Travel Writers Save Face

Can a writer explain a travel destination they have never visited? The answer is,

There is enough information available to write a guidebook, and never visit the country.

Port-au-Prince, Haiti - Ayiti - Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Travel Gear

Why does this work?
1. Only 1 in a 1000 of the readers will go to the travel destination.
2. If 999 people out of 1000 like an article, it is good, reality is not important.
3. 999 readers are reading for entertainment.
4. 1 person in a 1000 is going to use the advice in the country.

I am the 1 in 1000 person who actually uses the advice, this is one reason I get on my pedestal and start screaming occasionally.

Travel Writers Do Their Best
I believe 25 percent of travel writers genuinely do their best to provide accurate information. The travel writer of the Lonely Planet Haiti did a great job of explaining the country. However, we travel on different budgets, he was on a middle, to upper price level budget, and I am on a Backpacker budget.

75 percent write what you want to hear, herein lies our problem, reality takes a backseat, and entertainment takes a front seat. Then to make matters worse, “Churnalism,” comes into play.

Churn the Information
Other Travel Writers read the article, rewrite it, or paraphrase it into their own words, and what was just good entertainment starts to become the standard opinions. Because it was well written, a groupthink overwhelms the travel writers and writers.

I am here in Haiti, I would say there is so little correlation between what you read, what you watch on television, what the news reports and reality, it is amazing. However, I am fully aware that readers feel compelled to trust the majority. There is a consensus; therefore, to be safe, we will go along with the group.

How do Travel Writers save Face?
By agreeing with the group, by being part of the group, by not setting themselves apart from the group. They write articles that are entertaining; just want the reader wanted to read.

What a great gig, a Travel Writer can write anything, tells a great story, and the chances are only 1 in a 1000 will complain if the article is entertaining, plausible and fulfills the expectation of readers.

What percentage of travel article was written by a person who never went to the place?

Travel Writers Save Face


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Lee says,Thank Goodness you are not bowing to any person when you write. You tell it like it is when you travel and this just may save some person's life if they read your blogg and actually believe you. Traveling is a serious business and a person needs to not romantize it or they will pay a price. It is good to have a great day but a reasonable mind set is best

Good Post! Andy, Your "guestimate" about the percentages of travel writers' readership and their recycled content. I also compare such travel writers well paid compensation to many others who join some organization which will finance their travels like the military, peace corps, NGOs' employees and foreign service staff. Most often they live and work in a protected environment without real exposure to the country and cultures where they are sent very much like 3 star and 5 star tourists.

Heidi , I felt the same when I arrived back in my hometown after nearly 4 years outside the USA. I felt so HIGH on LIFE about the adventures and experiences of my past years "on the road" that I wanted to share them with old friends and family. Instead of anyone in Des Moines, Iowa becoming curious or interested in such travel experiences their attitudes were apathetic like, "Can someone turn UP the volume of the TV or shut this guy up?" I realized most of my hometown friends would prefer buying new car or shopping for "toys" rather than take off traveling, living spontaneously as possible and casting away any fears of their future security. Oh well, each to their own.

AsiaBill, what you have experienced once back to your hometown is a classic. It's part of the reverse cultural shock, or whatever it is called. People back home haven't changed, but you did. The problem they aren't interested into listening your stories. I had the same problem. Now when I go back home for holidays, I seldom talk about my experiences abroad, unless I meet someone who is genuinely interested.

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