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I had to laugh at myself a minute ago, as I entered yet another sweepstakes to try and win a trip somewhere. This happens frequently; I figure that sooner or later, I’m bound to win one of them. I don’t care if it’s the Yoga Paradise Week in Nicaragua, or the Guided Hike in the Alps or the Love London, Live London contest, or any of the many others I’ve entered. I just want, one day, to open my email and find that I’ve got an email announcing my upcoming, all-expenses-paid adventure.

Is that too much to ask?

Of course, I have to wonder if I would even believe such an email, should I ever receive it. I’d be more likely to mentally toss it into the same category as the emails from the occasional Nigerian prince who pleads access to my bank account, promising only to use it for my benefit.

Like most things, I have some quirky rules for myself around this practice. For instance, I don’t enter every single contest. I understand that some trips are not for me; I’d hate for my entry to get in the way of someone who was really dreaming of Meats Across America. Plus, I understand the unspoken karma of trip-winning; I don’t want to take the chance that my one shot at free travel would be wasted on something that truly doesn’t interest me.

I also don’t enter sweepstakes that require me to buy something, “like” a page on Facebook, or share any information that goes beyond the very basics. I have two non-work email accounts, including an outdated one that is almost exclusively dedicated to all things impersonal, and thus I don’t feel badly about the number of sites to which I am suddenly subscribed. And occasionally, though many of them are ridiculous, I find a great new website in the process.

I know the chances of ever winning one of these trips is slim, to say the least, but hat never stops me. For a moment, as I type in my name and email address, and sometimes even my zip code, I imagine the trip itself: who I would invite as my plus-one; what it would be like to zip-line through the rainforest; whether – given the choice – I’d decide on a tour of Africa or a trek through Asia. There’s an inherent optimism in the practice, delusional though it may be, and sometimes that’s all I need to remember that there are new places to experience, waiting out there for me to discover.

I promise to tell you if ever it happens. In the meantime, I’m off to delete some emails from a foreign prince, trying to give me a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to inflate my bank account, if only I’ll grant him access.

Who else dreams of clouds over a new place, paid for by someone else?

Who else dreams of clouds over a new place, paid for by someone else?

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