Beauty and the Backpacker: Ben Groundwater and Emma Markezic's travel challenge

Beauty meets the Backpacker in new video series

Ben Groundwater and Emma Markezic team up and travel the world in Fairfax Media's new video series 'Beauty and the Backpacker'. Check out the trailer.

"What safety equipment do we get?" Marky asks as we stand outside the sky-diving centre, preparing to go in for our jump. 

I have to laugh: "A parachute".

This is my long-time friend and travel buddy Emma "Marky" Markezic, and she's not up for this. She likes cocktails, drunk by resort pools. She likes massages in day spas. She likes luxury cruise liners and five-star hotels. She does not like being forced to jump out of a plane at 16,000 feet.

But that's what this trip is all about: doing things we don't like. Or rather, being forced to do things we don't like. 

That's the premise for our new online video series, Beauty and the Backpacker. Marky and I might be friends, but we couldn't be more different when it comes to our travel preferences. 

I'm a travel writer who's spent his life roughing it as a backpacker, staying in stinky hostels and trying to get off the beaten track. Marky is a columnist and comedian who writes about relationships and reality TV, and thinks roughing it is staying somewhere that doesn't have a pillow menu. 

So we're going travelling together. Each of us plans half the trip, and forces the other one to tag along. We not only get a great insight into everything a destination has to offer, from budget to luxury, adventure to relaxation, but we get to laugh at the other person flailing around outside of their comfort zone while experiencing it.

Our first stop is Wanaka, a small town on the South Island of New Zealand that's known for its adventure activities, as well as its wineries and luxury hotels. It's perfect for a beauty and a backpacker. 

Marky wants to head to a celebrity-friendly retreat high in the mountains. I want to jump out of an aeroplane. This is going to be interesting…

See also: Australia: Have we become a nation of idiots?
See also: Is it OK to cheat on your partner when you travel overseas?

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