Last autumn I had a meeting with the sales and marketing people at Macmillan. My new course, Global, was coming out soon and they wanted to talk about promotion around the world. We chatted about upcoming conferences and possible talks that I would like to give when someone said “We’d like you to blog about something relating to this. What do you think?”
“Sure,” I answered, “What about a travel blog, full of reflections on teaching in different parts of the world, trip anecdotes, inspirational photos of teachers and classrooms in different countries and short video clips done in a documentary-style with a handheld camera? Kind of like a global tour of language teaching today?” (as you can suspect, I had been prepared for such a question).
“Sounds like a great idea. What do you need?” they answered. I made a quick list, which included first class flights, five star hotels, a full set of executive leather luggage, a video recording team of two people and a salary that I thought pretty reasonable for the massive work of the travel blogger that I saw myself becoming. I also wanted a reproduction of an astrolabe, an old navigational instrument which features on the cover of my book. But more on that later.
So, here I am in the non-priority queue for the next Ryanair flight, armed with a budget handheld camcorder on loan and a single carry-on bag. No five star hotel on the horizon, nor a video team to follow me around. This is English language teaching, not banking or Apple products, the head of marketing told me icily. And we are in the credit crunch.
But I managed to get the astrolabe. And I’m totally excited about the next twelve months.