Honesty Leads to the Best Travel Writing

Pressured by travel editors to write flowery prose about a destination so that publications can secure those necessary advertising dollars, most travel writing is a bore. Even worse are travel writers who pen stories in return for a free press trip. Their writing is often indistinguishable from a publicist’s press release. Take it from a travel expert. Rarely have I ever encountered a perfect trip, where the travel, accommodations, and destinations are all stellar during the same jaunt. There is always some adventure you’re thrust into willingly or not, some bizarre local you meet that helps define the place, and a slew of mishaps. Place those anecdotes into the article and you have a great read, not unlike the writings of Bruce Chatwin or Paul Theroux. 
Rarely do I see a scathing review of a destination, so when I came across this little gem from a writer at the Sydney Morning Herald, I was thrilled. I was researching a trip to northern Sumatra for a client who wants to see the orangutans at Gunung Leuser National Park. Unfortunately, they have to fly in and out of Medan, the third largest city in Indonesia and the focus of this story. 
All week, I’ll be sharing with you some of my least favorite misadventures in print. Enjoy.