Right now I am sitting in the Star Lounge at LAX, enjoying a glass of complimentary Cabernet from the open bar. I already had a cappuccino and some cookies. Life is good.
But make no mistake: this is not how I normally roll.
Sometimes people ask me what a “press trip” is. (I am going to Tokyo on a press trip today.) A press trip sends journalists, writers, and editors to other places in hopes that they will write about those places. A magazine or newspaper does not assign a story and then pay for the writer to go (who has the money?). Rather, a tourism board, or a new hotel, or even a renovated nightclub will fly members of the media to the place they hope will get exposure or publicity. They try to show the writers a good time in hopes that they’ll write nice things (“give good ink”) about the place and that someone will publish it. Often, there is a tour of some sort, special meals, even a hotel massage.
Because of this, I have been able to travel to some awesome places—and fly/stay way nicer than I usually do. It’s a bit confusing because normally I’ll be on a Southwest flight, sitting in a middle seat by the bathroom. But every once in a while…
I’m thinkin’ Japan needs visitors. Singapore Airlines has a new direct flight from LAX to Tokyo, and they’ve invited some of us over there, and Shangri-La Hotel is putting us up!
When I lived and worked (on a mag staff) in New York, I turned down a lot of trips because the editors there make you feel so guilty about leaving the office. Everyone is crazed and deadline-panicked all the time. The work ethic you need to have requires you to rethink your values.
But I have such a cool boss in San Diego. Like me, she is a native San Diegan. Initially, she was invited on this trip, and then she passed it to me. (Lucky day!) I still feel bad leaving the September issue unfinished, but she made a good point that is one I always forget: I don’t make enough money to travel like this, so I should take it. True, true! Guilt be gone.
People think I have such a glamorous life, and it does feel fab at times, but I’ve always said—you can’t pay your rent with a free iPod, Nike shoes, or a trip to Tokyo.
And that’s why I’m moving into a studio with no stove or oven. But I’ll be okay.