New York Times Travel Show

10 02 2009

On Saturday afternoon, at a travel writing workshop in a stale (but relatively packed) subterranean room in the terrible Javits Center, Max Hartshorne and Kent St. John, editors from GoNOMAD.com, both mentioned that travel writers are some of the worst complainers out there. It was funny, but as I sat there, tired and a little grumpy from a long day of wandering the show floor carting increasingly heavier bags of pamphlets and materials on sundry places and cursing the Q train that would inevitably be as slow getting me home as it was delivering me that morning, I realized they were certainly correct. I mean I was, after all, at a TRAVEL SHOW, and despite the throngs wandering aimlessly through the crowded booths, I had seen some good dancing, sipped the Peruvian corn drink Chicha, and entered countless drawings, one of which I am bound (please, please?) to win.

And so, despite my griping, as, according to Max and Kent, only a good travel writer can do, I’d say, overall, the show was a success. I missed, alas, the trade day on Friday, so had to face the crowds of people actually planning trips, but I collected some great information and cultivated some new wanderlust. Top of the list now, in addition to the longstanding Petra and Russia, are Brescia, Guatemala, and(random, I know) Maine. I met a few people in the industry and ran into a few from the World Hum party and I came home with perhaps more information than I will ever need.

Some standout booths were: the Mesoamerican Ecotourism Alliance, GoPhilanthropic, and Intrepid Travel. In addition to GoNOMAD.com’s very popular and informative wrokshop, I also attended “What’s New for Solo and Women Travelers” (answer: women are traveling sans males more often and are getting gustier about it all the time) and Travel Through the Eyes of Travel Writers, a panel talking about travel and travel writing tips from some of the best established in the business.

Perhaps the most entertaining moments of the day, however, were spent gawking at all the costumed enthusiasts at the nearby Comic Con (yikes) and then discovering the little known “booth” occupied by “Brooklyn Rugby.” Read: two Brooklyn boys who were turned away from Comic Con and managed to find themselves a table on the show floor, which they decorated with pamphlets from an interesting (and totally without rhyme or reason) array of destinations. I think I may have been the only one to stumble dazedly into their booth after a long day of gazing at tables overflowing with literature. At least they said I was the honorary winner of their drawing (a “front row” seat at the next Brooklyn rugby match), and had the pleasure of poking fun at their rumpled, “just rolled out of bed to attend Comic Con” attire.

All in all, a successful day, and I did my best not to complain about the crowded subway car that took the local route home. (When I say “did my best” I mean “failed miserably.”)

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