Will you forgive me the silence? Perhaps when I tell you where I've been. If you followed the Lonely Planet author scandal you'd get the impression from Thomas Kohnstamm that fees are so low and travel writers so poor they have to deal drugs and scam meals to survive. Or if you read the blogs, comments and stories in response from other writers you'd think we all work 16 hour days, seven days a week (which we do), but that miserable fees force us to sleep on friends' couches when we travel and the closest we get to Michelin-starred restaurants is watching customers dine through the window while we make menu notes outside (which we certainly don't do!). If you work hard, network well, and line up a number of commissions for a trip, you can sleep in design hotels, dine of fine meals, and live a rather luxe life if you choose. Last Monday we flew to Istanbul to cover the opening of the new W hotel and Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Spice Market for two in-flights and two travel magazines, and write a guide to Istanbul for another travel mag. What followed was a whirlwind four days of work - and play! The W generously hosted us in a stunning room and fed us Jean-Georges' superb cuisine for two days. We went to an exclusive press dinner at Spice Market with a dozen other writers and W's fantastic global PR team. We sipped bubbly poured by an acrobat for a waiter who hung upside down from a chandelier of champagne bottles! And we boogied the night away (with Jean-Georges himself!) at the hotel's spectacular launch party, attended by Istanbul's jet set and hundreds of W VIPs around the globe. And it was fun. Especially being invited by Jean-Georges to his private after-party in the hotel's presidential suite with magical views of Istanbul!