Learning requires we know there are both sides, the good and the bad of a situation, a wise student know to also look for the bad.
I was having a conversation with Andrew, my partner, and coder from India. He was commenting on this travel blogger he appears to like to read. And generally he said,
"X only writes about the good of a country."
I suppose it helped, that the guy just took a tour group into India, no matter what we say, we do not enjoy anyone ragging on our own country.
I said, 99 percent of travel writers write romanticized and wondrous stories about countries to sell tours.
I have zero desire to be this type of writer, in reality, if you just walked up to me and said,
"You are a travel writer."
It is possible, I would want to hit, ignore you, or walk away, this to me is an insult, I do not want to be a travel writer. Yet, if I ever write about travel, then I am being a travel writer, so I do understand why I would be called a travel writer. (I have no desire to talk with travel writers, they are not to trusted.)
I will continue to explain this to Andrew...
Andrew, I am a travel spoiler, this makes people very angry, people make a decision to travel to India. They then search for travel writers that tell them all the wonderful reasons to go to India. Now, remember the person has already made the decision to go to India, and wants validation that they made a good decision. Do not tell them anything bad, or they will be angry.
If a person writes like me, and tell them something bad about India, the reader will get angry, they want validation, they do not want to make a bad travel decision, any objecions to India will cause them to second guess their decision.
I want people to learn about India, and all learning has both the good and the bad, while 99 percent of travel writing is just a fancy advertisement.
This is fun stuff folks.
So, in my opinion 99 percent of travel writers consider the readers stupid, and want you to accept a world where everything is perfect, and romantically wonderful.
Why? They make more money, the tour companies buy advertising, and all the comments on their blog are miraculously supportive.
Supportive of a lie, that India is wonderful.
It is both, as is all countries, they are all wondeful and horrible at the same time. A person that writes without explaining some of the bad assumes you are stupid and cannot handle the truth. But, for some, they need this, because in a way, travel is always a vacation, and a time of illusion, we go on vacations to escape real life.
Andrew is not a traveler, he goes on vacations, I am the traveler.
Sometimes I get hooked in by one of these travel writers, who makes a place really sound wondeful. I go there, it is not, and I remember that travel writer, and think badly of him or her for the rest of my life.
99 percent of readers are never going to go, the travel writer wil never be call on the rug to explain, yet I will go, and realized they lied. They let me down, but they did not let down 99 percent of the reader. Now, also remember, I do not go on tours, they are not real cultures or real life, a good tour is just a wonderful experience, a romantic tour of the travel destination, it is not the culture of the country.
I assume you are smart enough to handle the truth, I also assume it will make a few of you angry. And, I assume some of you will get banned from making comments when you attack me when you are angry, too bad, but that is life.
If a writer never gets an ugly bad comment, the writer did not make the readers feel, they just gave them a pat on the back, and send them down their happy little stupid path under the assumption the reader is stupid, and cannot or should not hear the truth.
They assume that patronizing you work, and it does, and that is sad.
Enjoy learning in life, because real life is both good and bad, in balance. Any extreme attack, or a person who revels in contradicting is not a fun person to around and we are best to distance ourselves from them.
I do not care about making money, I care about treating people with respect. And please, do not call me a travel writer if you ever meet me in person, call me a writer. And never call me Dude, I guarantee I will not talk with you.
This was a right on article, thanks Andy. When I worked for a living I at one time had a Travel Office within my many responsibilities admin wise. One of the things they did was to put out wonderful, positive advertising on places to visit. They were told by my predecessor to always build an area up as absolutely fantastic regardless what the truth may be.
Sell the trip. I made some changes that were difficult to get them to go along with but eventually we all got on the same page.
I told them I wanted potential customers to know about what problems there might be in going to certain areas. I had them present up to date State Department information, warnings, etc for customers. I told them the very 1st thing was to make certain as much as possible the customer would make a good, informed decision as to being safe as well as happy with their choice of travel.
It all worked out for the best as we did more business than previously, word of mouth brought in more and eventually satisfied customers.
I went to a very nice, well publicized Caribbean island for 10 days once. The tour office personnel all said this was the best place to go for many reasons. So I said that I have never been to that area and wanted an island that had a European culture, food, entertainment, etc. So I signed up and was very happy when the plane set down on the island of Aruba.
I traded some dollars for Dutch money (the Euro wasn't used yet) and then took a local cab to my hotel, which was a very good hotel. My first "shock" was the cabbie asked for US dollars in payment. OK, no big deal.
After the 1st full day I realized that though Aruba was Dutch it could just as easily become the 51st state in the US. US money was preferred everywhere. I met Europeans at my hotel and in restaurants, etc who were also disappointed as they wanted a Dutch cultured island and were also asked to pay in dollars rather than Dutch money they had exchanged for upon arrival.
It wasn't made mandatory but almost always requested.
Money, food, entertainment and worst of all local attitude was the "unwritten rule" which made my ten days very boring. Yes I enjoyed the beaches, and food when not American and some of the history, etc but I might as well have saved money and went to Florida, Hawaii or the American Virgin Islands.
I won't go into why it was so US but people who may want to know can find info on line that has to do with American Oil Companies were there in the 30s and more or less took over for many years and Aruba never recovered their original Dutch flavor.
Anyway for anyone who may ever want to go to the that area and want to not go where it's just like home then avoid Aruba.
But again the local people were very friendly, it was a very clean island, the cost was reasonable, great weather, fine beaches and I'm sure McDonalds food was as good as always.
Wonderful post, we now have 'professional' travel persons moving onto the pristine Pacific Beaches of El Salvador, where the Surfers have been coming for many years, now the tourists are arriving in droves, they call themselves 'independent travelers' and most of them have no problems here, of course there are a few who think they have to carry their US, Canadian, EU, UK or Japanese passport, even on the Beach, or those with backpacks or luggages the size of the State of Maryland, USA, packed with goodies, sometimes ipods or laptops even! They ride the chicken buses with all this extra weight in tow, one lady, some 50 years old, who could afford first class buses or an occasional native driver/owner, was told this was the way to go, she showed up back at the hostal sans luggage and computer, luckily passport and cash/credit card was on her person, she was on a bus on a remote coastal road, when the bus stopped at a roadside eatery or comedor she went to the bathroom, no bathroom on chicken buses, but alas, there was a thief on board! Could happen anywhere in the world, lack of common sense, in Costa Rica now many experienced 2nd class bus riders are locking and chaining their baggages and packs in case nature calls suddenly enroute!!! No country on the face of the earth is perfect and often thieves and pockpockets in more 'developed' countries are often smoother, faster and far more skilled than those in 'undeveloped' countries, this was a crime of opportunity, a poor young man got a chance to steal a bag probably containing in value as much as he makes in a year!!!! On the Mexico city Metro in the 1990s my address book got pickpocketed, guess they thought it was a wallet, did not feel a thing! Now I am getting older and absent minded, so am taking steps to 1 2 3 remember to put this here and that there, otherwise I'll forget it, my fault, some 'travel writers' and newbies got upset at me online when I advised not walking around San Salvador, Antigua Guatemala (no lighting away from Central Park) and other large Latin Am. cities alone or even in a pair late night after 10 pm or so, $4 for a taxi or $2 for a tuk tuk may save you hundreds of dollars and a lot of buttaches, use common sense and go where you'll have a good time, for you, not for others to write about!!!! Common sense and awareness are your best barometers, never ever get paranoid, be aware and if you feel uncomfortable in one city, country or region move your feet to another if possible. Happy Holidays http://www.facebook.com/groups/discovercentralamerica we don't 'travel write' we give out travel info!