You want to climb to Machu Picchu? Well, go on then... but I'm not going to shell out for your trip while I stay at home
Here’s a wheeze: I’ve got a hankering to tickle my palate with the gourmet seven-course Menu Prestige at Gordon Ramsay’s flagship eatery, washed down with a couple of bottles of Château Lafite. How’d you fancy clubbing together with friends and family to sub me a couple of grand so I can enjoy a slap-up, Michelin-starred noshfest? I promise I’ll donate any leftover cash to charity. So it’s all in a good cause, really.
Oh, but it’s perfectly acceptable for you to ask me to ‘sponsor’ you so you can fulfil your life’s ambition to trek the Inca Trail, is it? Yes, of course – why don’t you waft off to Peru for a fortnight, do a pleasant hike and take in a few pre-Columbian ruins while you’re there? I’ll happily stump up a ‘donation’ to help you reach the target that means you get to enjoy the whole bonanza gratis.
I know, I’m being ever so slightly facetious. Don’t get me wrong – I don’t blame the organisers. After all, if that’s what it takes to overcome the apathy of the charity-supporting public and coerce it into reaching for its collective wallet, so be it.
There’s no denying that these things raise large slabs of cash for the causes – and it certainly feels more justifiable when the challenge really is, well, challenging. (Come on – don’t tell me the joyful sight of Chris Moyles in vertigo-induced terror on Kilimanjaro last year didn’t have you pouncing on the phone to call Comic Relief’s donation hotline? That alone was worth the three million quid the celebs raised on the climb.) And if your blister-busting efforts keep the important issues in the public eye, even better.
The big question is: where’s the cash actually going? If you’re putting your hand in your own pocket to cover the actual cost of your trip, fine and dandy. But if a substantial chunk of the donations is subsidising your jolly – rather than being used to feed starving children/find a cure for cancer/keep destitute travel magazine publishers in ready meals – well, you’ve lost me.
So go on. Trek trails. Cycle hills. Tell yourself you’re changing the world. Just don’t expect me to foot the bill – you can pay for your own holidays.