Guides for people looking to build a profitable online business including how to start a blog, niche site or move an offline business online, tips for working from home, and how to monetise and create funnels.
Are you bored of boring Zoom backgrounds? We are, too, so we’ve created a selection of popular Zoom wallpapers for you to download.
Just right-click your Zoom background of choice and save it to your phone or computer.
Topics include home office backgrounds, hobby themed backgrounds, funny backgrounds for social calls, and holiday Zoom backgrounds such as Christmas, Hallowe’en, July 4th, Juneteenth and Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
The styles vary from 3D backgrounds, images and cute graphics. Which is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!
Staying in but still want to be social or planning a work event and need virtual Zoom games to impress? Here are 30 games you can play on Zoom and other conference call apps. All you need is a video calling device, audio, a pal and the occasional prop. So let’s take a look at the best virtual games to play on Zoom and how to play them.
Before we dive in, we wanted to let you know that we’ve created a series of virtual online games so all you have to do is purchase, download and play!
Zoom games come in a whole variety of types, can be played with one other player or huge groups and last anything between 10 minutes to a full day or night. Let’s find out more…
Note: We (Gemma and Craig) will keep adding to this post when we discover more light-hearted activities to play over the screen so bookmark this page and keep coming back. Have any online games to play on Zoom that you want to add to our guide? Email us gemma[at]twoscotsabroad.com.
Fun Games to Play on Zoom with Friends & Colleagues
We have identified which games can be played with family, the best options for co-workers and the online games to play with friends. The latter being a little cheekier!
1. Name in the Bag/Guess Who?
You know that popular Christmas Day game where you put the celeb names on post-it notes and stick it on someone’s head?
Then your loved one has to guess who it is?
Well, Name in the Bag is not just for Christmas!
You have to be creative and turn the game around a little by choosing a celebrity for the player.
Don’t let the player see who they are until they’ve guessed correctly or run out of guesses!
There is the popular app version called Heads Up which you can download on Android and on Apple but it might be a little fast-paced for video call software.
While all of the below ideas are not specifically Zoom games for adults, we do have a dedicated guide for kids.
2. A Day In Paris For Paris Fans – Travel Zoom Games For All
This game has been hugely popular with families looking for an alternative group virtual tour.
The one-hour Zoom tour is led by an experienced guide who whisks the group off to the City of Lights and throws in challenges along the way.
I got my pals together and joined a call to test it out and it is a hoot. Our virtual guide was Herbert (‘erber), not only was he knowledgeable about Paris he knew lots about our home countries which made us feel really connected.
He plays on the typical stereotypes but also tears them and throws in local tips for your future itinerary.
He’s not a fan of Emily in Paris, the Netflix show, as it is too cliché he says. I feel you all judging our cliché outfits below!
You can ask your guide anything about Parisian culture, no question is too out there.
If you want to learn more about Parisian culture, visit the city’s beautiful attractions and have a laugh with your coworkers or friends and family then this tour is for you.
It lasted just over 60 minutes, you book the best time when you sign up and it is delivered via Zoom and Zoom breakout rooms. Book your spot here.
Companies have been using this team-building game for onboarding new members of staff when they can’t meet in person. A lighthearted icebreaker!
Herbert and the team also tell me that their Paris tour is being used as an option for a Zoom conference virtual after party so if you are in charge of the social activities after your virtual event, this could be it!
So whether you are planning a night in, virtually, with pals or a work event, it relevant to both audiences.
Here’s me, in the hat, and my pals pulling our best ‘Parisian smile’. Get ready to strike a pose! Are you booking a tour? Tell me in the comments below.
3. The Trip, Played On Zoom With Host Or Self-Hosted
The Trip is a puzzle game created by 100 Point Challenge.
If like us you are dreaming of faraway places that you can’t get to right now, then The Trip is the game for you!
The Trip is about connecting, collaborating and solving your way around the world – one puzzle at a time.
The game begins with a master puzzle and then ten smaller mind bending problems to solve – a fun mix of visual problems, word puzzles, riddles, and number games.
Each of the problems gives you a clue towards reaching the final destination and completing the game.
Honestly, the final master puzzles are crafty!
This is the perfect group game for those who like puzzles, riddles, and other kinds of challenges that require a little bit of wit and some friendly competition.
It can be played on Zoom but also on other platforms like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, Webex and Skype.
There are two ways to play The Trip.
The facilitated game is hosted for you by experienced online game facilitators from the 100 Point Challenge.
This is ideal for virtual work events and meetings where you can bring in an external facilitator who will lead you and your team through how to play the game, and take care of all the event logistics for you.
Prices start at $189 (and save 10% using the code “2SCOTS”) and they can cater to large groups. Find out more here.
The 100 Points team has facilitated games for 6 and 200 people at one time, using multiple facilitators.
However, most people play in teams of 4-5 with the added time-based competition, where large groups play together.
Although it costs slightly more than the self-facilitated version, they take care of all the event logistics which take the pressure off you and you can also play the game yourself.
Then there is also a DIY version which requires you or someone from your group to take charge.
The self-facilitated version of The Trip is priced at $49 (and save 10% using the code “2SCOTS”).
With this, you get access to an online game platform with a video walkthrough explaining how to deliver the game and all the instructions needed. Find out more here.
I have played three of 100 Points Challenge online games, The Puzzle (review below), The Riddle and now The Trip.
We managed to smash through the challenges that The Puzzle and The Riddle presented at around the 40 minutes mark but The Trip beat us!
Slightly embarrassing considering what I do for a job.
Nonetheless, the night was a success and my friends enjoyed the travel-themed rounds.
Can you do it in under 40 minutes?
This is the ideal online party game for people who love to travel.
4. The Puzzle – Best Games to Play on Zoom with Coworkers
The Puzzle is a challenge game created by 100 Points Challenge.
The game is predominantly a team-building challenge played among friends and colleagues in remote settings.
There are ten rounds of puzzles and a ‘master puzzle’ which teams have to work out to win.
The Puzzle can be time-sensitive (40 minutes) if you want to add some heat.
There are two ways to play.
Firstly, self-facilitated (DIY) where one member of the team takes the lead, records the scores and keeps the time.
This is the cheapest option at $49 (and save 10% using the code “2SCOTS”).
All you need is an email address where the instructions and documents are sent to.
The facilitator needs around 20 minutes before you play to read over the information and to get preapred to host.
Use the share screen function on the likes of Zoom to explain the game and then share a unique link to the puzzle game page with all the players.
This DIY option is popular for companies wanting to keep their event in-house or families and friends looking for a virtual gathering.
The second option is to pass the host responsibility over to the 100 Points Challenge team.
This costs from $179 (and save 10% using the code “2SCOTS”), depending on your group size. To purchase you just need to reserve a date here.
The facilitator will talk all team members through how to play the game and ensure everyone gets involved.
This is most popular with companies, since there is a team building element making it one of the best games to play on Zoom with coworkers.
I played The Puzzle with six friends so we decided to take the team element out of it and work through the puzzles together.
It took us around 45 minutes to complete and although a few puzzles were worked in within seconds, the team still struggled to figure out the mater puzzle for a long time.
I’m keen to play again with the team element and time constraint added.
100 Points Challenge know what they are doing having worked with giants such as Google, Spotify and Ikea.
Customer service is speedy too, I had to ask a question about the master puzzle an hour before we played and the team got back to me quickly.
This was a welcomed change to our normal pub quiz style Zoom chat and I think it would be one of the better online team games for work too.
5. A Christmas Puzzle
The makers of the hugely popular online challenge, The Puzzle (see below), have created a new Christmas game for Zoom!
A Christmas Puzzle is a team problem-solving challenge that aims to bring groups of people together, whether that be coworkers, friends, or family, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year celebrations.
It’s not only popular with companies, lots of families have been getting together, virtually, through this challenging yet fun game.
There is no need to download anything for A Christmas Puzzle as the challenge is set online.
All you need to do is choose a time, invite the gang, set an additional Christmas jumper challenge, and engage your brain while your facilitator leads you through the fun! That’s Craig and I (Two Scots Abroad) in the second window, I’m wearing red.
Your group will be divided up into teams that compete against each other in breakout rooms before coming back into the main room to find out who has won!
There are a series of 10 puzzles to tackle before cracking the overall ‘master’ puzzle. You can use Google search for the master puzzle only so it really does bend your brain during the challenge.
Tasks include visual questions, riddles and problem-solving questions. It’s really fun!
The facilitator-led A Christmas Puzzle Zoom game starts at $180.00 and all you need to do next is book a time slot here.
This is the most popular option with companies.
If you’d prefer to be in control of the game, there is a self-facilitated version of A Christmas Puzzle priced at $49 which is purchased here.
This version is most popular with families but do consider that one member will be the host so they will miss out of the action. Or, if you’ve got FOMO, like me, you can do what I did and not look at the answers so you can join in too.
The game itself is a 40-minute time-based competition but the facilitated version schedules a 1 hour – 1 hour and 15 minutes call in total for the game session.
This includes time for a quick warm-up, rule explanation and time to go through the answers at the end.
The majority of teams are able to solve The Christmas Puzzle (or get close) in approx. 35-40 minutes.
I rallied up the troops and played A Christmas Puzzle to try it out for this guide.
While we were heavy eye-rolling at starting up Zoom call quizzes again after a five month break, we all agreed it was really nice to get together again, with a festive twist.
Like with original The Puzzle below, we decided to play as one team. I didn’t look at the answers which meant I could play along too.
It is doable but if you are playing with work you will definitely want to add the competitive team element!
This game is a really nice way to celebrate Christmas together without leaving the home and it is ideal for companies who are planning a virtual Christmas party!
6. Online Cook Club With Authentic Italian Chef
If you are looking for more than just virtual games to play on Zoom, set up your device in the kitchen and chat while making a dish.
Why not learn from an actual chef in Italy?
There’s a two-hour pasta making class online with Nonna Live.
Just select a date for your live stream lesson with an authentic Italian cook.
Not only are you learning new skills and creating a meal to eat, but you are also supporting a local business that can’t do in-person lessons.
Nonna Nerina is an 84-year old grandmother offering virtual cooking classes. How cool is that?
When Nonna is not available, her granddaughter, Chiara, takes the class so you are in good hands regardless.
Each day there is a specific meal in focus so if you enjoy making live lasagne why not try gnocchi?!
Here’s a review:
“I am a Chef from the USA and this is exactly what I wanted. I specialize in pasta and even I got to learn about how to make pasta by hand. This is geared towards people who have never made pasta from scratch but it’s a fantastic experience nonetheless.” ~ Zachery, USA.
That’s not all! For every class, Nonna Live will provide a warm meal to a child in need.
They have partnered with local non-profits to provide underprivileged children access to nutritional food.
Millions of children face hunger every day, and Nonna Live is committed to ensuring children everywhere don’t go to sleep hungry.
So you can book your online pasta-making class live from Italy here and know you are donating to charity too.
Looking for an international tour? Check out these tours from home around Rome, Venice and New York.
Looking for a Christmas Zoom quiz? I created this festive quiz which you are free to use.
The link will prompt you to create your own copy.
The quiz has four rounds and includes:
Christmas Movie Round
Christmas Song Emoji Round (my fave)
Christmas Songs Double Speed Intro
Christmas Charades, Pictionary or Act It Out
Let me know you if you use it!
23 *Insert Word* Bingo
Like the traditional game of bingo?
You will need cards and a dabber but unlike the normal game, you put on a TV show, film or maybe a crap political speech that currently happens daily and using your pre-arranged bingo boards you cross off words as they are said.
We used to do this at uni during election party leader televised talks. Aye, I’m cool.
How to win
Complete a line – cross off an answer in each box in a line across you card
Full House – cross off all boxes on you card
Or just play everyday bingo. Here are the cards UK / US.
Pinterest has printable cards for lots of themes here
Quick Do It Yourself Online Bingo
I used to play this with the kids at school to start a lesson or test knowledge.
Create a box with three up and three along.
Provide more terms than boxes so in this case, more than nine terms.
Individuals choose terms and add to boxes.
You call out the definition (not the term) and the contestants then score off when they’ve guessed the correct term.
♥ News just in! The world-famous Bongo’s Bingo is kicking off bingo in the house! Check for dates and times here.
I went with pals to a Glasgow event and it’s wild. 90’s music + bingo = fun!
Me, Gemma, winning at bingo and a tad tipsy!
24. Host a Kid’s Zoom Party
How do I keep a group of toddlers entertained through a screen? How do I stop them all speaking at the one time?
Are you having a panic attack thinking about how to host a kid’s party on Zoom?
You are not alone! I’ve even had a professional kids entertainer get in contact asking for ideas.
I asked around my social circle and here are the top tips for hosting.
Make use of the waiting room before allowing everyone into the main Zoom chat party
Speak to every kid individually to create a quick connection before the entertainment kicks off
The mute button is your best friend, ask another adult to help you out
Keep the games short
Use the “spotlight” function on Zoom to highlight kids
Fun Games to Play at a Kids Zoom Party
The Hokey P/Cokey
Teach a simple dance
Scavenger hunt with clues
Alphabet scavenger hunt where kids find items beginning with letter A and so on
Basically any game can be transformed into a virtual version with a little bit of imagination. Knit club, fight club, dance club whatever your vibe just please remember to include everyone, especially those who are vulnerable to loneliness during this challenging time and don’t assume the loudest in the group is fine. The extroverts will be finding this change hard too. Stay safe, have fun, tag me @twoscotsabroad
Many of these Zoom games for adults can be adapted to for kids too! Tell me below if you’re using them.
Bookmark this guide to games to play over Zoom by pinning
Please share your ideas in the comments below or talk to me/tag me in your pics on social media @twoscotsabroad
» Looking to get lost in travel inspiration? Start here.
Note: We can’t guarantee the safety of apps discussed in this guide.
Disclaimer: I was personally invited to try my partner’s games to provide a first-hand experience for you. This includes Paris For a Day, The Puzzle, The Riddle, The Trip, The Potter Trail, and The Escape Game.
Looking for tips on how to stay fit while working from home? Working online, TV apps and games to play on Zoom – the temptation to move from designated office chair to dreamy sofa then off to bed can be strong! Most people WFH like myself need some helpful advice on things to get them moving throughout the day to help keep the weight off, mind healthy and motivation rolling.
Stay Fit While Working From Home Tips
Here are some things that have helped me, a digital content creator who works from home, create some balance when it comes to keeping fit.
If you’re looking for general working from home tips, click here.
1. Create a WFH Routine and Stick to it
Even if you don’t have to clock on for work, commit to a wake-up time and create an achievable routine to stick before you switch on your laptop or even check your phone.
Shower, get ready, switch on a tracking app or fitness watch, enjoy breakfast such as oats and fruit, overnight oats, eggs, or yoghurt and fruit then do some exercise.
This could be a morning walk and/or your designated exercise time.
Now that I work out at home, I prefer to work out after walking the dog in the morning. When I attended classes, I did this just before dinner.
Find a rhythm that works for you. The key is to create an achievable morning routine that you want to wake up to and can also stick to.
Don’t beat yourself up if you struggle to do it for the first while but do keep trying.
2. Plan Meals and Go Grocery Shopping
Most weeks, I plan my meals and do a big grocery shop once a week.
If I leave working out what to eat until the last minute I end up eating junk food.
Candy, chocolate, white bread – I am obsessed with sugar and have to keep this under control to help maintain a healthy working from home/keeping fit and happy balance.
When WFH pants are getting a tad uncomfortable, consider tracking what you are eating using a free app such as MyFitnessPal.
You can add meals so if you go for a similar breakfast each morning you don’t have to repeat food items every day.
If you’d prefer guidance on what you should be eating to see steady weight loss, consult a nutritionist or health professional to help guide you on how to use a weight loss app best.
Some nutritionists have online consultations which means you don’t have to carve travel time into your day to meet with them once a week or month, ideal for those WFH.
4. Find an Exercise That Gets You Moving
Everyone differs when it comes to exercise and luckily for us, there are heaps of options when it comes to finding ways to move that are fun.
You don’t have to buy into the fad exercise of the month even if everyone on social media is doing it!
When we find something we like, we are more likely to commit to it and it’s totally OK to try other things out to keep your new exercise routine fresh and exciting.
There are lots of free ways to try exercise classes on YouTube.
Consider the following kinds for WFH classes:
Low Intensity Training (LIT) – don’t have weights? Start with tins!
High Intensity Training (HIT)
Take a break and get outdoors with the following:
If you are willing to invest in exercise, it is worth checking out personal trainers (PTs) in your area or online.
If you put money where your mouth is, there is a good chance of sticking to it.
PTs are a great option for beginners who need shown the ropes (literally) and are looking to build their confidence.
Advanced exerciser fans use PTs to push themselves when they begin to plateau.
5. Invest in Fitness Trackers and Watches
Analytics and data will become your keep fit best friend!
Watches such as the Apple Watch US / UK or Fitbit (US / UK) track your steps, exercises and can connect with other users so if your friends use the same tracker, you can keep each other company and motivated!
I have reviewed both the Fitbit and Apple Watch and personally prefer the Apple Watch.
Its technology feels more sophisticated, the connection between other Apple devices is seamless and you can also do other neat actions such as take a photo or receive calls.
With Apple Watch you may receive free access to Apple Fitness for a period of time which is a bank of exercise classes recorded in LA featuring classes such as HIT, dance, core and strength.
New classes are updated each week.
What is really cool is how your Apple device knows to connect to your Apple Watch when you start a class on Apple Fitness.
This reminds you to put on your watch and start the exercise app on it.
The Apple Fitness screen reflects the data on your wrist. Crazily sophisticated syncing!
Don’t get me wrong, the Fitbit is pretty and tracks movement but the Apple watch feels more robust and capable.
The only downside to the Apple Watch is having to charge it most nights however, you get attractive bedside charges which double up as alarm clocks or phone, watch, earphone combo chargers.
6. Use Social Media Apps During Social Times Only
If picking up the phone to check social media apps is your morning magnet, be strict on yourself and only allow social checks during social hours such as morning breaks, lunch and after you switch off for the day.
Switch on app usage and screen time stats to assess how often you are using your device and consider what else you could do in that time like moving!
Consider purchasing an alarm clock if switching your phone alarm off is too tempting. TikTok can wait! Your healthy routine is more important.
Do you have friends using fitness watches/activity trackers? Why not connect through the device and keep each other motivated!
If you want your in-house staff members and remote teams to feel more tight knit than ever, virtual team building activitiesare the way to go. These games will help you leverage enthusiasm, vision, and purpose by bringing people together for some crowd-pleasing activities.
Team building games for remote workers strengthen communication skills to emphasize a shared identity in any organization. This is even more necessary now due to social distancing and people working from home so that nobody is left feeling isolated and unsupported.
Here is a list of the best strategically designed premium and free virtual team building games that will have your employees roaring with laughter and engagement to boost motivation. All you need is Zoom or Loom to start having fun today.
Looking for a trivia quiz that’s ready to go? Check out our quiz store for our decades’ quizzes.
Purchase, download and host. It’s as easy as that.
Virtual Team Building Activities For All
1. Rose and Thorn Icebreaker
This is one of the best team building games for large groups to serve as an opening icebreaker so that people can get to know each other better.
Each person should get a minute to share their rose statement (anything that makes them feel happy or grateful) and their thorn (a challenge they are currently facing).
For example, a person may say that their rose is starting a new position at the firm or a place at college and the thorn might be not getting to meet people face to face.
Or their rose might be getting a Peleton bike for Christmas and the thorn is getting over the fear of starting classes!
As an employer or team leader, this team building game will provide plenty of insights into people’s lives, especially with things they usually may not share during meetings.
More examples for roses (grateful) – thorns (challenge):
Latest iPhone – fear of breaking or losing it
New haircut – styling it can be hard
Training for marathon – hitting that wall
Instant Pot gift – how on fiery pressure steam ‘ell do you use it
There is also a ‘pruning’ follow up. Team leaders or fellow members could offer up support suggestions.
It’s also a nice way for members to connect with each other in future…
Hey, Laura! How is the new veg patch coming along? Did you manage to fix your soil problem?
Share your rose and thorn icebreaker experiences below in the comments!
If you are a team leader, this might be your favorite game for large groups to get to know everyone and discover random facts about them.
This can also be one of the best fun staff meeting ideas with the theme “About Me.”
You can ask each person questions such as what food they would eat for the rest of their lives, their favorite holiday destination, or even ask about what movie they love and why.
The answers to these questions may also help you organize incentives for top employees in the future.
Alternatively, you can also collect everyone’s responses (only keeping the players’ names to yourself) and encourage the whole team to guess who the displayed answer on the screen belongs to.
This also works with baby pictures. Want more of these quick trivia style ideas? Check out our guide here.
7. Virtual Show and Tell Icebreaker
When it comes to virtual team building games, this is one of the most exciting choices.
Each Zoom attendee can have 5 minutes to present an item that means a lot to them and explain its uniqueness.
For example, someone can show the audience and discuss their favorite book and why they love it so much.
Or they can show off a souvenir they brought home from their most recent holiday abroad.
Examples may include:
A Two Scots Abroad freelancer pulled out a trumpet and played My Heart Will Go On during this task.
A ‘wow’ moment.
A year before committing to full time blogging, Gemma had worked alongside the freelancer as a teacher and never knew he played the trumpet!
These virtual challenges give opportunity for team members to open up in a safe space.
Team leaders need to create a community which ensures trust beforehand for these types of activities to work well however, the show and tell props give quieter members something to hide behind and a focus to talk about.
It can also curb the more outgoing members of the group from consuming all of the space too. Win win.
Four cheeses and three wines are delivered overnight to participants and a Parisian guide talks attendees through the history, culture and funny stories about wine and cheese from France.
8. Show and Tell Photography
This game is like the above mentioned, but this time everybody must take a single snapshot of something meaningful and talk about why they chose to photograph that specific subject.
Everyone can have 5 minutes each to use their smartphones and take a picture of their desk space, children, pets, favorite outfit, or anything they are fond of and want to share with the team.
After the game, you can have everyone send you their photos to create a digital collage that can be emailed to each participant as a memento.
Make sure to gush about everybody’s pictures equally and ask questions to let them know that you are paying attention to all their creative ideas.
Otherwise, people may not feel motivated enough to participate in future virtual games.
9. Virtual Escape Room Adventures
This is one of the best paid virtual team building games for groups of 4 or more.
For 60 minutes, players can collaborate to do an online escape room and solve a series of exciting puzzles.
The Escape Game Remote Adventures boost teamwork and communication skills because everyone is stuck in the same tricky scenario and must bounce ideas and listen to each other to play the game correctly.
There will be a live camera feed showing the room, and participants will have to look around to find clues and try to escape within the time limit.
The Escape Game costs approximately $30 per player, but it is worth the money because it is one of the most fun and unique virtual team-building experiences you can invest in.
Shipra is an extrovert who loves all kinds of virtual games, which is why she has picked her favorite ones for your teams to enjoy as well. She will come to work for your company just to play the virtual Escape Room.
There’s no denying that things have been tough in tourism this year. At times I’ve wondered what’s the point especially, with VisitScotland data predicting that 2019 levels of tourist activity are unlikely to return until 2023.
This week, things were looking particularly bleak with the early dark nights, trodden autumn leaves on the ground and grey tones taking over blues skies, but then an email dropped into my inbox that brightened up my miserable puss…
I’m one of Scotland’s Top 100 Women in Tourism!
What’s really lovely about this announcement is that someone in the industry nominated me.
Thank you to Susan Russell, Chair of Women In Tourism who popped into my inbox to tell me I’d made it to the Top 100 Women in Tourism.
Hiya, I’m Gemma Armit from The Kingdom of Fife, and the owner of Two Scots Abroad. The other Scot is my husband Craig. He doesn’t do anything for TSA bar occasionally looking good in front of the lens for me.
Craig and I met in 2012 and pretty soon into our relationship decided that we wanted to travel together.
In 2013 we tested the waters with a 5-week trip to Southeast Asia. Since we survived sipping Slings in Singapore, hiking Sapa in Vietnam, swimming in rooftop pools in Cambodia and a massage from a prisoner in Thailand we decided to plan a bigger trip together.
Over the next two years we worked hard, lived by the ‘Canada or crap’ philosophy and saved £20K regardless of attending seven weddings in one year!
An 18-Month Career Break To Travel
In March 2015, we pressed pause on our lives in Scotland and embarked on a career break from our jobs as Modern Studies teacher (me) and gas engineer (Craig).
Then we backpacked around Peru, Bolivia and Colombia before flying over to Cuba where we really started to feel the impact of travel burnout.
Luckily our next destination was six months in Canada where we lived in a 70s campervan for the summer, cleaning toilets and changing beds at a lodge on BC’s Sunshine Coast.
Autumn and winter was spent living in Vancouver with frequent visits from friends and family, lots of coffee and craft beer and a surprise engagement on Hallowe’en, my favourite holiday.
Craig proposed under the fake stars at the MacMillan Space Centre using a plastic straw cover shaped into a ring which I had been carrying attached to my day bag for months.
An Austin Elopement
I said yes and we eloped to Austin, Texas the following March. Our wedding officiant, Sarah, married us at Lou Neff Point.
I wore yellow and Craig wore a tartan tie. In 2017, Sarah flew to Scotland to attend our big Scottish wedding party at Thomas Morton Hall (Leith Theatre). And that’s the beauty of travel.
After our wedding we headed back to Europe, strapped for cash we based ourselves in Eastern Europe before heading to Spain then Portugal and home back to teaching, house buying and adopting our dog, Bowie.
Two Scots Abroad Is Born
During our travels, when I was supposed to be on a career break, I was fumbling around with Wordpress, speaking to fellow travel fans on Facebook and sharing stories from our big adventure on Instagram.
As a newbie blogger, I was lucky to stumble into a supportive community of like-minded content creators who helped show me that blogging is a viable business.
In 2016, I learnt how to rank on Google (search engine optimisation), traffic exploded, I started making money and I began to realise my worth as an online marketer in tourism.
Since then I’ve been creating ridiculously useful travel guides on Two Scots Abroad, engaging with my community on Facebook and Instagram and teaching fellow bloggers how to rank on Google too.
In 2018, I quit high school teaching and since then I’ve been publishing travel guides and packing lists at Two Scots Abroad and sharing my SEO knowledge with my friend Laura, at Make Traffic Happen.
Since returning, Craig and I have had exciting campaign opportunities such as working with ScotRail, Calmac Ferries, Visit Aberdeenshire and Nuart Aberdeen to market what’s on our doorstep, we’ve trained as astronauts at NASA space camp in Huntsville and road tripped through Hokkaido in Japan.
I’ve also had interesting speaking gigs at TBEX (Ireland, Czech Republic), Traverse (Italy) and Braw Blogger Conference (Scotland).
While campaigns are fun, I make most of my income from my website. I monetise through ads and affiliates which requires interested users reading my content and booking tours and accommodation or purchasing travel gear through my affiliate links.
In April this year I launched my new brand, Everything Edinburgh, a friendly resource for locals and visitors.
While an Easter launch was always the plan, the pandemic changed our focus slightly.
Instead of publishing content for tourists, we created helpful posts for locals such as food and drink deliveries, walks under an hour and where to find free gardens and parks.
When Scotland’s lockdown rules loosened, we developed our tourism content to encourage Scots to become a #HameTownTourist and support local companies such as walking tours. We also have a handy guide on what it is really like to visit Edinburgh in 2020.
Blogging in 2020
While promoting Scotland to Scots is great, I can’t lie, monetisation is at its best when North Americans can travel. Restrictions on travellers from the USA has had a detrimental impact on travel guide traffic, associated income and motivation.
Seeing locals flaunt lockdown rules while they enjoy the cushty monthly pay packet and pension schemes enrages me. Self employed creatives are being hit hard and not just financially.
When you own a business you create (at least) a three year plan and to see goals be cut short by something out of your control is crushing.
Every self employed person will tell you that the key to success is mindset.
It has taken a lot of time and energy to get here and it is an ongoing emotional rollercoaster, but I am trying to not focus on the actions of people I can’t control, regardless of how much impact it has on my business, and work on what I can.
Being a content creator has taught me three things.
Firstly, you need to be flexible and constantly be ready to hustle. I’m sure you’ve heard of the term pivot, it has been the only way for small businesses and the self employed to survive this year.
Secondly, you won’t get far if you are not resilient. Ignore the Twitter gang who think blogging is not a viable business, say no to the agencies who selfishly keep all of the marketing budget to themselves and don’t be afraid to work your worth.
Finally, being a content creator is about being part of a community. I am very lucky to have support in the international blogging industry and more localised friendships in Scottish travel blogging.
A day doesn’t go past where I slide into another blogger’s DMs for a rant or reassurance.
So if I was on the podium, in a cute tartan dress, I’d be giving a shout out to all the fellow travel content creators and their side hustle projects seeing them through this shitshow that is 2020.
And thank you to whoever nominated me! This was a truly lovely surprise.
Thanks for reading.
Cheers, Gemma Armit Two Scots Abroad
Here’s the official word from WITS:
Celebrating Tourism Leaders in 2020
During what has been one of the most challenging years to date for the Scottish tourism industry, Women In Tourism today announce the 2020 Top 100 Women In Tourism. Following the inaugural Top 100 which was launched in 2018, today’s announcement recognises not just individual achievements over the last year, but the combined passion which has supported the sector throughout 2020.
Reflecting a diverse industry which drives the Scottish economy and delivers the warm welcome which visitors from all over the world recognise and celebrate; the 2020 Top 100 includes those working within hotels, destination organisations, tour operators, marketing agencies and visitor attractions.
During an unprecedented year, the Top 100 gives special recognition to those working on behalf of the Scottish tourism sector, including colleagues from the Scottish Tourism Alliance, the Association of Scottish Self Caterers, HIT Scotland and the Association of Scottish Visitor Attractions.
In ensuring the sector continues to be heard, Kate Nichols from Hospitality UK receives special recognition as the only addition to the list from outside Scotland. As a key voice of tourism and hospitality, Kate has worked tirelessly to ensure individuals and businesses are heard and continues to lobby on behalf of the industry.
Commenting on the 2020 Top 100 Women In Tourism:
Susan Russell, Chair of Women In Tourism, said: “2020 has been an unprecedented year for not just tourism, but our way of life as we know it. Today’s announcement gives us an opportunity to recognise colleagues across our industry who go above and beyond on a daily basis.
The Top 100 reflects the sector as a whole – from Shetland to the Scottish Borders and the Outer Hebrides to Fife, and while we recognise the challenges facing our industry, today’s announcement is an important moment to celebrate and thank everyone for all that they have done, and continue to do.”
The inaugural Women In Tourism Top 100 was announced in July 2018 in response to the Caterer Magazine’s Top 100 Most Powerful people in hospitality which recognised only 13 women. Sadly, many of those in the 2020 Top 100 are no longer in the roles attributed in the list due to the impacts of COVID-19.