September 25, 2007

Good and Bad

My parents always told me that if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. I didn't listen to them and I don't listen to them now.

My favourite piece of writing this year is a short piece on cruising the Pacific, which at first sounds like any other sun-drenched travel story that focuses more on the pool deck than the countries a ship visits. This one did neither, because it was a WWII theme cruise populated by the most conservative of Americans. Not only did these people vote for George Bush, but they helped fund raise for his elections. Even the family nanny was onboard, I kid you not.

My story about the cruise had to be tamed down a little, because some of the comments and behaviour of the passengers aboard this ship were so outrageous and vile that to publish the events would be tasteless. But the story did run and for that I have to thank my editor at the Herald Sun.

It's not often we get a chance to "tell it like it is" when writing travel. For starters most of the travel I do these days is with very professional companies who make damned sure the trip goes well - no use sending a bunch of journos on a tour that sucks is there? Besides, when people read the travel section they want to be inspired to travel, to leave their real world and enjoy a moment of make believe.

As a travel journo, however, you desire more than anything to spill the beans on shoddy operators and tell people what the reality is like in the world of travel. Companies spend a lot of money to present an image to the market, but they don't always make the same commitment to ensure their product lives up to the hype.

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