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Guidebook Writer Says He Never Visited Countries

Apparently it isn't essential that a guidebook writer actually visit the country he writes about. A Lonely Planet author is claiming that he made up large portions of his books, and dealt drugs to subsidize his measly salary. Think twice before going to the titles on Brazil, Colombia, the Caribbean, Venezuela, Chile, and South America, for some first-hand advice.

These damning revelations came out in the writer's, Thomas Kohnstamm, new book Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? He says that he wrote about Colombia without visiting the country because they didn't pay him enough to go to Colombia. He says: "I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating — an intern in the Colombian Consulate."

This guy has the coolest job ever — traveling around the world and writing about it— and he does the arguably hard part while, ditching the fun of seeing the world. I know he's not making a lot of money, but he accepted the job knowing how much he was going to make. Do you think phony travel writers, like Kohnstamm, should go to hell?


Join The Conversation
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Damn they might as well give you a where's Waldo map?
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
KrisSugar you just made me really want to go to Germany! Sigh. I need a vacation.
lula29 lula29 9 years
You know, I took a Travel Writing class in college and it was interesting because my professor's premise was that we are sold an illusion of certain countries based on travel writings throughout the years. The focus was mainly on Latin America and we looked back at all travel writing from Columbus to the present. It was really interesting. This scandal just kind of proved my professor's point.
duck-duck-goose duck-duck-goose 9 years
Scandalous! Perhaps he should have written novels. He would make a great character -- travel writer too poor to experience the origins of his material, so he creates content gleaned from vicarious explorations while surreptitiously dealing drugs only to sustain further malcontent. I wonder when he'll announce the movie.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
M3 - Fabulous babe! We'll meet at my agent's manse in the Hamptons for lunch...
kia kia 9 years
I don't think he should go to hell, but it is definitely wrong to get paid for this work and not do it. There are a bunch of people who would have taken the job that were in-country at one time or another. Is Lonely Planet gonna sue, their reputation is seriously getting hammered over this.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 9 years
I'm more surprised that he's admitting to being a drug dealer. :?
mymellowman mymellowman 9 years
Cabaker, I love your show idea I'll produce it. I really think it could work well and I'm completely serious. Let's talk, have your people call my people. ;)
Angelica Angelica 9 years
This is awful and hopefully damaging to the Lonely Planet name. It's unfair to make future travelers think you've experienced a country or city when you haven't. Ugggg!
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
Half the movie critics in america dont ever go and see the movies, so this guy lying doesnt surprise me. Why do the work when you can fake it
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
:rotfl: I couldn't find Paulaner around here to save my life! My husband LOVED it when we had it there. Finally I found it at World Market and I bought their entire supply... I think he would tell you that was the best gift I ever got him! :)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Cabaker, I left that place with $20 in my checking account. I am lucky I got off the continent!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Yea we stayed at B&Bs... I did want to go on the army base around there though just to see what they do. When we go back hopefully we will have more money and the dollar won't be so bad! There is nothing so depressing as sitting in your hotel room in Europe and hearing "The dollar reached an all time low against the Euro today..." Honey, sounds like we're skipping lunch!!
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Edelweiss is the military resort in the town, so I thought maybe you had gone there. We went to Neuchwanstein and the Zugspitze too. MAN, going up one mountain cost like, $70! geez! But it was worth it, if you go back. there is such a feeling of peace up there, and we had beer and laid in the sun, and then we had hot chocolate. You NEED to go back to Garmisch in the warm months, and see the daily cow and sheep parade through town. Every morning and evening they herd them back and forth from the mountains to their low pastures. All traffic stops while livestock goes through. My friend says you can get a ticket if you try and pass a cow.
syako syako 9 years
oh boohoo, the cold is worth it in the MOUNTAINS! Come on that's nature's splendor! ;)
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Nya you have it right! Take advantage of all the study abroad you can. When i was in italy, i lived for almost 4 months in a dorm (old convent) that opened up to a beautiful view of a valley every day. they fed us the most amazing food. I told myself, rich people pay thousands for only a week of this. I can't believe how lucky I am! Whenever I talk to college students i bug the heck out of them to do study abroad. do it do it do it! is all I can say.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Is that the cutesy lil town? I think we just drove through... We went down there to go to the Neuchwanstein and the Zuspitz.... and we ended up going to neither! Long story but the bottom line was it was too expensive... so enjoyed from afar! :) Germany is on our list of places we'd like to be stationed at so I feel confident that we'll get to the places we missed eventually... And Nya I hate the cold! My husband and I always argue because he only wants to go to Europe and I always say its not a vacation unless you come home with a tan!
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
hehehe syako i know i know but i'm hoping to knock off quite a few through school. I'm going to take advantage of all those study abroad semesters at my next college since my current university's choices are limited to one and it's just the university only in England. how boring!!!! I'm with you cabaker I'm so over the cold.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
WOW Cabaker. you must have gone to Edelweiss, am I right?
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
All those places sound so cold....
syako syako 9 years
Craziness. Nyar that's quite the list you've got there :) I want to go do Europe (western europe) I want to explore Nepal and the Himalayas. I'd love to spend time the Canadian Rockies too! Also Alaska. :)
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
OMFG!!! Kris, I was in the Paulaner tent! And I stayed in Garmisch too!! We were at Oktoberfest on Saturday, spent the night in Munich and then went to Garmisch the next day... Wow... this is really freaky.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 9 years
I woul dlove to to go to Japan, Morocco, Brazil, Argentina, Bali, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia, Croatia, Greece, Holland and all the Scandinavian nations and of course go back home lol. when I finish with that I'll be done.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
I have to correct myself. Maybe tourism isn't Egypt's only industry, but it's a BIG one.
KrisSugar KrisSugar 9 years
Sorry guys, you get me talking about travel and I can't shut up. :)
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