The “Where Were You in 2009?” contest

By Armond Noble
This item appears on page 77 of the June 2010 issue.

An American couple was visiting Germany. At dinner, the waiter asked if they would like a drink first. The man said, “Dry martini.” His wife said, “Dry martini.” The waiter brought six martinis to the table.

A Canadian was traveling in Australia. In Sydney, his taxi was in a horrible accident. When he woke up in a hospital, he realized he was covered in bandages from head to toe. He saw a nurse and said, “Did you bring me here to die?” She replied, “No, you were brought here yesterday.”

Now to some serious matters....

The recent economic battering caused, in the US alone, the closing of about 490 magazines (including three that I was subscribing to). Thankfully, ITN is still here — in large part due to one very important factor: our fine readers’ sending in the names and addresses of their traveling friends. To each address we receive, we send a free sample copy of this magazine. And that is how, economically, we get our new subscribers. And to ease any fears, let me state again: names and addresses go no further.

The “Where Were You in 2009?” contest proved to be highly popular. The winners will be announced in next month’ s issue, with the contest’s end date being about one week prior to when I next write this monthly note to you. The comments (accompanying the entries) that readers made about ITN and how much they like it, many using the word “love,” meant a great deal to all of us here. There are some more contests — and prizes — upcoming, so stay tuned.

In the late 1960s I went to New Guinea. The flight was on Qantas and they gave each of the passengers a certificate denoting their crossing of the equator. Well, no airline does such niceties any more. However, the navies of the world seem to make a special fuss when they have crewmembers who cross the equator for the first time. And so will we.

But, considering the abundant travels of ITN readers, the special honor we’re offering comes with some extra, more stringent requirements. Here goes. 1) Crossing the Equator. 2) Crossing the International Date Line. 3) Crossing the Zero Meridian. You need to have made all three crossings — though each can have been done by land, sea or air.

What does this qualify you for? A certificate we’re calling the “Shellback Plus” award. So check your journals and scrapbooks to find the approximate year and general location that you accomplished each of the three feats, jot them on a slip of paper and write in for your award. The certificate costs six dollars, postage included. Put it in a frame and cover up the cracks in the basement wall.

If you have an idea for a travel award, let us know.

A word to those who may be seeing ITN for the first time — all of the letters and almost all of the destination feature articles you see are written by our readers. You’re invited to send in your writing.

Now, don’t be mad at us if we don’t print your article. In the immortal words of the late William Goldman, “Nobody knows anything.” If your article doesn’t get printed, don’t take that as the final judgment on its merit. I just read about a book turned down by many, many publishing houses. Finally, one firm published it (Tinkers by Paul Harding) and it won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature!

There are numerous classic stories about publishers missing the boat. There was one publisher who turned down, in the morning, “Born Free” and, that afternoon, “Catch 22.” Then there was the editor who looked at Thor Heyerdahl’ s “Kon Tiki” and told him that if he shortened it, it might make a good article for National Geographic. And how much later heartburn was there at all the British publishing houses that first turned down “Harry Potter”? Even gin and tonics didn’t ease the pain.