Can I just say something? This is not a Samantha Brick-esque plea for sympathy. I already know you'll think I'm being all "Oooh, my diamond shoes are hurting my feet" and no one feels pity for that girl. But you know what? I'm tired of plastering a fake grin on my face when people say, "You're a travel writer? Lucky you! I'd love to get paid to be on holiday."
Because, guess what? It's not a frickin' holiday. Being a travel writer really isn't all that it's cracked up to be. Firstly, there's the pay. It's terrible. Really. There's almost no chance I could actually afford to stay in most of the places I write about. This is why you'll see me laying siege to the breakfast buffet. Everything I spend comes out of my (tiny) fee. Not that I'd actually be going on holiday anyway. I'm freelance - if I don't work I don't get paid. If I get sick I don't get paid either. So you have to thrive on no sleep, long hours and endless waiting around airports.
I know I'm lucky. I get to go to places that most people only ever dream of. But usually, instead of soaking them up and really enjoying them, I'll spend just long enough to get a sense of the place and then I'll be on my way. I've slept in countless honeymoon suites... alone. I've eaten at some of the most fantastic restaurants by myself or making semi-awkward small-talk with a PR.
I had what could have been one of the most romantic nights of my life - watching Dreamgirls on the deck of a boat in the Caribbean under the stars, drinking rum swizzles and scoffing popcorn - with an elderly cruise writer who farted and then snored. You get the picture.
Don't get me wrong. I love what I do. Really love it. In the past 6 months I've been to Paris, Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec City, Montreal, Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles. I'm your go-to girl if you want to know where to eat the best churros in Barcelona or find the coolest cocktail bar in San Francisco. Just don't say the 'H' word...