One Travel Writer’s Dream Pitches

Viterbo Primo Maggio

Some people are scared of speaking in public. Others have nightmares about showing up at their school naked. Me? I am terrified of pitches.

Pitches are what writers submit to publications in hopes of getting paid for something they’d like to write. I actually don’t work that way – I get most of my writing gigs from people who contact me, or from Elance.

And that’s because I can’t write a pitch to save my life. I’ve ghostwritten thousands of pages on every subject imaginable, and edited probably tens of thousands more. Give me a topic – I’ll bang it out, and chances are it’ll be pretty good. But pitches, cover letters, proposals – I look at a blinking cursor on a blank page, smoke cigarettes, and quit Word. I can’t tell you how many loads of laundry I’ve done simply to avoid writing a pitch.

So I’m just going to write them here – something I’m sure my peers will tell me is a horrible idea, lest someone unethical happens upon them and steals them for their own gain – but I want to commit them to server space anyway.

1. Recreate Paul Theroux’s voyage from The Pillars of Hercules. He skirted the Mediterranean from the Rock of Gibraltar to Morocco, taking only surface transit. Although he made the trip not that long ago (1993-94), a lot has changed since then. I’d be interested in seeing those changes, as well as how the trip would be seen through a female solo traveler’s eyes. Which is funny, because I rarely think of how I travel in terms of being a woman.

2. Be an in-house social media manager for a hotel. Ideally, I’d love for that hotel to be the W in Barceloneta, but not only because of my own fervent desire to reside in such a fantastic location. First, I’d like for it to be a large hotel so that I could post an interview a day with an employee. Second, there would be enough going on at the hotel that I’d have plenty to report. And third, I find the architecture of this brand-new hotel to be an astonishing juxtaposition to the neighborhood, and I’d like to know what locals think about it.

3. That being said, I also would love to spend time at an old dame like the Grand Hotel Miramare. Although the establishment is still impeccable (I stayed there in December 2008), one can see the glory of its past. I’d like to know how the staff of such a hotel feels about caring for its legacy. I’m also interested in the town – once grand, still expensive, but often overlooked in favor of the Cinque Terre and their richer cousin, Portofino.

4. Live on Levanzo for one full year. I’ve been obsessed with that place ever since I went last year with Mr. Pants. I want to see what it’s like to experience each season there, from the depths of winter to the height of summer. This idea occurred to me while we were having lunch at Ristorante Paradiso – the other two tables within earshot both mentioned to the waiter that they had been waiting to come back since the moment they left. I want to know what secrets the island’s residents hold to its allure, and what they think about the people whom they see arriving each day on the boat from Trapani.

5. Investigate any remaining traces of the Days of the Raj. I know little to nothing about this, but it’s been an era that’s always held a certain fascination for me. I want to learn more about it firsthand. I was thinking about this while on a photo hunt in Montpellier for ghost architecture – remnants of buildings and life from another time still visible to us today – and wondered what that kind of hunt would be like in a place that had such a rich history, with such a final end.

6. Interview American tourists as they wait in line at the Louvre, the Tate, the Prado, the Uffizi and the Vatican Museums. Cal frequently goes to Madrid to visit Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights in the Prado, and I never miss a chance to pop into the Musée d’Orsay to visit Van Gogh’s Room at Arles. While talking about this recently, we both noted that so many tourists seem to “do” a museum, practically running through it, and we wondered why they felt the urge to do so. I figure the best way to find out is to ask them!

3 thoughts on “One Travel Writer’s Dream Pitches

  1. I’ll tell you about the museum thing. Some people just can’t afford to visit places like Madrid or Paris FREQUENTLY. For some, it’s even a once in a lifetime thing. So wouldn’t you try to see and absorb the most? Even if that means not stopping in 20 minutes in every painting/whatever?. The tourist way to do things has much more sense than you can imagine. Not everyone can just “pop” every once in a while into Orsay. Just saying.

    • Yes, I understand that. But for me, I go see that ONE painting. Otherwise, I’m not a big fan of… art, for lack of a better word, or museums. I find them extremely boring. So, for me, when I go visit a place a museum is the last thing on my list. I was just wondering why other people went.

    • And, as well, I find that the prevailing sentiment is that Americans aren’t big art fans, or that they don’t support the arts like other countries do. Yet, European museums seem to be filled with Americans ogling art. I’d like to think that by talking to tourists who are going to museums, it would give some true insight into the mind of Americans as to how they really think of art.

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