If you were to win a contest where the prize was a trip around the world, would you accept it? Before you answer, there is a catch. You will be filmed for a TV show which will document your experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Oh, there is another catch, because the show needs to highlight certain destinations based on a book, and producers will need to adhere to a certain time line, and you'll get to see these great places, however you'll basically have to do what the producers tell you for 3 months.
The Travel Channel's new 1,000 Places takes a newlywed couple through 13 countries, and 100 of the places mentioned in the book 1,000 Places To See Before You Die. The station found the couple through a typical search that was open to the public.
I watched the first episode, where we are introduced to Albin and Melanie Ulle as they tour Alaska. They seem like very nice people, experiencing extraordinary places. I have little knowledge of the production aspects of the show, however I'm going to make some assumptions.
- The majority of their trip is paid for by the show (they pay for incidentals and souvenirs)
- The most interesting and adventurous activities are scripted (they have little say in what they do, where they go)
- They inherently act differently when being filmed (even if subconsciously)
The show has me wondering whether I would accept such a trip. On the plus side, I'd experience things I could not otherwise afford on a budget trip, such as the occasional five-star accommodations or a helicopter ride to a glacier. I'd gain some temporary fame as a result of being on a TV show, which could open up new opportunities. Just being on TV would be darn cool. On the down side, I'd lose the freedom of choice I love about independent travel – the ability to go anywhere I want, any time. I would have my travel experiences broken up by the need to share my thoughts in a video diary type format. Not having to pay for much, I would be lacking a sense of fulfillment because I didn't really have to work for the money in order to make the trip a reality.
What would I do, you ask? I'd like to think, deep down, that I would have the strength to decline the offer, in favor of doing it myself. Now, after the first RTW trip is completed, all bets are off!
Would you accept a sponsored trip around the world? Leave a comment and let us know.