During last month’s Fringe, Carole Edrich invited participants to sample the wines emblematic of her experience of cycling to every winery in Argentina. This month, her travelogue with a difference returns
As a freelance journalist, I occupy roughly the same place in travel editors’ priorities as the Taliban give to women’s football. Staff get the nice easy stuff, normally directly from the few PR-generated ideas that fly. They’ll get the spas, the shopping weekends and the beaches, and the posh trips or visits. Only the mad, the obscure and the downright dangerous travel pieces are entrusted to people like me.
That’s just as well. What is there to write about a beach? There’s sand. There are people, mostly. There’s sea. Babies crying. Towels. Shards of shells that get stuck in your bits for weeks after the visit is over. What staff do is legitimate – it’s fine to have a few cocktails and write about them. After all, the cocktails are on location. And booze can enthuse them on the most boring beaches. I couldn’t do that. Cocktails give me headaches.
I am not particularly fond of writing for money, but it’s the only way I’ve found to fund my adventures. I pride myself on finding ideas that haven’t been done before (easier to write about, innit?). While my stuff sounds like it’s on the verge of the stupidly dangerous, it’s really only scary fun. And if I get pieces commissioned, I get the press trips that go with them. Sometimes, commissions even pay enough to help me pay the bills.
A high enough rate to enable me to write one piece per trip would be nice, but it’s not going to happen. I am enough of a realist to know that asking for more money will simply encourage my editors to look elsewhere. I want to keep doing this. Travel writing – the way I do it – is still one of the most fun ways that one can spend one’s time, what with someone already having landed on the moon, the queue for Mars immigration needing you to be friendly with That Musk, and so much social media work being required for pretty much everything else.
I did a course with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust to get a commission from Food and Travel Magazine. That got Harrods excited enough to send me off on a special promotional event, which got me there.
Terry Pratchett wrote: “The important thing about having lots of things to remember is that you’ve got to go somewhere afterwards, where you can remember them.” Thanks to Giles Wilson of Wanstead Fringe, Matt Day of Daygustation Wines and Patricia Ortiz who makes the wonderful Tapiz wines, I did that in an interactive wine-tasting-travelogue-comedy performance. It sold out. People liked it. I’m doing it again. If you’re a local, contact me for a discount. If you came to the last one, contact me for a bigger discount. If you’d like to learn how to get commissions to travel, like I do, contact me too!
For more information on Carole’s next event, visit wnstd.com/argentina
To contact Carole, visit caroleinnit.com