How's the economy doing? Judging by the offer I got this AM, I'd say it's looking up!
In case you don't know how my particular brand of travel writing works, I am (how you say in English?) a prostitute. Basically, travel companies, tourism boards, television stations and magazines pay for me to go places and say nice things about them. I'm not a critic. I'm not interested in the downsides of things. When I travel, I look for the unique and wonderful parts of the experience and I try to convey them to my readers.
While this is obviously HUGE amounts of fun, it's not really the most lucrative way of doing business, so I rely on these companies and media outlets to fund my trips. (Otherwise, I'd wind up paying $10,000 to research a story for which I'd be paid $1500.) Unfortunately, with the state of the economy right now, the offers have been few and far between, so this morning, when I was sleepily sipping a cup of coffee and reading my emails, I was pretty psyched to spy a message with the header “Tierra Del Fuego Press Trip Offer.”
I eagerly maximized the message to read the details and the following is what I encountered: (Note, I have changed the geographical specifics of this offer so as not to embarrass anyone, but nothing else has been altered.)
"On August 7th, 2009 we have a couple of last minute openings on our Tierra Del Fuego Unbound Adventure."
Oh hell yeah! That's right in my wheelhouse, baby!
"We are contacting you to offer a free press trip to this iconic destination."
Hello Tierra Del Fuego! Goobye economic downturn!
"There are two spots available. These could be used by a qualified writer/photographer team, or simply two qualified writers. There are quite a few angles that are press worthy with our adventure but we have found the best way for writers to find their own unique story is to experience our unique adventures first hand."
I love first hand. I'm all about first hand!
"You would be responsible for your own travel expenses to and from Tierra Del Fuego as well as the $100 Tierra Del Fuego Park Admission fee and a $250 admin fee."
So... if I pay to go on a Tierra Del Fuego Unbound Adventure I'm allowed to go on a Tierra Del Fuego Unbound Adventure? Well hot shit! Where do I sign?
I don't intend to be braggadocios, but it's obvious from this message that I am kind of a big deal. I mean, it's not every travel writer who gets personally invited to pay for a vacation to Tierra Del Fuego. You've got to have a certain degree of cache to be allowed to pay the same amount as everyone else to do the things everyone else can do. That kind of VIP access has to be earned, and offers this fabulous wouldn't be extended unless the economy was looking up.
So, let's all chill out. Everything's fine. If you were thinking about breastfeeding your starving neighbor in a barn, don't! The cogs and gears of industry are finally churning again and pretty soon we'll all be swimming in heaps of cash like little Scrooge McDucks. Oh, and to further underscore how Big Time I am, I was also recently contacted by the Burger King Corporation, via my television set, and they have invited me to visit any one of their fine restaurants across the country to purchase my choice of delicious sandwich items, sides and thirst quenching beverages. Laissez le bon temps roule!
If you'd like to read some of my travel stories, here are a few of my faves:
Cooking in the kitchen of Food and Wine Best New Chef Gavin Kaysen
Following the Iditarod
Sailing to Antarctica