Trouble In Travel Paradise?


Once again the self-appointed righteous are out in force. I see this happen a lot. Travel bloggers as a whole are a pretty generous lot. When it comes to helping each other out and donating to causes I have seen them do some amazing things. There is, however, a small group of people that always seem to find fault in what others do. Some time back there was a heated discussion on advertising, with some saying that is was akin to selling out.  There have been other such ongoing spats from time to time. It seems that some people are not happy when a blogger finds success or they don’t like their viewpoints, method of travel, who or what they take photos of or something else.

Recently Kobi and Gabi Klaf of The Nomadic Family were openly attacked by a newspaper in Israel saying they were abusing their children for having them travel and not be in school. My personal opinion is that the kids are probably getting a world class education. They are traveling and experiencing people, places and cultures that most others will never see. What a fantastic education.

Another such disagreement happened on Twitter between a few travel bloggers over the Travel Bloggers Calendar. I won’t mention the names of those involved but one blogger basically said that it was vain and ego driven for those that participated. A few sites have even jumped on the bandwagon dismissing the idea as silly and futile. I won’t mention those sites either because there is no need to give them the publicity. But let’s see here, New York Firefighters have been posing for calendars for years. Airline crews, Farmers, Sports Teams have all participated in Charity Calendars and who can forget the lovely ladies of Calendar Girls  who bared all for Charity. I guess they all did it because they were vain and ego driven.

It seems that there will always be someone that wants to openly disagree and cause a problem where none exists. I think it might be because they read somewhere that if you cause a controversy people will flock to read what you have to say and then leave tons of comments on your blog. That does work but only for a short time. No one really wants to put up with loud mouth, complaining jerk in person and after a while no one really cares what they write either.

As far as the Travel Bloggers Calendar goes, I say good for those that participated and I hope they earn a boat load of cash for charity.

UPDATE 3 Feb 2013

Today I received an update from Jeremy Foster, one of the bloggers behind the calendar.

“Our numbers are small and our sales have not exceeded 100 calendars. Myself and many of the other participants have felt great frustration and disappointment with the rest of the travel blogging community. They were our target audience. We were hoping that the other travel bloggers throughout the world would be happy to support some other people in their industry who were trying something new, and literally baring their insecurities for the sake of charity.

Instead, people were more focused on slinging mud. The whole project was for the sake of charity and that aspect of this project was almost entirely overlooked by the travel blogging community.

We realize that we are not celebrities, but it was nice to feel like it for a short while. We realize that you are not dying to buy this calendar so that you can hang some no-name bloggers on your wall. What we hoped is that you would support your fellow bloggers and friends and donate to two causes which are tirelessly in need of assistance.

We marketed the living hell out of this thing. Our efforts did not fall short. What fell short, ultimately, was the backing we received. At $25 a pop, with free worldwide shipping, it was not a big ask. I now find myself feeling disappointed and I wonder if I can even call this a community anymore.

If you’d still like to purchase a calendar, we have stock left. Please visit”

I have learned that for the most part Travel Bloggers are a generous group. Whether it is helping other bloggers or supporting charities. There is no shortage of charities that various bloggers have supported over the past and will continue to do so. Most that have read this blog for awhile know I have a soft spot for the Philippines so I searched and found a charity that gives a majority of funds donated to the cause and not to administrative fees. I have supported the charity and encouraged my readers and others to do so. That being said I think what Jeremy and others did is commendable and they thought outside the box and came up with a new idea instead of others, me included, that have just stated a need and asked others to donate. However it is done, whether my way, a group of bloggers banding together, personal fund raising or any other way I believe the intention is good and should be supported.

The Calendar caused an uproar with bloggers and others, some aghast at the idea and others in total support. I didn’t see anything wrong in the calendar and still don’t. I have tried a lot of things in the past that I was convinced were great ideas but for whatever reason didn’t pan out. I would suggest to those involved with the calendar not to feel too bad about the success of their efforts and continue to do whatever they can to find causes they can support in whatever way they can.




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  1. Safiya - FourItchyFeet says

    Thank you for your post. Unfortunately there will always be people out there who direct their negativity towards others. I think congratulations are in order for the people who have created this calendar and for any blogger who’s successfully used advertising/sponsorship to fund their travels.
    Safiya – FourItchyFeet recently posted..SEE – STAY – DO: Tokyo for TightarsesMy Profile

  2. sanjeewa padmal travel blogger says

    This story seems to be normal for me. Because some people don’t tolerate your success and therefore they try to do whatever they can to hinder your progress, it has happened to me many tines. What i do in a situation like that it Just IGNORE them.
    sanjeewa padmal travel blogger recently posted..Oldest version of Pansiya Panas JatakaMy Profile

  3. says

    The negativity of Haters can be toxic, and it’s even more annoying when it’s done just to get attention. It seems ironic that the site in question has a misspelling of the word “News” in its name, as it was perhaps the least newsworthy post I’ve ever seen on an industry-related website. Thanks for drawing attention to the calendars and our attempts to raise $$$ for charity!
    Bret @ GGT recently posted..10 Blogging Tips We Learned From Our Second YearMy Profile

  4. says

    Interesting post! Its a pity that it has to revert to hatred and nastiness as it distracts from open dialogue about blogging as a growing profession. I’m all for people suggesting that blogs are selling out if they are putting advertising on their site if that’s their thoughts, however they just cant bag it without coming up with a more constructive way for bloggers to make an income or in a constructive manner that allows the blogging community to develop overall.

    • thetravellingfool says

      Unfortunately instead of an open dialogue it often turns into a public name calling match where someone wants to impose their standards and way of doing things.

  5. Kelly Dunning says

    Well said. These were my thoughts when witnessing the whole twitter debate… I really can’t see the harm in the calendar at all and especially if it is for a good cause.
    I don’t like the current trend of certain travel bloggers acting like they know the only one right way of doing things and looking down their noses at everyone else for doing it “wrong”. There are no rules and who really cares what other travel bloggers do? The critic in question here chastised these travel bloggers for acting “like Ryanair” when he thought they should be acting like a “luxury Middle East airline”, but that’s just silly. Who says all travel bloggers have to have this type of brand? We are all different people so we will all have different styles!
    Also, it makes me laugh when almost every travel blogger argument on Twitter comes back to, “Oh yeah, well I have more followers than you!” Just because you have followers doesn’t mean you are not being a jerk. If Hitler had a Twitter account, he would probably have a lot of followers.
    Anyways, let’s all stop judging each other and being mean and just have fun travel blogging in our own styles. :)
    Kelly Dunning recently posted..How We Created Our Own LuckMy Profile

  6. says

    I cannot understand why some people are having problems with the calendars. There plenty out there full of photos of spectacular scenery. These calendars are different because they feature travel bloggers we follow. I suspect the criticism is down to jealousy for not being involved. In the end the money raised is going to a good cause.
    Steve Whitty recently posted..Statistics October 2012My Profile

  7. says

    Thanks for the kind words and support! We just hope all the other bloggers who agree with us will support us by donating to our cause. If we can reach our goal, the numbers will speak for themselves.

  8. says

    Cheers for the article. Gone over the arguments for and against the calendar intensely over the weekend elsewhere. Happy to see the debate continuing here.

    Just two things:

    @bret – deliberately “nooz” in Tnooz, not a typo, as you propose.

    @kelly – i’m very glad to say that at no point at all during the unfortunate twitter scrap on Saturday did we ever mention number of followers/fans as a debating point. That would be rather silly, as you suggest.

    Thanks for the opportunity to add these comments.

    • thetravellingfool says

      Kevin, Thanks for stopping by and appreciate the clarification. Feel free to stop by again and give us your point of view on the article you wrote or the comments posted here. Personally I see nothing wrong with the calendar or the attempt to support charities. Unless you see it otherwise.

  9. says

    Thanks for the tip of the hat Deej, I agree, it can only be good helping each other out rather than bashing people who put themselves ‘out there’ in this case quite literally.
    Ben recently posted..The Calendar boyMy Profile

  10. says

    I think there can be a lot of self-righteousness among people who travel a lot – as much as I love the travel blogging community, it can be really easy to decide that since YOU are so worldly and well-traveled and enlightened, YOU must know best. Not particularly compassionate, though.
    Julia recently posted..Spending the holiday season in #Japan?My Profile

    • thetravellingfool says

      If your talking about me I can assure you I don’t know what is best but I also don’t bash others for what I have deemed not up to my standards or try to belittle them or their projects.

  11. says

    I don’t understand the controversy created by something people decided to do to help others out. WHY are there always the complainers, even about things that are nice. I guess everyone is entitled to their opinion, but why can’t people look at the ultimate goal of this project? All I can do is shake my head and my opinion is this idea is a great idea. Wish I could be on the calendar, but you may not sell as many copies! LOL :-)
    The people who have the means, inspiration, creativity, and the know how NEED to reach out and help others. The world we travel, or wander upon in my case, can only survive if we all work together to make it a better place for all mankind; not just the few. I believe the ultimate goal to help better children’s lives and eradicate poverty in some ‘pixel’ sized spot in a world full of places of suffering is admirable; and this should only be a starting point for the rest of us to get involved in whatever way we can. Maybe if the complainers saw some of this suffering up close, like some of us have, there would be a different attitude toward this project.
    HUGE KUDOS to “The Calendars For A Charitable Cause”. YOU ROCK :-)
    VacationWanderer recently posted..TRAVEL TO “JAMES BOND ISLAND”My Profile

    • thetravellingfool says

      I agree, I think it is commendable for anyone that sees a need and attempts to help. And I wish the creators and participants of Travel Blogging Calendar the best.

  12. says

    I can never understand when people complain about charity projects.

    So they posed in a bikini to raise funds…so what?! Advertisement agencies do it ALL the time: Beautiful people on billboards and other ads in order to lure consumers into buying their products.

    A couple of attractive travel bloggers get together in order to help some CHARITIES and people bashed them?! Furthermore, people from their OWN community! People are utterly ridiculous sometimes, seriously.

    It makes me sad to see how the travel blogging industry keeps getting polarized by today. Seriously, we used to be such a nice little group, but now that we’re getting some attention from outside sources, some of us have gotten quite b**chy. Wtf? *smh*

    Personally, I am PROUD to be part of this project, helping communities in the process. I hope we sell A LOT of calendars!

    – Maria Alexandra
    nomadic translator recently posted..Quirky travel food: Dishes that surprised me on my travelsMy Profile

    • thetravellingfool says

      Kevin, I appreciate your being willing to answer some of the questions so many have expressed. After reading the comments here and elsewhere it seems most people do not have a problem with the calendar and even support it. Are you still against it?

  13. says

    Thx for opportunity to discuss here.

    As previously stated, right at the beginning of the saga, we look at everything through the prism of the industry perspective.

    Out opinion comes after hearing and listening to the comments of countless people in the industry who have the PERSPECTIVE that the so-called community is inward looking, not reaching out beyond those they copiously retweet and hang out with.

    The calendar, though for a VERY WORTHY cause, does not do anything to shift that mindset.

    So, the original article still stands, in that regard.

    To be pilloried for having an opinion about something is disappointing. It is opinions and personality that makes what so many of do (we hope) stand out from the crowd. Don’t forget that.

    Yes, we took a hard(ish) line on this, but it was just an opinion.

    Depressingly, to eventually be threatened with a black eye (yes, physical violence) for merely stating an opinion says a lot about how some react to the merest piece of criticism.

    The world of publishing is not one giant love-in – at some point, shock horror, someone is going to disagree with what another person says.

    Get used to it.

    • thetravellingfool says

      Kevin, Thanks for commenting and leaving your point of view. Let me address what you said.

      As previously stated, right at the beginning of the saga, we look at everything through the prism of the industry perspective.

      Various industries have had calendars produced by their people before such as sports, military, firefighters and police and others. I think the travel industry can withstand a calendar for charity. We are not talking porn here.

      Out opinion comes after hearing and listening to the comments of countless people in the industry who have the PERSPECTIVE that the so-called community is inward looking, not reaching out beyond those they copiously retweet and hang out with.

      I think part of that perception might be true but for the most part I would disagree. I will speak for myself however I think it might be true of others. I don’t write articles, as good or bad as they might be, for other travel people. I want to reach the person that is interested in a particular place, daydreaming about travel, likes photos, etc. Just as in any industry though I also read what my associates are producing. First because I like the content but also to see their perspectives and how I can improve on my skills by seeing their photography and writings. I don’t think I am their target audience either. I really don’t know of any that target others in their field as their audience but yes you do wind up with people that you follow and re tweet. I think a lot of people that search and find our material on the internet don’t bother to leave a comment but they find and read our content and if we did a decent job they might be back to read something else. I read stories on line from News organizations various industries other than travel and more but I don’t usually leave a comment. Until I achieve a reach of National Geographic I doubt I will see much other than people in my industry leaving comments on my articles but I know I have subscribers and people that email me and follow on twitter that are not in the industry and that is who I target.

      To be pilloried for having an opinion about something is disappointing. It is opinions and personality that makes what so many of do (we hope) stand out from the crowd. Don’t forget that.

      Yes, we took a hard(ish) line on this, but it was just an opinion.

      As someone who is trying to discuss the industry and whose target audience seems to be others in the industry, I think the fact that taking people to task for how they interact with their audience and to come across as belittling and condescending did little to stimulate a conversation or get other opinions. Maybe a more constructive angle would have been to frame the argument as to what is happening along with other examples and ask others in the industry whether it be bloggers, PR people or Travel Industry Execs, what their take on the situation is. That way it would not come off as yet another example of what I have seen too often as someone taking on the role of “The Authority” and if it is not done their way then someone needs a ruler across the knuckles.

      Finally to address your last statements. People disagree with me all the time and I think after posting your article you saw a lot of that also. But I think you deserve some credit for addressing those that felt as if thy were being belittled and letting your thoughts be heard. Since you received some criticism on how you handled the situation and went about creating the controversy maybe you could learn from that also. After all I am sure since you want to appeal to everyone in the industry you don’t want to alienate a large segment of it.

      • says

        Thx again for quite clearly being the most constructive and rational person on the “against” side of the debate (i.e. against the original article).

        And cheers for allowing me to respond.

        The web would be a terrifyingly dull place if everyone had the same point of view and, as I have said continually, I was simply outlining an opinion based on what we hear from our contacts in the industry on a pretty regular basis.

        Many bloggers produce great content, and it could be incredibly valuable to new readers, you know, travel consumers (often via industry partners), but what puts many organisations off from collaborating is THE SENSE AND PERCEPTION that the so-called community is insular, writes for itself, is too focused on process rather than content.

        I was very proud to have moderated a fantastic session at WTM this week where six bloggers outlined some amazing initiatives they have worked on during 2012. Quality stuff, straight out of the top drawer.

        An industry figure I know very well came up to me in the hallway after and said (paraphrasing here a bit): “Excellent!! That’s the innovation we want to see from travel bloggers. Not the endless retweeting of one other’s silly lists of things to do in destinations, blogging about blogging and the community.”

        You get the point.

        What have I learned from the exercise? Not a lot really. We get into scraps with people all the time and would rather trigger debate or discussion about a topic which we know has polarising views. Media brands do that all the time.

        I’ve also learned that some people really need to grow a thicker skin if they want to have a presence on the web. If they can’t take a bit of criticism on the chin and debate rationally then they would probably do well to at least not demonstrate their anger so publicly in the future. It does them, their apparent arguments and their brand no credit at all.

        • thetravellingfool says

          I agree that there is a lot of content on blogs that organizations might find “fluff material”, some on this blog. Since a lot of blogs are not niche sites (hostel guides, pet friendly parks etc.) but general travel blog sites you wind up with a mix of humorous stories,lists of what to do in cities, destination pieces and so forth in an attempt to appeal to a wide audience. There are arguments for and against such approaches but the fact is that is what most do.

          Speaking for myself I would like to see the industry approach bloggers they might want to work with whether on an individual case or in a members forum type setting and say “we want to partner for an article or series of articles relating to …” There are a lot of bloggers that are not full time nomads and as such don’t personally contact tourism departments and travel brands to get a feel of what message they would like to portray. As a result you look at what posts are popular from your readers standpoint and when “Top 10 bars in Botswana” ranks up there you tend to give the reader more of that.

          Of course reading industry news and following trends can help in formulating stories but when you are a staff of one trying to appeal to your readers, you can only do so much.

          I also agree that a thick skin is needed not only for criticism from your peers but your readers.


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