Thursday, December 18

Advise Anyone?

<- Click here A month ago the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania invited me to accept a spot on a March 2009 trade mission to Australia and New Zealand.

Never been there... sounded like a trip of a lifetime. But... but.. but...

While they will pay half of the cost (on everything but dinners/drinks) the mission lasts eight days... in three cities (Melbourne, Sidney and not sure of the New Zealand city yet). It will involve four days in the air going to and from, and however long the trip will take from Australia to New Zealand.

Each day will be filled with meetings (three to five meetings daily). So... eight days of meetings, four days of travel... best part of two weeks away from my work (I am a partner and managing editor of business magazines). Most of my work would involve writing a major piece on the fit between the Pennsylvania business culture and those of the countries I'd visit.

But... but... It will still cost me a lot, and I will lose about two weeks from my management responsibilities and simultaneously have to do a lot of my editing by internet on top of the many hours of work during the days of the trip.

Sigh... In some ways it is a trip of a lifetime (and of course my wife wants to go... hmmm... but for pesky some reason that expenditure is mine, go figure...). I have until Monday December 22 to notify the folks at the commerce dept. re. my decision. And frankly, this is a lot of work and a lot of money for... for... well, I'm kind of wondering what's in it for me. Can't really afford to add more days to the trip away from the job. And while it could be cool to see those cities after work, well, there are a lot of cities I still haven't seen that won't take four days of travel.

Anybody got any advice? Most photo opportunities will be at night when I probably will also have to do my editing chores. Sounds like a whirlwind... and I'm not sure the benefits outweigh the costs. Hulp!

Maybe there will be a spot on a later mission, but there's sure no guarantee. Sigh....

Email always accepted at the email address there on the right... K?

Thanks... Reeeeely appreciate advise especially from folks who live or visit Down Under.



Andreas said...

Rita wants you to accept? I'd say plunge in and go. There's always something to be had, there are always people to meet, and who knows? It may even be worth some pictures :)

MikeH said...

If you decide to go get your enthusiasm rapped around it first, if you can't do that don't go. Oh, one other thing none of us are getting younger.

Ted said...

Interesting Andreas and Mike. I appreciate all the counsel I can get on this decision. I am LEANING... (and only leaning) toward passing on the offer ... at least for this March. However there is still the weekend to consider it but I must call the state official on Monday with my answer. These missions are quite important in generating a lot of trade and if I go it will not be a junket/vacation, especially since I lack the time in this economic environment to extend the trip.

Ted said...

Anyone else? If you want to send me a private email... click on the address in the right column. Thanks....

Gary AKA gymeagary said...

Gooday Ted,
I note you haven't received any free advise from the bottom half of the world so I will add my two cents from Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Firstly this is how we experience travel all the time - it takes a day of traveling and a lot of dollars for us to get anywhere in your hemisphere!

In your circumstances I suspect I might pass, because of the frustrations of not being able to make images. Unless you treat this as a scouting trip for a later opportunity, you will have served your community as part of the Trade Mission and met some important business people, but not had the opportunity to do what you do best, because reflection requires time!

New Zealand is a wonderfully scenic country - some people say like Canada on a small scale - but you are going to find their cities very much small towns to American eyes.

In Australia, in Sydney and Melbourne, you will see our two largest and most cosmopolitan cities but you will have actually missed Australia - even your flight will have only passed over a fraction of a huge continent. I suspect that in comparison it would be like inviting me to the US for meetings in LA and Harrisburg and then home to write a report - sounds like hard work to me unless there are business oportunities in it for you.

Australia is definitely worth the time and dollars for any photographer and writer but time is needed to really absorb the earth's oldest continent


Ted said...

Thanks Gary, you have nailed my apprehension. I cannot imagine that Melbourne and Sidney are Australia. And while I'm certain they are exciting cities... I see exciting cities a lot. I'd like to experience Australia/New Zealand but I don't think this trip promises that opportunity.

mcmurma said...

Ted, I believe I would pass. This sounds like a working trip with an icky twist... you get to foot half the bill! And once you couple that with how much of your time will be tied up in travel and meetings it just loses much (most) of its appeal.

In fact, the only way I would sign on for the trip would be if there was some way to stay another week without the meetings, etc... but then, that would wind up costing even more.

On the other hand, I must admit to having a certain bias towards that area of the world. New Zealand has always been at the top of my "places I'd like to go" list, so to take the opportunity to go on a half stakes paid offer is tempting. Until, of course, you factor in how chained down your movements would be.

Save your money, take the trip you want to take. This one forces you to give up too much.

Ted said...

I think I shall pass Michael for exactly the reasons you've revealed. It's not so much the money, I can easily afford that, rather it's the question - "What's in it for me?" And given that I'll get so little time to experience the reality of these two magical places, it seems almost like a tease... to be there, yet not to be there. It is almost as if I will travel to nowhere. I can be inside of meeting rooms, offices, and hotel rooms anywhere... but to be trapped in them with all of Australia and New Zealand just beyond the walls...seems... hard to take... you know what I mean? That seems like the biggest "cost" of this trip.

bikejohn said...

Ted, sounds like you've come to the same conclusion as I would have. I don't think I'd be willing to pay half the cost when there isn't much in it for me. If you were in a position to take a couple more weeks and really explore the area then I think it would be a great opportunity. You could do something good for your state (and I'm all for giving back to our communities) as well as have a great opportunity to explore a place most of us only dream of visiting.

Merry Christmas!

Ted said...

Merry to you as well John. Actually the cost of a significant article is something which my business routinely picks up, so a subsidy is a windfall gain. The state's remuneration is cool, but ultimately the article is what we do. And given the range of editorial opportunities we have just now, well priorities probably don't put that topic way up at the top.

So lower priority story coupled with the inability to experience the countries kind of makes the decision for me. At least for now. As things change economically, my readers will undoubtedly find international trade opportunities once again important. I hope that I can snag a similar opportunity then.