Midweek Interview

Life in the time of COVID-19 with Travellers Choice’s Chris Watson

This week, we chatted with Chris Watson Travel’s main man to find out what’s keeping him sane during self-isolation.

What are you reading?

Dare to Lead by Brene Brown. A great book about leadership, being vulnerable, courage, leading and learning. Brown has many great quotes, amazing ideas and knowledge.

What are you watching?

Heartland. For someone who doesn’t watch much TV, I have been sitting down watching an episode of this most nights with my wife, switching off and not thinking.

What are you listening to?

Music is a huge part of my life, I never listen to just one thing at a time but I have been lucky to be listening to some great new songs written by Ashleigh Dallas, a local Tamworth girl. I have also been listening to a lot of Travis Collins of late.

These two are both favourites in our family, and my kids are always asking for the above or a Melanie Dyer song “Memphis T-shirt”.

What are you cooking?

Cooking is one of my happy places – I love a good barbeque. So, I have been firing up two Webers whenever I can lately with some amazing ribs, smoked meats and fresh organic veggies on the grill. I crank up the tunes, fire up the BBQ and the kids come outside. A perfect afternoon.

How are you staying fit both physically and mentally?

Cooking, watching live music on Facebook and enjoying some online dancing as well. In my downtime, I normally teach line dancing so I have been trying to do the odd bit of dancing and have taken up jogging again.

What’s the one thing keeping you sane?

The one thing… arghhh! I guess really it’s people.

What’s something positive you’ve witnessed or experienced since the coronavirus hit?

In all honesty, it has been the kindness. Seeing work-from-home agents reach out, seeing our Travellers Choice family help each other.

For me in all this craziness, while we have seen some people fighting over toilet paper (and maybe that’s the worst in some) but we have seen some amazing acts of kindness – not just from my fellow Travellers Choice agents, but from across the industry.

I have had numerous calls, I have seen people helping other agencies with workload and I’ve felt the love. It hasn’t been an easy time and we have more of this to still come I fear, but I do believe as an industry we have all experienced growth and strength.

What have you learned about yourself amid the crisis?

Probably that it’s okay to let your guard down, it’s okay to hurt, it’s ok ayto not be strong all the time and to ask for help. But over anything, I have really learnt how important family and friends are because when you do need a hand, these are the first people to be there with their hand out.

Sometimes in our crazy life, travelling, taking groups, working or just being ‘busy’ we aren’t as connected with those around us. I hope that at the end of all of this I remember to stay more connected – switching off from work a bit more, switching the phone off a little more and taking more moments to be with my family and friends. Maybe just maybe something we all get out of this might be a better work-life balance. Who knows.

What’s your advice for others in the travel industry on coping with the crisis?

Don’t give up! Remember why you started in this industry and why you love it.

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