Does hosting a travel show, doing all the fun things like shucking oysters and taking in great scenery count as work? Don’t give me that look....
LOOKING up at the purposely-left-unfinished ceilings of my service apartment in Hobart, Tasmania as I sit back on the sofa with some sort of Australian ball sport on TV where large men run into other large men, I start to think that this is an uncharacteristic moment of rest for me.
Staring up at the wooden support beams riddled with character and flawed in a way that can only be caused by the decades, I think: this is my vacation, and it will last only a few more hours.
You see I’m shooting a new travel show for TV channel Life Inspired based on travelling all around Australia, and I’m about two weeks into the shoot, with another two weeks to go.
And these next two weeks are looming ahead of me like some insurmountable journey, like some traveller standing at the base of a great mountain range, knowing rest and console gaming on a couch await the crossing of these foreboding peaks ravaged with so much impossibility.
Maybe I’m being just a little over dramatic if not poorly Cormac McCarthian with my use of simile.
But the thing about shooting a travel show is, people refuse to think it’s work. Yeah, of course it’s awesome to travel, and Australia is more than up to the task of providing incredible landscapes and offering up great laid-back people who are more than willing to laugh off or pay no attention to my increasingly bizarre and strained sense of humour. Which is a giant slice of awesome cake.
But let’s be straight up, it’s still work.
Yet everywhere you go people give you a cock-eyed smirk and say, “Travel show, huh? That must be a great job, seeing all those places and doing all those things.”
And that’s it. Doing a travel show is a lot like a taster menu, you get to taste but never to indulge. Do something you like and enjoy, and you’ll skim over it while the embarrassing bits of failure are captured on video for future generations, all while sleeping less than a soldier at war.
Doing a travel show is like a guided tour on steroids, a juiced-up, over-energised, genital-shrunken, obnoxious catalogue of an itinerary facing you down every single day.
The sheer weight of it will cause one to slouch until slumping and collapsing into a heap on the ground where scavengers will pick and wreak havoc upon your broken and bloodied husk of a body like so much wallaby carrion on some vast plateau long deserted by eucalypti (ok, I’m still badly channeling the spirit of Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian similes).
Wake up, eat, drive to location, do activity, drive to location, do activity, rinse repeat until day ends. Then sleep and rinse repeat that schedule the next day until complete host collapse (and yeah, I used the rinse repeat thing from Chuck Palahniuk, who stole it for irony’s sake from washing detergent instructions and applied it to a protagonist’s struggle – which I suppose means he didn’t really steal it).
I know exactly where you are at this point. You think I’ve no right to complain, and I get it.
Sure, surfing in the gin-blue water of Bondi Beach, hiking up the unforgiving rock face of the Hazards in Tasmania, or kayaking down the Brisbane River while the city of the same name glides by glimmering and peaceful in the early morning light isn’t really that bad, but – wait a second – that stuff doesn’t sound bad at all.
Wait up. How about shucking and eating fresh oysters in Barilla Bay, or scratching the shells of green turtles in the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland, or maybe climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as the winds and the knowledge of Matt Damon climbing before you rip at you physically and mentally.
Well, except for the Matt Damon part, none of that sounds remotely bad.
In the act of writing this, I’ve managed to convince myself that my job isn’t that hard after all. Sure, it’s a crazy, jam-packed schedule but it’s like a vacation itinerary on steroids. In a good way, because steroids may shrink genitalia but it’ll get you jacked, or something.
Or to return to my original simile of taster menus – taster menus are great!
So, allow me one more theft from another author, and I’ll Brett Easton Ellis the last line of this article to basically sum up and negate everything previously written, because even after admitting all this, something I’ve admitted to myself on countless occasions, though my retelling has served as some form of minor catharsis and I have actually learned something of myself, ultimately there has been no reason for me to tell you any of this.
This confession has meant nothing. Australia rocks.
Jason Godfrey can be seen hosting The Link on Life Inspired (Astro B.yond Ch 728).