Travel & the so called travel gurus

I love to travel and love to write reviews of places I visit. Good, Bad or Ugly but they are my views and not binding on anyone. I try to talk about my experience rather than be judgmental about a city, a tourist attraction or a hotel. What the reader wants to take from my review is entirely their prerogative.

What I don’t understand are these self proclaimed travel gurus giving verdicts like “top 10 beaches of the world for 2012” or “best ski resorts of the world” and many more such categories. As a matter of fact these are still tolerable as they talk about the good things and show places in a positive light.

My problem is with writers who talk negatively and today I came across one such verdict which was shocking for a travel enthusiast like me “World’s 10 most hated cities” by a travel writer called Jordan Rane. As a traveler I feel anyone who loves to travel, knows that travelling is as much about the experience and journey as it is about the destination. Experience (good or bad), the journey (eventful or boring), the destination (touristy or obscure) all contribute to your travel stories. Hate is a strong word and writing off a city as one of the world’s most hated is not only being ignorant … it is being downright biased. Critics or travel-gurus (travel GODS) sometime mis-use the power in them to give a judgement which shows bias and most of the times the results published cannot be vetted by the readers.

A houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala India

A houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala, India

For me every city/ country has its own charm & also its pros and cons … but I still have loved ever city I have traveled to and will use this blog to write about a lot of my travels. I do certainly hope that I would refrain from being judgmental & negative.

Like R.L.Stevenson aptly put it “I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.”

P.S. If you want to look up the above mentioned travel survey, you can Google it, I would rather refrain from posting such pieces here.

About askmaverick

Architect, Entreprenuer, Traveller, Movie buff, Amateur Photographer, Foodie .... do I need to say more!
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7 Responses to Travel & the so called travel gurus

  1. Derek4Real says:

    Yes indeed, I could not agree more! One of my personal quotes that I like to use is “I have loved every place I’ve ever visited, although some I haven’t loved enough to visit a second time” No one city or region can be “all-bad” or completely devoid of interesting locations and/or cultural value — thinking that just shows how close-minded you are. And yes, as you said, to use a word as strong as

    The only thing that I have noticed in regards to the travel industry — in comparison to let’s say the automotive or medical industry — is that literally every aspect is opinion-based. You and someone else could have the exact same trip down to even the most obscure detail, yet both cold have completely different reactions and feelings. Items like scenery and excursions, the vibe of a particular hostel, appreciation of the culture, or even interactions with locals are all key variables that determine your overall travel experience…yet they are also very subjective. As such there is just no feasible scale for comparing these differing experiences between individuals, especially considering that we absorb such a limited portion of the grand picture while traveling and that all places are constantly changing. What’s true about one place might not be a year or two later. However other industries have more solid benchmarks, more reference material that can be easily verified — such as statistics, proven field tests, independent studies and published reports, etc (or some combination of them all).

    Yes, I’m afraid that is just not the case with travel…but that is exactly why I keep traveling, keep writing, and keep reading other people’s writings. Whether exploring the globe or just your hometown, everyone has to start somewhere. Best wishes to you all wherever the journeys may take you…enjoy! 😉

    • askmaverick says:

      Derek, thanks for visiting and commenting on the blog post. I could not have put it in a better way and agree with you completely that literally every aspect is opinion-based. I am sure you enjoy travelling as much as I do and we should definitely compare notes especially whenever you are in India next.

      • Derek4Real says:

        Most definitely, we will have to cross paths one day. That is another big reason why I travel — to meet new and interesting people. Oh and full disclosure to all the readers out there: I was the thoughtless individual who initially tweeted the World’s 10 Most Hated Cities article…whoops, my apologies! But hey, I am pleased with the end result lol 😉 Keep in touch, best wishes!

  2. sanjay austa says:

    Hey you have written so many posts in such a short time. Wah wah. Congrats. I agree that hate is a strong word but I am not sure if writing negatively about a place is such a bad thing if the overall travel-piece is balanced. Just as a reader wants to know what the writer likes in a place he / she also wants to know what the writer disliked. Travel writing in my opinion has to be subjective ( which definitely includes personal tastes) for it to be interesting. Otherwise travel writing will be just a summation of facts. And one can google on a place for that. Also one should not swing to the other side i.e write only positively about a place – Because that would be showing the other kind of bias. It would also be such a PR exercise and therefore definitely not something credible. The reader would want to know the truth as best as you felt it -whether inegative or positive is irrelevant. Thats how I feel about travel writing.

    • askmaverick says:

      Thanks Sanjay … I do agree there needs to be a balance but it can also be achieved through better words rather than branding cities completely negative. That was the reason for this blog post … plus like I said in the post, its the experience that makes the travel interesting.

  3. shahid says:

    No needle is sharp at both the ends and so are the travel places. You can paint a city or a place the way you like…. Delhi for instance, is dotted with 1000s of historical buildings…great, next if you wish you can tarnish its image by including few instances or incidents of theft, cheats, airline or airport problem ( universal problems)… its writer’s wish !!
    again smooth rides are rarely remembered. Few scratches here and there are better etched in mind and memory.

  4. askmaverick says:

    Shahid thank you for your comment and I do agree with you that one can paint the city the way they like it, but as I mentioned before that a balanced review is much more appreciated than a biased one. Plus for me the positives remain etched more than the negatives. I am sure it is my duty to warn the people against the cons of visiting a place but I never miss the pros of the place and the journey taken by me.

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