Travel can be a bit ‘touch and go’

The experiences of a Travel Editor can at times seem a little too hands on, as Greg Hackett recalls with a laugh

If I moved any farther away from him, I would be hanging out of the limo’s door. I should have wised up when the two publicity girls quietly took me aside, before the limousine ride from the airport to the hotel, and apologetically asked me to tell them if I felt uncomfortable at any time, and that one stretch limo would have done the job but the senior airline executive had insisted that he and I had a limo to ourselves. “No worries!” What a privilege – the VVIP (Very Very Important Person) treatment! In the other limo was a competitor Travel Editor, stuck with the PR and the nagging freelance writers. Hehe, suffer. 

TACTILE TRIP

However, it did not take long to discover that this drive would be a very tactile trip. Despite the voluminous capacity of the limo, the two of us were quite snug on the rear seat. Too snug, I thought. The best French champagne was poured into two flutes, jokes were cracked, travel tales – long and short – were told, and there was much good natured banter and laughter. Also much hand touching of my knee and patting of my arm. A little too much, it seemed. Okay, I got the message: he was “testing the water”. I thought: I’m sorry to disappoint, my good friend, but I swim with a different stroke.

PLAYING A STRAIGHT BAT

Politely shifting away, I kept “playing a straight bat”. I did not wish to offend, I also did not wish to give a false signal. I mean, this was a huge honor and I felt quite chuffed, me being an undersized, overfed Travel Editor and no oil painting and all of that, but it’s just not my cup of tea. Hey, I could have “milked it” for all it was worth – I know some who would – however that’s not how I roll. Needless to say, I did not complain nor mention anything to the PR or others. You could say, my lips were sealed (and my legs were crossed). And always will be. Overall, it was another fun trip as a Travel Editor. They all are fun.

WE ARE ALL HUMAN

I’m laughing as I write this: I was not uncomfortable nor did I feel victimised in any way. For me, it is just one more funny travel anecdote. My high opinion of the fellow has not altered in any way. We are all human while in many ways different. Hey, you will never know if the kite will fly if you don’t give it a go. The key is to show respect and not use privilege or power to cajole or coerce. 

If I saw him today, I wouldn’t hesitate to say hello and genuinely enquire of his good health. He is a fun guy, gracious, easy going and unpretentious in the overbearingly pretentious world of travel celebrity egos. I would gladly spend a convivial evening together swapping travel stories – and with the playful hand fully occupied with holding a glass of good wine.

*Cross posted from Asian Journeys magazine: https://asianjourneys.com.sg/eMagazine/singapore/2020-12-01/page-1#book/

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