tailor made travel to exciting destinations, so we’re fortunate in that our lovely clients are always excited to visit the exotic countries they’ve chosen for their holiday, so are eager to rebook as soon as we get the green light to travel.
Sadly, we are seeing first-hand the impact that global lockdown is having on tourism employees and structures the world over. The task for the travel industry is mammoth and over-whelming, so lots of little walks around the garden, phone-calls with friends and peers and blasts of happy music are essential to retain my sanity!
I spend more time than ever reading travel industry news sites, watching webcasts and studying legal frameworks and government policy updates. I scour the articles to see if we’ve been thrown our lifeline. There is no specific support for our industry sector, despite it being one of the worst hit and the Foreign Office continues to advise against travel. The challenges we’re facing were unthinkable just a few months ago. The industry’s response to this crisis has been quite divisive and unfortunately many large travel companies are forced into an impossible position. We’re small enough that we can deal with our clients individually. I try and call as many clients as possible as each situation is so unique and it really does help to speak ‘human to human’ about emotional financial issues.
A typical day now has lots of highs and lows and I need a long walk to digest it all. My partner is back to work in a cycling store, so when he comes home, we walk the pretty green space around our neighbourhood and I tend to talk at him for 30 minutes to vocalise and process everything’s that’s happened that day. He then definitely deserves a beer!
I love cooking and find it really relaxing to crank up the tunes and make dinner alone. After we eat, I check in with family on Facetime, and we settle down, either to a virtual pub quiz, or a few hours of Netflix. We’re currently obsessed with ‘Money Heist’ – a gripping Spanish crime drama with English subtitles. It’s fantastic as you have to focus on something completely different and can’t fiddle with your phone at the same time. I need distraction to stay away from my screens, or I drift back to making plans for my next big travel adventure – hopefully Colombia in November!
Odyssey World has adapted their flexible booking policy and encourages new clients to call and discuss their travel dreams for the future. Call Felicia at the garden HQ on 0117 313 7070 or email Felicia@odyssey-world.co.uk . Or for travel inspiration and fun, follow @odysseyworld on Instagram
Pictured above: Felicia on a past trip to Aruba.
Read our ‘Making memories to remember’ article with Felicia here.