Recently much has been written about “magazine envy” on the blogosphere. The term describes the uncomfortable feeling one gets when flicking through the pages of say Vogue Living or Better Homes and Gardens. The styled up images on the page do not remotely resemble our own domestic surroundings and this s%@ts us to tears. One of my very favorite bloggers Enid Bite ‘Em is the queen of this type of post (as well as being the High School English teacher I wish I’d had). This chuckle worthy piece should be the definitive word on the subject http://enidbite-em.blogspot.com.au/2012/09/do-you-know-how-to-glide-in-magically.html. However I won’t balk at bringing just a little more to an overladen table. When it comes to magazine envy the luxury travel niche gives me the willies.
Part of my routine on daycare days is to drop the kids off then scoot down the street to a new artisian bakery. Here I sip on my large skinny cappuccino and pick at my freshly made fruit muffin. A Conde Nast Traveler magazine takes pride of place atop of one of the funky communal tables and of course I pick it up. I liken the experience to watching Dr Phil. I know it is bad for me and I know I am going to hate myself for it but its pull is magnetic. I eschew the more intellectual offerings (such that they are – SMH, Fin Review and The Australian) for airbrushed, highly stylized, painfully exotic and excruciatingly priced holiday destinations. I wonder who the target market for this publication is. Most people I know, even the well off types are spending those precious few annual holiday weeks in caravan parks up and down the coast. The very bold and adventurous might do a week in Thredbo. Meanwhile the indulgent bugger off to a tropical resort in QLD or Fiji, dump the progeny in Kids Club and snooze by the pool. (Actually I can’t think of anything more heavenly right now). Nobody I know is able to discuss “Madrid’s best gastro bars and restaurants” or “the lesser spotted Seychelles” with any authority.
The magazine seems to be pitched at minor aristocrats or the idle children of billionaires – those who have both the means and the time to faff about in six star resorts or pay top dollar for an authentic experience in Africa. At present the Conde Nast website features The Spa Awards for 2012. (Why go to a local bakery to get annoyed when you can do it from the comfort of your own desk ). The Spa Awards chronicle the world’s Top 30 spa retreats as voted by the readership. They are are located in disparate destinations from New York to Nepal, Bordeaux to Barbados and Tibet to Tahiti. Sydney even gets a guernsey with CHI at the Shangri-La Hotel. Three parochial cheers. Melbourne also makes the grade but who cares. The mind boogles that there are folk out there who would brave the arduous pilgrimage to Tibet just to get a much need pedicure then vote on it. I can’t even get the time to trek up the street to get my foils retouched. Annoying!
If you find the purple prose about the holistic spa escapes cringe worthy, the fashion spreads are bound to send you into rapid convulsions. The magazine’s showcases ” resort wear” which can be divided into two categories – 1) The lux bohemian look favored by Elizabeth Taylor in the early 1970s* and 2) the sleek silhouette of Jackie Onassis. These looks are staples of the cashed up dowager and I have no problem with them. I gravitate towards the Liz look as I have the arse for it. Unfortunately I don’t quite have the chutzpah. What I take issue with is that the outfits are unfailingly modeled by a 20 year old. I know its all about fantasy but this is a bridge too far. When 20 year old holiday at the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan or similar, they get about in denim hot pants and band T-shirts as they should. As for myself, holiday wear is all about three quarter length pants, pretty tops, Vans sneakers and retro sunglasses. Its indistinguishable from every other day – a bit like motherhood itself.
Just quietly the thing that peeves me the most is that I’ve got a snowballs chance of jetting off to “the destination of the moment – The Philippines” or “undiscovered Italy”. There’s no way I’m doing a long haul flight with the girls. If my husband can tear himself away from work we might do the theme park thing at the “Goldie’ next year. No doubt we’ll have a great time but it doesn’t quite have that glossy magazine cache. Sod off Conde Nast!
Over to you blog fans. High end travel magazines – inspirational or just irritating?
* kaftans, head scarves and way too much jewellery.
Photo credit: All photos shamelessly plundered from the Conde Nast website.