Is adventure only worthy if it’s unpaid?

I have a post up on Slate’s DoubleX blog today about teenage sailor Abby Sunderland – and why she deserves a reality show.

But no one seemed truly disgusted until news emerged earlier this week that the Sunderland family has seven home-schooled children, is “broke,” and had explored a reality-show deal. Now Sunderland was shoved into the more loathsome company of Balloon Boy—over and over and over. (Reminder: Balloon Boy hid in a garage for an afternoon. Abby Sunderland sailed by herself halfway around the world.)

All this derision has an undercurrent of snobbery. Abby’s critics seem to pine for the days when only the already rich could embark on around-the-world adventures, as if anyone who dares to make money by selling the story of their travel doesn’t deserve to leave home.


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