Everything that appears on Tripwired is my own writing and photography unless stated otherwise. I’m interested in helping travellers make better informed decisions about their travels, and therefore I’m critical, biased, opinionated and I believe in telling it like I’ve found it. Travel writing only exists because writers are hosted – by airlines, by national tour organisations, by tour operators. The rationale for these hosts is that a favourable review of whatever it is they have to sell is far more persuasive than advertising, and it’s usually going to cost them less. While I do take advantage of this largesse and take flights, stay in hotels, eat meals and have experiences that are paid for by other people, I do my very best not to let that affect my judgement. While there are plenty of travel publications that work on a cash-for-comment basis – “take out a full page ad in our magazine and we’ll give you three pages of positive coverage” – that’s never been my style. My responsibility is to my readers, not my hosts. It’s not that often that something doesn’t measure up but it happens from time to time. When it does, I don’t hesitate to let my hosts know that I can’t give them the publicity they would have liked, and why.
If I find something I really like, and things I’ve really liked include a street-food tour in Hanoi, a little hotel in Fort Cochin in the Indian state of Kerala, the island of Banda in Indonesia, riding a motorbike across the Himalayas and just about everything in Italy’s Dolomites region, I’ll sing its praises. I might even gush because although I’ve been writing about travel for more than 30 years, I still get surprised, excited and amazed by what I find, and those are the places and experiences I want to encourage others to experience.