Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The glamorous life of the guidebook updater

"You must have the best job in the world!" the couple at the next table gushed, having just learned that I was staying at their Assos hotel while updating part of the Fodor's Turkey guidebook.

While there are certainly some jealousy-inducing perks to guidebook work – like getting the VIP treatment at that lovely establishment (including a divine breakfast featuring fresh-baked bread, local cheeses and olives, spicy pepper dip, and homemade pistachio and chili jams) – most of what's involved is far less glamorous than fellow travelers might think.

My days on the North Aegean (one of my favorite parts of Turkey) last summer were largely spent getting up early, guzzling copious amounts of Nescafe, and then racing from one hotel, restaurant, or historic site to the next, checking opening hours, prices, menus, room features, and other nitty-gritty details, then collapsing in a sweaty mess (it was August, after all) on a bus that would take me to the next destination, where the process would start all over again.

Nearly a year later, the fruits of these labors have made it into the 8th edition of Fodor's Turkey, with "Chapter 3: The Sea of Marmara and the North Aegean" – much of which is also available online – bearing my mark as updater. Friend and colleague Vanessa Larson's imprimatur is on the "Istanbul" and "Cappadocia and Central Turkey" chapters. I hope our work helps point travelers in the right direction – and that on my next trip to the North Aegean, I'll be packing my bikini and beach towel instead of my reporter's notebook and pen!

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