There was an inflight magazine, Hemispheres I think it was, that used to include an article in each issue on Three Perfect Days in one particular country, city or town. It included things to do and see; places to go and how to get there; where to eat and drink, and how not to blow your budget while you’re doing all this. Some of the places were interesting; others were just bizarre, but they were without doubt perfect because someone else was paying.
Each article was written by a journalist or travel writer who was paid not only to write the piece, but expenses, accommodation and fares were paid for as well. Apparently it’s called travel writing.
I always thought that would be the perfect (pardon the pun) job. What fun I thought—travelling to exotic and exciting places; staying in five-star hotels; eating in fabulous restaurants, and probably rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous.
So I enrolled in Travel Writing 101—and thereby killed the dream.
In his opening sentence the presenter exploded the myth of the travel writer sitting in business class sipping champagne and being whisked off in a limo to his destination, by telling us that 90 per cent of travel writing is done by junior writers in an office somewhere in the bowels of your local city. He then went on to tell us how much money they made. I won’t upset you by saying it out loud, but believe me, I’m sure I could make a better hourly rate at Pizza Hut!
Our assignment for the week was to write a piece about somewhere we had never been and knew nothing about. So off we went to trawl the internet for information, and pictures, because you can’t have a travel article without the enticing pictures.
The following week there we all were with our travel pieces. I had been to Canada for three days, to a town called Gander (look it up—I had to …) and had written 700 words on an aviator’s paradise. I told of its history, its customs, its food, its scenery, and its icebergs. It read just as if I’d been there.
One lady had been to the Oktoberfest and enjoyed excellent German beer and sausages; donned a German costume just for fun, and joined in a knee-slapping dance. Another had spent three days in Morocco touring bazaars and eating couscous—she came home with a lovely hand loomed prayer mat. And one chap had spent his time with the Maasai people in Tanzania and showed us how they dance by jumping up and down.
And so I have decided to include in my blog Three Perfect Days in a place of my choice—I shall bring you the world—and we will travel it together.