Where in the world is Matt Lauer? At home, wussing out


Every spring, Matt Lauer of NBC's Today takes a jet-setting trip around the world, one destination a day, for a week. The "Where in the World is Matt Lauer?" series is one of the show's most popular regular segments. This year, though, Lauer isn't going into the world. He's staying home. After soliciting ideas from viewers about where he should go, producers said they decided to keep him in the U.S. because going abroad "sent the wrong message."

"Going from Paris to the Pyramids felt potentially out of touch," explained a producer.

Give me a break. "The wrong message"? I accept that luxury travel isn't cool anymore. But it's not as if international travel is wasteful. Only extravagant travel can be wasteful. And there are plenty of places in America that will drain your wallet, so it's not like staying in America proves anything.

If it's about money, send him to the Pyramids with a backpack and a hostel membership, or fly him to Paris on one of those $700 week-long air-and-hotel packages. First, it would be proof that Americans' dream trips are indeed possible with diligence and saving. But I'd be wiling to bet a scrupulously planned foreign trip wouldn't be much more expensive than what it costs Americans to make pilgrimages to New York City just to hold up poster-board outside Today's Rockefeller Plaza studio.