Everyone who knows me in real life can attest to the fact that I have always wanted Rachael Ray's $40 a Day job, and let me emphasize it was well before her TV personality existed. And I wouldn't use lame-o words either, to make you hate me hoping I would eat some bad escargot on the Paris episode!
In my circle of friends and acquaintances, I am known for being the Unpaid Travel Agent. I have people calling me and asking for help with trips and even though it takes a lot of time, I just love it!
I even tried to make some money at it, and failed. Before I was HTML savvy, a relative made a "travel advice" website for me. But I just couldn't figure out how I would charge people for advice that I thought should be helpful and budget conscious. Then I, embarrassingly, got roped into a "Become a Travel Agent from Home" scheme that I am only divulging to you all because I remain anonymous. (Funny that the company fell through just days after they received my $69. )
I also wrote for Epinions.com when it was just a baby. And that is where I actually did make money! I made exactly $440.06 total from writing travel reviews. I even used my I'm-a-paid-travel-reviewer clout one time on an airline when they refused to change our seat assignment so my then 3-year old daughter wasn't sitting 40 rows behind me next to a stranger.
I made homemade destination packets for friends going to Hawaii, and they actually used them and said it really made their trip! Recently I helped a dear friend's sister (who I only know through e-mail) with her first trip to Paris. I got the nicest thank-you and I really do feel there is more happiness in giving, especially when it involves travel.
I'm no longer wishing to make money with travel advice, that was just an early-Internet-Days dream. I moved on to Ebay and found myself a little niche there back then. But speaking of Epinions, I haven't been back to that site in years to write anything. So, inspired by speaking about it in this post, I opened up my account, and after plugging in 100 different passwords I possibly could have used back in 1999, I finally found the winning number.
I have been reading my stuff and I have a mixture of feelings about it. Now that I am writing again, I find that I wrote about many of the same feelings and experiences that I have here. Some of the phrases are the same, some are how I wanted to portray it 8 years ago but didn't have the articulation that I do now (not that I am articulate, just more-so than back then.) I have the same sense of humor, the same pet-peeves and the same passions, only maybe more balanced nowadays.
And so back to Rachael, I still believe she stole my job idea. And you would have liked me! I would never have tried to force you to say "EVOO" and I still would have taken you to Paris, sure, but I would also take you to lesser-known places that I fell in love with and that is where I'd make you a nice comfy spot to watch and dream and you would quickly fall in love with those places too....
And so, with that in mind, let me leave you with a YouTube video I found of Carcassonne. It is hours from Paris, but the charm of this Cité leaves the City of Lights in the dust...in my Epinion anyway.