The Perks of Being an Intern

My heart fluttered when I saw these gems.

My heart fluttered when I saw these gems at the Heartland Antique Mall.

Most stories you hear about internships are wrought with errands, impatient bosses, and little to no pay. While I am unpaid, I must say there’s a lot of value in this here internship, and perks besides.

At Missouri Life our main priority is the magazine, obviously, but we are also out for hire on special publications, such as books, calendars, and visitor guides. I worked on the latter two for Lebanon, Missouri, which is about two hours south of Columbia.

My main job was just to go around and see the sights and take photos of people enjoying Lebanon. That was easy enough, aside from getting turned around and maybe breaking a few traffic laws. But I didn’t realize I would be practically vacationing as well.

There was fishing galore at Bennett Springs.

There was fishing galore at Bennett Springs.

What drew me to Lebanon this time of the year was the Brumley Gospel Festival. This was the very festival that booked every room in town and caused me to seek lodging in Osage Beach instead, which is about 30 minutes from Lebanon. When writers or photographers travel to work on a story, Missouri Life tries to set them up for free somewhere by offering the establishment discounted or free advertisement in the future. A trade, as they call it. So I was set up at The Inn at Harbour Ridge, a quality bed and breakfast (or as I kept calling it, a bread and breakfast).

To say I was getting the royal treatment would be a cliché but it would be fairly accurate. We arrived and one of the owners immediately showed us around, describing all of the freebies and amenities we were receiving. Then we rested in the room titled “Love’s Nest”, ate dinner there, and returned to Lebanon to cover the festival that had put me at this lovely B&B. When we returned the bed was freshly remade, the lights were dimmed, and our trash had been cleared away. We had only been gone two hours! I felt almost guilty since I wasn’t technically paying for the room, but they treated us as any other guests.

Did I mention there were cookies and chocolate already in the room? Fresh too.

You live the good life at The Inn at Harbour Ridge.

You live the good life at The Inn at Harbour Ridge.

Even if I hadn’t gotten to stay at such a fine establishment, I would have enjoyed the trip nonetheless. I enjoy traveling, especially if my gas is reimbursed, and I’m taking photos of new things. In my 21 years I had only been to Lebanon once before, when I was rather young. And it’s only two hours away from my hometown. It’s an antiquing/thrifting haven; how could I have missed that?

I wanted to buy up the whole store, all 40,000 square feet of it.

Oh Heartland Antique Mall; I wanted to buy up the whole store, all 40,000 square feet of it.

Another cliché but often true: if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. Now I may have been walking around in the sun, crouching in corners, standing on chairs, and doing just about everything else to get the shot, but I can truly say that I didn’t feel like I was working that much. “Take photos,” they say, “but of course!” I respond. It’s what I do, and I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it, perks or no.

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