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Monday, November 5, 2007

Travel writing and the pace of research

This month-long research trip in Thailand for the new DK guidebook has been one of the busiest commissions we've ever undertaken. It's also been one of the most sublime. We've flown, driven, ferried, and trekked thousands of kilometers in southern and northern Thailand, in our quest to review some 280 hotels and restaurants. So please forgive the silence. There's been little time for blogging in between hotel inspections, spa treatments, breakfast, lunches and dinners, and activities that have ranged from cooking classes and elephant mahout training to ox cart rides and jungle treks. Then there are all the tedious things in between - checking in and out of hotels every day or two, picking up and dropping off hire cars, checking in at airports, hanging out in lounges and waiting at baggage carousels, and sitting in our car as we wait in line for the inevitably late car ferry - all of which consume an interminable amount of our precious time. The continual travel and constant activity has meant little time for relaxation. As I'm writing a new spa spread for the next edition of the guide, and both my partner Terry and I are working on spa-focused stories for travel magazines, our spa 'research' has comprised our only down time. Along with an hour here and there to test out our private infinity pools (such as this one at the Four Seasons Koh Samui). It's these moments of pampering in tranquil treatment rooms and gazing out across the tops of palm trees to serene sea vistas that have kept us sane. Naturally, we don't expect any sympathy.


ASD said...

280!!!!! WOW! . . . So once this submission is done, do you actually get some down time or do you already have your next gig booked?

Maryam in Marrakesh said...

That many that is just incredible. I just can't even imagine the pace!!

Terry said...

Hey Anne (asd), as you can see by the tardy response, both Lara and I are working like crazy. Down time is that hour doing laps in the pool of a fab hotel...

We have to line up gigs like jets lined up at Heathrow for take-off. We have at least a dozen things going at once. Pitches to our usual group of magazines, stories with deadlines, current books to finish, book proposals in various stages of approval and there's always little things like writing blogs for (Grand Tourismo) when we're 'bored'. It's nuts, we work 14 hour days, but like Lara says, who is going to listen to us bitch about it?