So I go to London next week for yet another LP author workshop. I’ve known I was going for a few weeks, but I waited until now to make this information public, so as to not give my groupies and stalkers enough time to coordinate a Beatles-caliber reception rally at the airport. As you may have gathered by now, I like to conduct myself with a certain quiet dignity and maintaining that composure becomes difficult when faced with ear-piercing screams and a hail of bras and panties.
To get from Sardinia to London, I’ll be flying RyanAir for the first time in over three years. The last time I flew with these jackholes, they held one of my bags hostage for 56 euros and I came a whisker away from having Brussels airport security hogpile me. Rumor has it that even while finding new, creative ways to fleece budget travelers (a group of people who generally don’t take well to being fleeced, as Brussels airport security can now confidently attest), RyanAir have supposedly improved their customer service since our last encounter and have actually begun to clearly state their fleecing ways on their web site, rather than making it up on an airport-by-airport basis. So, they’re still shameless, deplorable grifters, but at least you know you’re being grifted before you’re standing there with two choices: pay them 56 euros or kiss you’re suitcase (or in my case, all earthly possessions) goodbye. I still get pissed off when I think about that. And good on them for putting up a bulletproof window at the penalties collection desk, otherwise that conniving woman would have gone home that night with one less eyebrow.
So this is my second LP author workshop in a year. I’m gonna start dropping hints now for an invite to the Melbourne workshop in the fall (or spring depending on your hemisphere) and make it a trifecta, which isn’t as outlandish as it may seem if a certain job opportunity comes to fruition. More on that when I can intelligently write about it.
In any case, I’ve somehow managed to stay in good standing with LP to warrant this invitation, despite having only done one full-on guidebook gig and dropping my pants during dinner at the last workshop in San Francisco – quiet dignity is technically maintained if you’re too shitfaced to actually remember the rowdy, disgraceful parts and I’ve updated Wikipedia’s entry on the subject accordingly.
I’m also tentatively slated to do a budget traveler writing gig while in London, which I also cannot write about here until I get more details, but suffice to say it’ll involve wholesale discomfort, walking 10 miles a day to avoid outrageous Tube fares and eating bread and jam for lunch and dinner for an extended period, a niche that seems to be attaching itself to me more and more, despite my best efforts at pitching ingenious Stupefying Envy projects.
More importantly, my departure for London will signal a new chapter of wretched homelessness (or sexy homelessness depending on your aesthetic viewpoint). From London, I’ll come back to Sardinia for a scant three days to do laundry and shake off my Strongbow hangover and then I move out of my Apartment of Solitude permanently, departing on an unholy odyssey of travel and writing that I’ve tentatively title “Leif’s Lazily Titled Unholy Odyssey of Travel and Writing, Jackhole”.
I’m booked for five consecutive magazine assignments: Tunis, Florence, Venice, Ibiza (including Majorca and Minorca) and Barcelona. I’ll start by taking the direct ferry from Cagliari to Tunis, Tunisia. Spend five days or so there, then take another ferry to Malta, because it’s there and I deserve it. After a week or so there, I’ll take a budget flight to Pisa and jump on the first train to Florence. After a couple days of research and writing an itty-bitty article, I’ll take a train to Venice, where I’ll spend about a week researching and writing a mammoth destination piece. Then I train to Bologna where I’ll get a budget flight to Ibiza. I’ll party my ass off in Ibiza, Majorca and Minorca (in the most quietly dignified, business traveler way, obviously) and then fly to Barcelona. In Barcelona, I’ll need a few days to recover from “island research”, write it all up and finally, research and write about Barcelona. Am I unholy or what?
I figure it’ll take 6-8 weeks to do it all, which may seem like an eternity until you factor in the incessant hangovers and the glacial speed of my productive writing of late, which may or may not be related, so I’m gonna assume not. Also, this’ll be my first stint of unremitting homelessness lasting more than two weeks in over two years. Although it’s no comparison, my last more-than-two-week trip was a 10 month excursion through Australia, New Zealand and Asia. I came home from that one dangerously underweight, mentally impaired and so utterly beaten that I almost got detained at Singapore airport just for my appearance. Well that and I looked a wee bit different from my passport picture, taken three years earlier, on account of the almost 40 pound weight difference and the cartoon-like bags under my eyes. True story.
Moreover, after Barcelona, I’ve got no work confirmed, which is a tad terrifying and potentially expensive. Even budget travel becomes expensive if you end up living out of hostels for weeks/months with no money coming in. I’ve just gotta have faith that more work will crystallize or that a new temporary home option presents itself before my bank account zeros out. Thus the wretchedness versus sexiness debate.
Each time I face a trip like this I get the stage fright. Fears of the unknown immediate future aside, there’s always the nagging dread that I’ve become too soft pull this sort of hardcore travel off or, as my mother constantly fears, that I’ll be snatched and sold into white slavery in Mauritania. But it never fails, a few days into the trip and I’m back to being the travel writing superhero that I am and all goes well from there on out. Pity me or envy me as you see fit.
On an unrelated note, it’s come to my attention that Salma Hayek is not only engaged to some jackhole, but also knocked up. This is more than even my delusional outlook on fantasy girlfriend candidates can handle, so I’m afraid that Salma is hereby being dropped from her regular guest appearances on this blog as my Hot Babe Ideal and being replaced in the top spot by the now single Michele Hunziker. Natalie Portman is being moved up from Honorable Mention to First Alternate which means I’m looking for someone to fill the Honorable Mention slot. Suggestions and semi-nude photos welcome.
On a secondary unrelated note that you shouldn’t ask about, because I’m not telling, does anyone know how I might ask/request/coerce someone into lending me their late model Lamborghini for a couple months? It has to be in Italy, insured up the ass and, of course, sexy as hell, as if that weren’t possible with a Lamo, but you never know with this developing Pimp My Ride, New Money generation welding on whale fins, curb feelers and wind chimes on their otherwise fine cars.
I’m also in the market for a Note-Taking Nymph, either based in Europe or who can get herself to Europe on her own dime. Qualified candidates should be smokin’ hot, willing to treat me like a god (either through elaborate feigning or genuinely, it’s all the same to me) and able to tolerate moderate to advanced eccentric (yet somehow loveable) behavior by her boss. Italian language skills a huge plus. No weirdos.
Trial runs can be done in April and May at any of the destinations I listed above. Send resume and provocative photos to my agent.