Back when we punched the clock for other publishers, our annual travel budgets were twenty-grand, max. Which translated into two weeks on the North Shore for a couple of shooters, an extremely good time at Bells with an amount set aside for the inevitable damage to the hire car and one run to the Mentawais to boost the files and sharpen the bronze.
Well, what happens when two financially cretinous publishers with $100,000 loans get their fingers on a cheque book, free from any crotchety accountant throwing a blanket on the spending? Think, a river of money. Think, spending of a sort not seen in modern civilisation since Herr Hitler poured billions of marks into the building of the Third Reich.
Once the gates were opened, it became genuinely hard to ease back on the reins. First class to Puerto Vallarta? Charge it! The Sheraton Hotel in KL for an extra $500 a night! You take Visa? Last-minute full economy fares for two video guys to Malaysia even though we have absolutely no use for anything but stills? Of course!
When the final cheque had been cashed and after the last swipe of plastic, we’d been to Mexico twice (and paid three photographers to join us), spent a long weekend in LA at The Standard supine in its rooftop waterbed pods, and had flown a troupe of the world’s best to Kuala Lumper, Malaysia, to ride the Sunway Lagoon wavepool – Joel Parkinson, Tim Curran, Taj Burrow, Trent Munro and Brenden Margieson just some of the surfers enlisted into the production of the magazine.
Twenty grand for a year’s travel? Impossible! We blew thirty k in a month.
Which may prove to be suicidal for the business.
Which isn’t going to win us any small business awards.
But did we have a fine time?
Are the memories still pinballing in our heads?
Are we gold-booked frequent flyers?
Did we get photos that are genuine world exclusives?