Han Ju Tofu Hot Pot Restaurant, Richmond

Organized by Tourism Richmond, 365 Days of Dining is a year-long contract position where your job is to eat out every day for 365 days and blog about it. Presumably, the goal is to raise some awareness about all the wonderful dining options in Richmond, a suburb just south of Vancouver. This sounds like a terrific opportunity for a food blogger, providing him or her with a daily stipend to eat out, as well as a $50,000 salary, negotiable living costs (including rent!), and a gym membership.

But I’m not applying.

This decision certainly wasn’t taken lightly. I am a freelance writer by trade and I do blog about food not infrequently on Beyond the Rhetoric. And Richmond has lots of good food, from Taiwanese beef noodles to Korean hot pot. I’m already active in social media (a requirement for the position) too, so most of what I’d do with “Richmond 365” would already be second nature to me.

It would be a good opportunity. That’s undeniable. That said, I have my reasons for not applying. First, it will interfere with my primary freelance writing business. If I were to put my long-term relationships on hold, there’s no saying that those writing positions would still be there for me one year down the road.

Somewhat related to that, the food blogger position with Tourism Richmond does not have any days off: there are to be 365 posts about 365 restaurants on 365 days. While it may be negotiable whether you can pre-visit and pre-write some posts in advance, but the general idea is to work at this job every day. This virtually eliminates the opportunity for vacations, but it also means that I may have to forego events like Computex and CES. It’d also take away from the flexibility that I’ve come to enjoy from the work that I do.

Realistically, though, I think the biggest reason why I’ve decided not to apply is that I’ve recently purchased a home in Burnaby and taken on a mortgage. Even if some living expenses were covered, I wouldn’t move out of my Burnaby home completely for Richmond. I wouldn’t want to sacrifice the quality time I have with my wife either.

Maybe I’m just trying to justify the decision in my own head, but I also feel that this food blogger job may be best filled by a non-local. Let him or her explore Richmond (and Greater Vancouver) through eyes that haven’t really explored this area. This will give a fresh perspective and will likely better achieve Tourism Richmond’s goals.

But that’s just me. Good luck to all the applicants and may the best blogger win.