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Women to Write Home About: Kathi Kamleitner

Kathi Kamleitner

For our latest Women to Write Home About interview, Women in Tourism are delighted to feature full-time Travel Blogger, Travel Writer and Photographer Kathi Kamleitner.

Glasgow-based Kathi runs the successful Scotland travel blog Watch Me See. Kathi is outspoken about empowering women in particular to travel more, go on solo adventures and make once-in-a-lifetime experiences in Scotland. In June 2019, Kathi was awarded the very first Young Women in Tourism Tourism Influencer of The Year Award winning a week’s internship with prize sponsor Expedia, offering her a behind the scenes look at how the travel giant operates, as well as a year’s membership of Women in Tourism.

In this Women to Write Home About blog, Kathi shares insights into how her career has evolved, her passion for travel and how it impacts on her work and life; thoughts and hopes for the tourism and travel industry, and her motivations for getting involved in Women in Tourism.

Tell us about yourself and what you do

My name is Kathi Kamleitner and I am a full-time travel blogger based in Glasgow. I run the Scotland travel blog Watch Me See on which I share practical advice and detailed travel guides for Scotland, share stories about adventures and outdoor activities and provide information about vegan travel in Scotland. I also offer itinerary planning services for folk who want to visit Scotland but don’t know where to begin, and private walking tours in Glasgow.

What about your work makes you most proud?

I started Watch Me See to make planning a trip to Scotland easier for others, so every time I get a message from a reader who found my guides and advice useful, or when I get the glowing feedback from an itinerary client, I do a little happy dance. Travel is such an important part of my life and has expanded my horizon a lot – I am proud I get to help others have similar experiences in Scotland.

What other projects are you involved in?

I have a PhD in film studies from the University of Glasgow and co-run a feminist film festival in Glasgow called Femspectives. I also started to organise hiking retreats for women in Glencoe with my local partner Girls on Hills. I host a group of outdoorsy women and they guide us through the mountains.

Share a moment in your career that you cherish

After handing in my PhD in 2019, I decided to go full-time with my own business. It was a scary moment because I was not sure it would work financially – but it has been an amazing experience so far and I love running my own business!

What are your hopes for Scottish tourism in the next 5 years?

I really hope that more people will choose to go off the beaten track in the future. It seems that the majority of people is only interested in the same sites which takes a toll on the environment but also impacts other areas that are just as beautiful. One of my aims as a local travel blogger is to help shine the light on some lesser-visited areas to encourage a more even distribution of footfall. Scotland really is beautiful all over! Another development I’d like to see is a greater network of activity providers that would make it easier to find activities and book them in advance without having to deep-dive online for hours and hours at a time. I wish it was easier to find the best providers all in one place.

Where is your favourite place to visit in Scotland? In the world?

If I had to choose one favourite, it would be the region of Argyll. I love the coastline – the longest in Scotland actually – the mountains and the hundreds (or thousands?) of islands in the region. Argyll and the Isles have so much to offer and it is all just a stone’s throw away from Glasgow, where I live. I love Kintyre, Kilmartin Glen, Loch Awe and Oban and among the islands, my favourites are Islay, Mull, Colonsay and Coll. Further afield, I love travelling to Canada. The scenery of the Rocky Mountains is just as beautiful as the lakes in Ontario, vibrant cities, beautiful mountain towns and just the friendliest people ever – after the Scots of course!

Share a moment that, at the time, felt like a setback, but propelled you further into the career you have now

When I finished my undergraduate degree, I tried to find a job in the cultural sector in Germany and Austria (where I am from) but it was impossible to find anything but badly paid internships. It felt like a major set-back, but inspired me to pursue a master’s degree in Scotland. I fell in love with the country, started my blog and turned it into my career.

What were your motivations for getting involved with Women in Tourism?

I applied for the Young Women in Tourism awards in 2019 because I think it is so important to stand up and raise your hand as a young woman in business. The travel blogging world is still very male-dominated, so being involved in a supportive network like WIT has connected me with great role models and encouraged me to grow.

When family and friends come to visit, which local spots do you take them to?

I actually see every visit from home as an opportunity to go and explore a new part of Scotland, that I had not seen myself yet. This year, I took my family to the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, before that I explored Mull, Staffa and the Treshnish Isles or road-tripped through Aberdeenshire. But a visit to my favourite breakfast joints in Glasgow must not miss of course – Single-End in Garnethill, Picnic in the city centre or Milk Cafe in the Southside.

What one piece of advice would you give to women starting out in the industry?

Find your tribe and surround yourself with a support network. It is easy to get caught up in comparing yourself to others in the industry, especially if you work for yourself.  But no one is stronger on their own. I have a group of colleagues and friends who I talk to almost daily.We compare rates, bounce ideas off each other and offer support when things go sideways.

With kind thanks to Women in Tourism members Erin McLelland, our industry interviewer, and to interviewee Kathi Kamleitner for her contribution.

We’d love to hear from Women in Tourism members interested in contributing to the Women to Write Home About interview series. Please email info@womenintourism.co.uk