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Exposing “Travel Charlatans”

This is not the first time I have talked about THE LIE – the fallacy of the “travel the world” cool-aid that is being promoted on the internet.
But it is the first time I have a name for them.
And that name is “travel charlatans.”

Travel Charlatans

Definition: People (often on the internet) who present an unbalanced view of travel, overemphasizing positive experiences – or portraying it as painless – and downplaying or failing to mention negative ones.



There is no shortage of websites pumping out travel-related material and most of the stuff out there I would label “travel porn.”
Some of these sites even describe their pictures as travel porn.

I would say the name travel porn is appropriate not only for their pictures but also their posts because they paint an incredibly unrealistic picture of what world travel and living abroad is actually like.

We could call it “travel snake oil” , “travel magic beans” , or some other pejorative and it might fit just as well.


The operators of “travel snake oil websites” of course paint the situation this way because 1) they want your money, 2) they want to make themselves look good/important/etc., and/or 3) they want you to keep reading (i.e. they want advertiser’s money).

The truth of the matter is travel and living abroad is asking for pain.
If a website is only presenting the positives (amazing pictures, tons of money, all your problems solved, living in the country of your dreams) you are in travel-porn land.

If you try to live in their dream,… be warned, you will have a rude awakening one day.

I first lived abroad as an international student at the age of 19. As someone who currently lives abroad and has lived abroad in three Asian countries (for several years each) and has had extended travel in a half dozen, I would say I have experience to rival the majority of the travel bloggers out there.
Over the time I have lived [on and off] abroad (totaling a decade) I have been:
An exchange and an international student (Japan)
A young professional
A visa-running nomad
A remote worker for a corporate company
An online English teacher
A local English teacher
A university professor (China)
A digital freelancer
A small business owner and entrepreneurial visa holder (Taiwan)

And all of it was pain.

While I have a good amount of experience, my experience level does not match those who have lived abroad the longest.
And yet, ironically, it seems that few of them are hocking travel porn.
But that should not be too surprising.


Those who are actually doing a thing often talk about it the least…

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