I’ve been home from my trip to Haiti and South America for about a week now, and I didn’t expect to go anywhere for a while.
Then all of a sudden, I got an email from Air New Zealand… offering to bring me along with a group of journalists going to the South Pacific for a press event. The offer came via Chris Brogan, who recommended me to Air New Zealand – big thanks to Chris for that.
The interesting thing was I only had about five days notice before the trip (and 24 hours to decide). I liked the idea of heading out to the South Pacific on less than one week’s notice, so naturally I said yes.
Lesson: if you get an email from Air New Zealand offering to fly you down to the Cook Islands, take a serious look at it.
I’ll be writing about the press event while I’m there, and will post updates on Oregon Live and Huffington Post, as I do at least once a week now. Of course, live updates are also on Twitter from wherever I am – so far I’ve posted from about 35 countries, I think.
Where Are the Cook Islands?
Don’t feel bad if you haven’t heard of them – but by all accounts, the Cook Islands are an interesting place. This group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean is a “self-governing democracy in free association with New Zealand.” What that means is that the Cooks are not really a country by U.N. standards (New Zealand is responsible for defense, for example) but the islands maintain their own foreign relations with other countries around the world.
If it sounds complicated, that’s how it can be for a number of places around the world with varying degrees of independence. For my own travel goal, I chose to focus mostly on the U.N. list not because I agree with all of the politics, but mostly because I needed to go with some kind of list and it seemed easiest.
Anyway, here’s a map:
I’m going over on the Sunday night red-eye from LAX, so by the time you read this, I may already be there for the p.r. event on the 18th. Afterwards I’ll stay around for a couple of days to see the rest of the main island (and hopefully one other island) before coming home. Other than the 18th, the schedule is open-ended, but that’s good since it’s just a short trip.
This is the first time an airline has ever offered to host me on a trip. As mentioned, I said yes because the dates fit my schedule and I’ve never been to the Cooks. Since they don’t want anything from me in return except for an open-ended commitment to write about it, I don’t see any reason why I shouldn’t hop on the plane.
However, now that airlines are offering to host me (well, at least one airline so far), I realized I should create some kind of disclosure policy. I’m not a real travel writer – I write more about the process of travel, the practical aspects of how to go anywhere, and the random things that happen to me around the world.
I pay my own way everywhere I go, but that’s mostly because no company has ever offered to help out. As long as I disclose any relationships that come up, I don’t really think it’s a problem to accept a trip like this. Travel companies of the world, feel free to send me partnership offers. I like the upper deck of the plane, but I don’t mind sleeping on the floor of the airport. (Well, not all the time – just once in a while.)
Unfortunately, I doubt that any sponsorship opportunities are forthcoming from Congo Airlines or Air Guinee – many of the places where I really need to go are fairly difficult to get to on major carriers.
OK – Time to Head Out
Six days notice is more than enough time to go anywhere, and what I pack doesn’t really change from place to place. I hope your week is amazing, and I’ll see you next from Rarotonga in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
Image: Air New Zealand