“Going to the swimming pool today senor?’ The three staff ladies tittered at me in passing as I left my room for the coffee machine down the hall. It’s easy to confuse the hard work of a travel writer with that of an unrepentant tourist who spends his days at the pool and is seemingly too lazy to make a pot of coffee in his room.
Of course I have a great tan and dress for the beach every day, this is my uniform. Few people outside my business colleagues know that if I showed up at the Canadian border without a great tan after an extensive tour away in the tropics that I would have my passport confiscated, the secret travel writers handshake would be changed and my entrance key to the travel writers executive washroom would be taken away. Such are the pressures of travel writing. The girls in the hall simply don’t realize the kind of stress we live under day to day.
“Of course”, I answer over my shoulder. “Back to the office”, I say. Their exchange in Spanish is incomprehensible, but I’m sure they don’t believe a word I say. I can understand their disbelief, I do spend a lot of time by the pool with my laptop, it doesn’t appear that I putting am putting in any hard shifts at the salt mine. Other than that I spend an almost equal amount of time in the gym either running or pushing weight while watching ‘The Today Show’ or ‘CNN’, two shows that can be had almost anywhere in the satellite cable universe of hotels from Beijing to Rio, so to speak.
Travelers generally provide a lot of amusement for the staff in hotels and the local populations overall. This lifestyle of apparent luxury we pretend to enjoy is an alien landscape to those whom we visit. It’s as if we have dropped from the clouds. Even to the other tourists the words ‘travel writer’ inspires dreams of permanent escapism in those I meet. I have stopped telling people that there is no money in the gig, that it’s all fluff, but I have decided not to burst the bubble anymore, travel and travel writing is all about ‘the dream’. Who I am I to tether the balloon that wants to fly.