Full Disclosure of an African Boomerang

This blog entry about the events of Friday, March 16, 2012 was originally posted on March 16, 2012.

It’s only been two months since I’ve last been on the road—monkeying around in Uganda and Rwanda—but I’ve found myself in a situation where I’ll be going right back to Africa. More specifically, I’ll be returning back to the region I just came from, the East African Community (the official intergovernmental organization comprising of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and Kenya) like a sort of human African boomerang. This time, I’ll be landing in Kenya—and hopefully without breaking anything on the way, as boomerangs sometimes do.

If you’ve followed The Global Trip blog for years, you’ll know I haven’t been to Kenya yet. I intentionally skipped it when traveling Sixteen Months Around the World since I spent some quality time in neighoring Tanzania, which, at the time, I figured was similar enough to Kenya that I could skip it for the time being. My initial thought back then was that it was pretty much like Tanzania anyway, with similar things to offer: instead of Kilimanjaro, there’s Mt. Kenya. Instead of grassland safaris in Serengeti National Park, there’s Masai Mara National Park—and they’re both home to Maasai tribes. All the animals of The Lion King, and all the migrating wildebeests don’t know political boundaries, and therefore can be found in both countries. (In fact, I think the wildebeests are part of a tourism racket; their famed migration goes back and forth between the two countries, allowing each to share an influx of migration tourism.)

But to think of Kenya as Tanzania is sort of hypocritical, since in my last entry I spoke of how different each African nation is when you actually go there and experience its nuances. And so this time around, I’ll find out just what makes Kenya unique from Tanzania and its other neighboring nations.

But why is it that I’m going back to Africa so soon after my last trip? Well here’s the full disclosure: it’s a press trip. That’s right; with my newly-given clout as a regular Contributing Writer for Discovery.com, I was invited to apply for it by the Kenya Board of Tourism (via their PR agent in New York). I submitted my resume and filled out the application to land one of just four spots reserved for travel journalists, and landed it a couple of weeks ago.

This will be my first multi-day press trip, which is something I have a few qualms about. Sure, most of it is paid for already, but as they say, nothing in life is really free. Obviously I have to write about it, and spin in some promotion for Kenyan tourism, which is something that I’m fine doing. However, I feel a tad embarrassed about going; call me old-fashioned, but my travel journalism training comes from the old school thought that press trips are frowned upon within the legitimate journalism community. Obviously in our new media world where publishing and news outlet business models have changed with the times, this is not completely the case anymore, although it still rings true that taking too many press trips can totally discredit one as a legitimate journalist. If you only go from time to time, it’s okay, but basically you shouldn’t be a press trip whore (PTW) is what I’ve been taught—and I stand by that for the sake of integrity. Then again, who am I to talk about journalistic integrity? I originally started this travel blog with pictures of my diarrhea.

(If you’re a member of the Kenya Board of Tourism reading this, don’t worry, I won’t be shooting photos if I feel something burst when I’m sliding into first—unless you want me to, of course.)

ANYWAY, IT’S KENYA OR BUST. And it’s with regret—although with much relief—that I’ve decided not to do daily “live” entries of this trip. Why, you ask? Well, it has always been my intention that The Global Trip can show the desktop traveler that yes, you the average reader, can travel independently like I’ve done if you just put your mind to it and stop making excuses. You don’t need to be rich or be a travel journalist to go to “exotic” places if you just make certain decisions in life to allow yourself to go. And so, blogging about a press trip with a fully-regimented itinerary and agenda that is out of my control, really doesn’t fall into The Global Trip mission. I won’t be arriving in a destination and making things up as I go, as you’ve come to expect in a Global Trip adventure.

Also, the 9-day-tour is strictly going to be a working press trip. Its scheduling at the end of March—like its itinerary—is also out of my hands. If it had been up to me, then perhaps I’d have gone to Kenya at a more convenient time, when projects back in New York were coming to an end. (Contrary to popular belief, it’s really hard making a living solely as a travel writer, even working for Discovery, and I still have to grind and hustle as a designer/developer to make ends meet.) I’ll still be working remotely for the three clients I have on my plate; whether I’m in New York or Kenya, clients barely see me anyway since we only usually keep in contact through email and an occasional phone call. Any downtime I get during my stay in Kenya, I’ll have to use to work. And any wifi connection I’ll get, I’ll have to use to transfer files and send business emails—instead of blogging—plus the occasional stalking of people on Facebook, of course.

That’s not to say I won’t blog about this trip at all. If time allows during (but most likely after) the trip, I’ll write up a few posts of my personal Kenyan experience. I figure it could be insightful to write about the experience of my first multi-day press trip, what it’s like to travel with other journalists, and what it’s like to travel on behalf of a country’s government board of tourism. I’ll be seeing Kenya as they want me (and the rest of the world) to see it, and something should be written about that. Plus, I’d like to pin Kenya on my navigation map on the home page.

Anyway, until I can get around to writing blog entries, stay tuned on Facebook and Twitter for short, live updates. THE TRIP BEGINS MARCH 19.


FUN FACT:

The boomerang in the photo above is Australian, not African—but you already knew that, right? (I bought it near Uluru.)





Next entry: The Return of Indie

Previous entry: Forget “Africa”




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Comments for “Full Disclosure of an African Boomerang”

  • How do you like the new site design?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/16  at  02:53 PM


  • I like the new site design… Not sure I still like your letters to approve… wink Sometimes they don’t let me post. And I’m not a bot.

    Posted by Noelle  on  03/22  at  09:25 AM


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