Friday, 21 October 2011

I'm a Guardian travel writing panelist now

I recently took part in an online  Q&A session for The Guardian as part of their panel, giving advice to potential new travel writers. It was an intense lively session proving to me there is no shortage of people still seeing travel writing as a potential career.  Hearing so many different views on the subject, I came to realise how difficult it must be for anybody faced with the prospect of selling their ideas to editors.
There is sadly, no easy route. You must be prepared for rejection many times over, simply because whatever your idea, there will be someone who has no doubt thought of it before you. Either that or like a lot of us, you are the victim of a collective delete of the in box without even a read of a single mail. I discovered this through the power of Outlook and when challenged the reply was "I've been on holiday, it's press day and I've got 140 emails in my in box".
And they call this a profession?
Luckily for many aspiring travel writers, there is an answer and that is the power of the Internet. Blogs are becoming big business as is online travel writing, so do not despair, just do it yourself. After all, if you can prove you have a wide readership, you'll be half way to editng your own travel site.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Virgin’s Premium Economy Class makes ordinary life a lot less ordinary.

I’ve always harboured a secret sense of loathing toward business and first passengers, although I’d never admit it in public. Their smug looks when they get to check in on that red carpet attended to by handpicked airline staff ready with a waiting smile and fresh flowers to ease them through check in is frankly almost too much to bear. They get private lounge access of course, but we don’t get to see that bit thank goodness, just their backs as they whisk through security using their special fast track passes while we wait in line with the hoards getting ordered to remove our belts and shoes like we’re about to begin a prison sentence. The smugness returns in the departure lounge of course when they get to board first, and then we have to do the walk of shame filing past them on our way towards the back as they serenely down their chilled glasses of bubbly as we fight over hand luggage bin space.

There is however a chance of salvation; an affordable opportunity to at least touch the hem of heaven and take a tentative step onto that first rung of travel smugness. Thankfully, with Virgin’s Premium Economy, we mortals get the chance to savour just a little bit of that high life for a reasonable extra cost.

We get a separate check in for a start. Slight smugness points there. And then we get to board first with the big boys too. Loads of smugness points here, because no one else knows which class you’re in until you get on board. The wider, softer seats are very comfy and whilst they may not be flat bed seats, (although they are as wide as many business class seats on other airlines). the extra leg room and spring loaded foot rests allow you some real stretching room. Now comes the good part. While everyone else shuffles past, you get to sip that envious pre take off drink, and that rattles up bucket loads of smugness points in my book, whilst eating a quality meal off a china dinner service with stainless steel cutlery makes all the difference in the world.

Of course after an eleven hour flight you just want to get off and on with your life and fortunately Premium Economy passengers get to get off first with those big boys again and you can enjoy that final bit of smugness when you collect your luggage  from the Upper and Premium only carousel. Oh the joy.

I’m a fan of Virgin’s Premium Economy.  It’s an excellent choice on so many levels, letting you enjoy many of the trimmings of business travel without it really hurting your pocket too much.  Now if only we could get a private lounge.........