I won a trip around the world. No strings attached. Free air travel (coach), free accommodations (1.5 stars or less), daily stipend for food and excursions.
I won the trip at my wife’s company Christmas party. I was to leave on January 1st. One-year time limit. I could go anywhere I wanted, but I was not to return to the U.S. until the following December, on the day of the next Christmas party; otherwise, all costs would revert to me; this was because the plane ticket deal would terminate with any trip back to the U.S.
The idea behind the contest? To sllow an average American to discover the planet and all the diversity it offers. I was to send back an email from time to time, describing my adventures.
I had some doubts. I’d be away from my new wife for a year. I thought that perhaps she could join me, here and there, now and then, but she said, “Honey, I’ll be so busy at work, it just won’t be possible.”
She works for her company’s boss, Frank, and he picked my name out of a big hat. I guess he warned my wife in advance that she wouldn’t be free to come to me anytime in the coming year, due to business concerns. My wife is his right-hand man.
She wouldn’t hear of me turning down the trip. She told me it was the chance of a lifetime to, how did she put it, learn something worth knowing rather than sitting on my fat ass watching TV for the rest of my stupid, boring life. It made sense.
I visited more than 100 countries. I lost count after a while. One thing that I noticed was that very few of them have TV in English. Also, very few of them know or care about football. Most of them do not refrigerate their beer. Finally, most of the hotels I was able to stay in seemed to have a lot of lonely women around.
The cost of calling my wife was not covered by my prize, but I did it anyway sometimes. She always seemed bubbly and happy to hear from me and when I called and caught her in bed at night, she was so happy to hear my voice that she would pant and moan in delight.
The year of adventure has sort of dragged. I got beat up a couple of times. I caught a disease or two, or three, but I don’t know their names in English. Mostly, though, it was all OK, knowing that when I get back I will be more well-rounded and deserving of my wife’s love and respect.
I did get a phone call from Frank the other day, the head of the company. He told me that the company was going to repeat the contest for the coming year, and that since I would be back for the Christmas party, he would be putting my name in the hat again.