I’ve been in this travel-writing business a long time now, but until I heard about this upcoming 6-day Ecuador Spa Writing Expedition, it never occurred to me that there were folks who actually made spa-writing a full-time vocation.
My first thought was, “This is legal?” I mean, of course it is, there’s no reason it wouldn’t be, but it seems like one of those things that should be illegal, in the same way that, I don’t know, getting paid to be a Kardashian should be illegal.
But I mean, really, your job is getting massaged, bathed, oiled, stretched, body-wrapped, cleansed, exfoliated, manicured, pedicured, primped, plumped, plucked, waxed, waned and whatever else you women (and occasional man) do, and then evaluating how thoroughly you were pampered?
And if that weren’t enough, the spa knows that’s why you’re there, so they give you extra pampering? And on top of that, someone pays you?
The only way this set-up could possibly be any more decadent is if, while you were lying prone on the massage table, they had a hose filled with liquid chocolate pumping directly into your mouth while you were simultaneously hooked up to a liposuction machine extracting an equal amount of fat. If something like this actually exists somewhere – and I wouldn’t be shocked – please don’t tell me. I don’t want to know.
I have to admit, part of me rebels at the notion that this could actually be called “work.” For one thing, doesn’t work, by definition, have to be harder than your vacation?
Speaking of which, as a spa-writer, where do you vacation? A coal mine? A Chinese iPad assembly line? Do you go to your boss and cry, “I’m sorry. My skin is like a baby’s bottom and my brain has turned to mush. I need a little time off driving a taxi cab in Hong Kong to regain my edge.”
I’ve been to spas, of course, as part of a larger press trip, but I could never really enjoy them until the end of the day. I’d always think “I’m a travel writer! I should be Doing Something! Exploring! Hiking! Canoeing! Contracting botulism!”
And only then, in the evening when I came back dog-tired and dirty with a notepad full of notes, would I feel like I’d earned some time in the whirlpool, and if I’d really, really suffered – a massage. At which point, I would just, you know, succumb and emit a protracted, ecstatic “Ahhhhhhhhhhh….”
But then I think, well, maybe I was looking at it backwards. Because the fact is, you still have to write something. It’s just that, with spa-writing, you’re getting the reward first. Or maybe I was just being a grouse, the travel-writing equivalent of those old sourpusses who, when you were a kid, carped, “When I was your age, we had to trudge ten miles in the snow to get to school . And that was in August!” Maybe, when you get down to it, I’m just jealous that I didn’t think of a gig like this years ago.
Be that as it may. The bottom line is, if people are willing to host you and spoil you rotten, and other people are willing to pay you to tell about it — and apparently that’s the case – then, as the song goes, it’s “Nice work if you can get it.”
Why not go and get it.
[Editor’s Note: Learn more about opportunities to profit from your travels (and even from your own home) in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.]