I am so excited. I've had this day marked off on my calendar for months, and today has finally arrived. As I write this, I'm on my way to New York's JFK airport, where Christine Palladino - a total stranger until about 45 minutes ago - and I will be starting our 18-hour journey to Bangkok. Once there, we will spend the weekend seeing as much of Thailand as we can in 50+ hours, then we'll be getting back on a plane for another 18-hour trip back to New York.
Christine will have the rest of the week - the month! - to recover from this insanity, but I will be doing this all over again next Friday - getting on a plane with a total stranger, hurtling around the world, running around like a sprinter, flying back to New York, taking Chance, the Weather Dog for a run in the park, then getting on another plane with another stranger the following Friday.
What am I putting myself through? This is All-Access, and it's really one of the greatest projects I've worked on in my career. Because who can believe that I get to explore corners of the world I've never seen before and - get this! - go for free AND get paid for it. It's just ridiculous. I hope no one at CBS corporate finds out.
Christine sent in an application to be one of the six All-Access travelers selected from six different cities (she's from Long Island, N.Y. and received the news that she'd be accompanying me while she was at GM Plaza, watching us do The Early Show). I don't know much about her yet, but I do know she's a devoted mom who has raised four children, including a son with Down Syndrome. And she says she is, at heart, an adventurer, which is why she's so perfect for this trip; there won't be any complaining about "Oh, I'm sooo tired" or "gee, when is the plane going to land," right, Christine? Right??
In the coming weeks, we might be in a city near you: Charlotte (Oct. 19); San Francisco (Oct. 26); Philadelphia (Nov. 2); Boston (Nov. 9) and Chicago (Nov. 16). And if you have a dream trip, if you have the need to step out of your comfort zone for a few days of true adventure,and tell us about yourself. I don't know all the other places in the world we'll be visiting during this All-Access, but, trust me, they will be far-flung, exotic, exciting and, most of all, fun.
And if you're an armchair adventurer, then be sure to watch The Early Show every Friday to find out where we're going and every Wednesday to watch what we did once we got there. There'll also be some exclusive photos and video here on our Web site. And did I mention there's a separate web contest for people who aren't near any of the cities we're visiting - stay tuned to find out how you can enter.
Well, we're almost at the terminal and I'm getting butterflies in my stomach. Don't worry, Mr. Palladino, we'll take good care of your wife. I promise, she'll come back with a view of the world she could have only imagined a week ago, plus a real appreciation for tom yum gung, pla lard prik, and pad thai. Mmm, mmm.