Jan 17, 2006

I awoke on Irish linen in the Davenport's Parlor Suite – roughly the size of a small house – this morning, then swam and soaked in the hot tub, pimping the high-roller, travel-writer lifestyle many dream about (after they finish the Oscar-rockstar reel).

The trouble with that fantasy? It neglects the toilet rocking on its moorings in the garret back home. The ink-stained secondhand clothes, the crummy pension plan, the five o'clock courage of self-employment.

I worry about the expense of kitty grit. And how to wrestle the litter sacks home without a car. Do you still want my world?

Don't get me wrong: the perks are unbelievable. I have dog sledded in Colorado, canoed in Appalachian backwaters, swum with dolphins in Mexico, tangoed in Finland, biked in Ireland and ridden a roan mare in the Rockies. I've stargazed, snowboarded and raced a sailboat on company time. I learned to scull, fly-fish and play extreme croquet.

A minor aristocrat once kissed my hand, bowed low and clacked his heels in Rome, the Eternal City.

In Jordan, I learned to "mooooove with the camel" and wear a Brazilian bikini in a Muslim country (nothing I'd recommend). I also mud-bathed beside the Dead Sea, plunged down a 400-ft scarlet sand dune and refused a Bedouin sheik's proposal – to become wife number two – while veiled in a desert camp.

In the glamorous, greedy city of Hong Kong, I rode in a helicopter, experienced Chinese acupressure and palm-reading, sipped gin-and-tonics at the Foreign Correspondents' Club, won HK$110 at the Sha Tin racetrack (about 14 bucks) and danced until dawn in a scarlet bob wig and pink aviators, despite my capitalist guilt.

But I haven't been to the dentist in six years. Every system has checks and balances, you see.

When my teeth fall out, travel writing will cease to be glamorous.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:44 PM

    Love this post. On my bad freelance-writer days, it's hard for me to remember the upside. And I think sometimes my friends don't believe the bad stuff, or how weighty and depressing it can feel at times.

    But when I step back and look at what I'm actually doing -- the amazing people I get to interview, the ideas I get to explore -- I feel pretty darn lucky. I wouldn't give it up for $$. (On the other hand, $$ is nice...)

    Very well said.

    Lori Smith