Is a Photo of Andy Needed

Is a Photo of Andy Needed
When I first started traveling, I put my photo on the site; I took it off in the country of Colombia because somebody tracked me down. This was before there were Blogs; I was just starting to write Travel Newsletters, the site was nothing, truly small.

I do not enjoy talking to people because they think I am famous, I want and need friendship, I do not need groupies. I search for real friendship.

Pucallpa, Peru
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Travel Journal --- What is your travel problem?
I will write a Travel Tips with the solution

I would like some of the regular readers to comment, I want to hear some feedback.

The reason I am probably going to put my photo on the site is for two reasons.

1. I want to make great Travel Tip Videos and it almost impossible to find models or people to help me. I truly do not like hiding, I am an honest person, and to put on a mask seems sneaky. Videos have become easy to make, they are great way to explain complicated travel ideas.

2. To take my two Travel Sites to the third level of success, I need to be a little more open. If I want to have a size site, I cannot be anonymous, I must say who I am and admit it, the world wants to deal with real people.

I have never really tried to be hard to anonymous, and a few readers have found photos of me, called my parents home, and wrote me personal letters.

However, I had a life before my travels; I was a big time Real Estate Broker in Fort Wayne, Indiana. I had my picture on the signs; I had this big 4 x 8 commercial signs all over the city. People want to know who they are dealing with; it was good business to show my face. People make judgments on how a person looks, feels and comes across when they meet them. I did not like this type of fame.

I am again in a business, I cannot just act and will not pretend this is not a business, I am a Travel Writer, I own a couple large Travel Sites. I am a professional Traveler, and a voice within this travel media, however I am probably one of the only ones that does not wish to be famous.

I admit, I want the money that goes along with the fame, I do not want the glad hand shaking and the politics that goes along with people wanting to say hello.

Moreover, safety, it is sometimes dangerous to be an honest person; there is no freedom of the press. I have had about five friends tell me to take down a couple post about the King in Thailand, they worry that I could go to Jail.

I am good person, I like me a lot today, and soon I will figure out how to place photos of me on the site. I hope to facilitate a way for me to stop the photos in a moments notice.

This is a business decision; there is a need for transparency when you are the owner of large business.

My friends, I truly want some feedback, give me some opinions or ideas, is there something I am missing?

Photos, - How to Travel Journal

Is a Photo of Andy Needed


By clicking on the "Subscribe to Comments" you will receive an email when members post new comments on this page

Hi Andy,

Just wanted you to know how precious your blog is for me. I have followed you for several years. Recently I viewed a video of you with the boat and for the first time I heard your voice. This was good.

I aslo was inspired by wally's story. I followed some of the links about him and Iquitos which was great.

Tahnks a lot for your work,


Hi Andy
I think I am somewhat of a regular so I will comment regarding putting
your photo on the web.............
Although I understand the negatives I do agree that if you want to move on, to grow and be more successful in business I do think peoplewant to see who they are dealing with.............perhaps at times youcould wear a disguise!!!!! Ha!

How about a photo of you among a modest sized group of people. That way all the focus isn't on you, but it does make it clear you're a real person. Your call of course.

About your new post. People genetically relate to faces. You have a big advantage with a good honest looking face. I know you are doing fine without your photo, but I think it will add to your overall success. I read a guys blog where a rotating header photo of him doing something different comes up every time the blog reloads. I thought it was a good idea and looked through all of my photos from the last four years. Unfortunately, you may be in the same situation as me, as the photographers, we have thousands of great photos of other people but few of us.
Best, Bill

Oh Great. Just what the world needs another "RICK STEVES"... :)

I think the fact that you don't post photos of yourself sets you apart from a lot of other bloggers. I think the fixation on one's faces can be detrimental. Nevertheless, if you feel comfortable posting photos now, I think you should do it.

Your call Andy, but I say keep the mystery, no photo.


If you value your privacy as a priority then don't post your photo.

If you think it hinders your business potential by not having it posted, and that's the priority, and you are willing to subject yourself to the potential negative aspects of having it posted, like being stalked for instance, then post it.

It comes down your priorities. Either way I think is fine.

Should fame really come, you will have your photo taken whether you want it or not. It won't be because you do, or don't have photos online.


Hi Andy,

I have been a daily reader for years and enjoy your blog as it is. I appreciate how you communicate with your readers in terms of soliciting their opinion and answer their emails. I do think I would enjoy seeing videos with you in them explaining and talking about things. This would be especially true on travel advice. If your concerned with safety or retaining a certain level of anonymity, consider wearing a baseball cap and dark sunglasses. I would like to see you in videos giving travel/packing/security/ect. advice. When the video is about the scenery, it's really not necessary for you to be in it.



I don't think you need your photo on the site. The mystery is a nice touch and sets you apart some. BUT if it helps you for other reasons, your call. Once anything gets on the web, there is no guarantee that it can ever be removed completely. Anonymity is tough to maintain.

Bob L

Gordon from Australia

Publish your photo ( what the hell )you move around groupies would would find it hard keeping up
yes you are running a business and you should try and create every marketing nitch ( money ) you can get ie promote hotels cafes restaurants etc make the most of any opportunity
regards Gordon

When I first started reading your site, i did find it odd that there were no pictures of you on it.

But over time it sort of made sense, for the reasons you've mentioned. Especially if you are in places like Iraq at times, but anywhere in the poor world... you act and dress hobo, but you've said yourself you make a very good income from your websites... if people know what you look like, you're a rich white guy in a poor or semi-poor country, and you become a target for not just robbery, but ransom and stuff as well.

So it might be nice for us regulars to put a name to a face, and it might help sell the brand, but i wonder at what cost to you and your travel-freedom.

Hello andy,

I am putul from Bangaldesh. I enjoy reading your travel stories.

If possible send your photo, sometimes I wonder how you look like!Its been 5- 4 to 5 years I am receiving mails from your blog.


I've been reading your blog for a while and I don't find the lack of a picture distracting. If you spend some time to read your posts then your personality comes out. The problem is that first 30 seconds when someone visits your site. A picture could help in the initial connection stage, get past that and they'll be hooked like the rest of the regulars.

Personally I'd rather not have your picture here as it won't add anything for me and the security issues mentioned. For a first time visitor, I think it would help.

many people have now seen you and francis on the khoa san road.. i was surprised as i had an image of some old man in my head by the way you talk about yourself.. before i liked the mystery but now i feel a more personal connection to your words..

i see no harm in you being caught in your own tip videos.. but because you have already gained my trust with your recommendations photoless, I feel a Photo of Andy is not Needed..

Maybe one photo on the opening page. One that doesn't really show you clearly, but will still lend that personal touch. Kinda like Wilson, the neighbor in the TV show Home Improvement. Never saw his whole face, only the eyes.

Actually, maybe that's a good idea. Have occasional pictures of you that don't really show who you are. Kinda' the mystery hobo. I think it's been done, but what the hell.

Bob L


You have been walking this road so long that I see no point in changing it. I do not think that having you face on the site will drastically increase your income in the long run. It may prove to be a day long novelty for long term readers who have never seen you before and it would sooth the curiosity of new readers, but I feel as if not having your photo attached is sort of a symbolic notion towards the real purpose of your site: content without an overly fancy package.

Though it is my opinion that I would not let having your photo published prevent you from pursuing other avenues of promotion. If you have the opportunity of promoting your sites in other mediums, such as film, TV, or whatever, I would not hesitate to allow your face to be seen.

In point, I would not recommend being hampered either way. If it is too difficult or would be a disadvantage to not show your face, then show it away. If there is not real purpose to publish your photo, then don't bother- you have been doing well without a photo.

Vagabond Journey Travelogue

Hi Andy,

Have to say, not so sure a pic would actually increase revenue. Think without the pic, people image you to be more like themselves & relate to you better. Also like the whole mystery thing you got going...


You asked for feedback and opinions. Here goes. I have been a reader of Hobo Traveler for about 4 years. I used to travel a great deal, but have cut back on my travel some now that I am 65 years old. I enjoy reading your material partly because I have been to some of the same places, particularly in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador. I have a number of friends there. Of course, you have been to many places where I have never been. I have never been to Africa, or to the middle east. I would like to see your picture on the site, not because I would want to hunt you down, or because I want to be a groupie, but simply because I think that I have gotten to know you somewhat from your writing, your philosoply, and the way you conduct yourself in other cultures. I would like to have a face associated with your writing and your voice. You and I are very different in some ways, I believe, but similar in some ways. I do consider that you are a friend, because I am always delighted when I see your postings. I like that you avoid tourists. So do I. I like that you have respect for other people and other cultures. I like that you recognize that the American tourist can do great harm to himself, other people, and to the way that other cultures perceive this country. I like that you travel cheaply and sensibly. So do I.

Another long time reader here. The first year of reading your blog, I was curious and tried googling your image just to see what you looked like.

Now I think it's not so important and lends a mysterious air to your blog.

I'm only a "regular" for the last 24 hours so please don't feel obliged to post my remarks, but I just wanted to toss my two cents in.

I think, follow your heart on this one. Anonymity is truly a great luxury. As a "newbie," I'm not the least bit bothered by no photo on your site. I like the cartoon of you. It gets the idea across about who you are.

The essence of you is not your container, but your contents. But I understand why you are considering all the angles on this one.

Whatever you choose, I think it will work out just fine in the end, regardless.

My Account