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A Rough Guide to GUFF (4 of several)

Part 4: So what actually happens on a GUFF trip?

In parts 1, 2 and 3 I talked a bit about what GUFF is and how it's funded, but now I think it's time to get into the details of what actually goes on when you get there.

Of course the details vary, and each GUFF delegate has their own way of doing things, but that's what makes trip reports worth reading. There are, of course, traditions that must be observed.

Every GUFF trip centres around at least one convention, usually the biggest con in the destination country that year. Naturally, when there's a Worldcon on either continent that tends to be the target, which sometimes requires a little juggling of the trip schedule to ensure it's going in the right direction that year. Other years it tends to be Eastercon for northbound trips and Natcon for southbound ones.

Where possible, delegates often try to take in an extra con. For example, last year's delegates hopped over to Ireland for P-Con, which was a couple of weeks before Eastercon. This year the New Zealand national convention conveniently falls just before the Aussie Worldcon, so there's a good chance of it being included.

At the convention, the delegate will have certain duties, as previously. They are also expected to socialise and do everything in their power to help improve relations bet European and Australian fandom. Usually the convention will make an important contribution by offering free membership and sometimes even free accommodation, which amounts to a significant saving for the fund.

GUFF delegates will often team up with delegates from other fan funds, such as TAFF (between Europe and North America) or DUFF (between Australia ans North America), depending on which country they happen to be in. They'll usually be called upon to present some sort of award, and they'll often appear on panels. And, of course they'll help with the fan fund auction.

After the convention, things diverge from trip to trip, but visiting other fans generally features heavily. Often local fans will put up the delegate, again saving on the cost to the fund.

Usually the trip will last several weeks, since there's no point in going so far for just a weekend. Sometimes fans will extend the trip out to a couple of months. Some fans consider that too long for uninterrupted fanish activity, so they interrupt it for some personal sightseeing.

Hopefully they will come back with a better understanding of fandom on the other side of the world, some great memories, and a lot of new friends. And then they'll write a trip report about it all.

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