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The Not-As-Good-As-It-Looks Life

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Today I had lunch with a fellow travel journalist and editor (and no, contrary to urban myth, it wasn’t a glass of bubbly in The Connaught, but a rushed salad in the canteen, between meetings).

We’re both exhausted. I’ve covered five different countries over six weeks (12 planes, eight trains and four ferries), between editing 18 features, writing four 2000-word pieces and three short features, and having several different families to stay overnight (a peril of living in central London; if you know a hotel that needs a chambermaid, I’ve become a pro at laundering and changing sheets at midnight.)

My fellow journalist friend is about to get married – and, two weeks before she goes, has to do a three-day trip to southern Africa and write the story on the flight on the way back.

And neither of us has had a holiday this year.

I know: your heart bleeds. We’re luxury travel writers, and stay in some of the most incredible hotels on earth. Our Instagram feeds are full of extraordinary images ( if you want to take a peek).

But, as you know from experience, press trips are not exactly relaxing breaks. When I’m in a new place to write a story, my brain is on high alert. I’m on a constant lookout for great design details, for interesting new facts, for quotes. I’m endlessly reading local magazines and guidebooks for background information. When I do get to my room after yet another dinner with another GM, it’s usually to plough through emails: not only to keep on top of the hundreds of releases and ideas that arrive daily, but to keep on top of the job.

So, when you get an OOO, please don’t ask how my holiday was. I’m a full-time travel writer, and haven’t had one since last November.

Post Author

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.


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