How many times have you found yourself on the open road thinking: ‘I know someone who would love this!’? Chances are if you have friends or interests aside from gazing at yourself in a mirror, this thought has crossed your mind. It’s amazing how often we travellers put the enjoyment of others ahead of our own needs, forsaking insurance for the selfless act of travel scouting. Noble globetrotters, we are.
How wicked would it be if our job was to give recommendations to other travellers? Instead of scrimping and saving, someone else could foot the bill! (Note: If this is your job or if you are the beneficiary of some sort of trust fund and find the concept of payment for goods/services to be foreign, you have my loathing contempt). Of course it could get tedious like any other job, or you could become depressed by the notion of solely serving the whims of your patrons… but on the other hand, free trips! Wee!
I have never been fortunate enough to be sent somewhere solely to enjoy it and report back, but I have done a little scouting of my own. During my last trip abroad, I was doing some recon for my mom and grandparents – they were hoping to use my judgment to gauge whether the hot spots of Italy were suited to older travellers with reduced mobility.
This may put off some people but I found it added a whole new element to my sightseeing. Things I may have only given a cursory glance to before, such as the narrow corridors/confined spaces of the route to the Sistine Chapel or the relative ease of passage on the Via dell’Amore between Riomaggiore and Manarola in Cinque Terre jumped out at me. Much like studying a novel in school makes you aware of certain ideas and details, travel became better with purpose.
After returning home, I applied this methodology to my previous trips and realized there’s a whole new side to travelling that I really enjoy. It’s great to get out there and see things just for the sake of seeing them, but it doesn’t have to stop there. Sure, it can be a bit tricky when you’re looking for people with very different interests than yourself or out of your age group, but so long as you try new things and ensure your grandparents get travel insurance over 65 years of age (even if you skip it), you can be a great travel scout without doing anything extravagant.
And think of the karma!