Lonely Planet Writer Admits To Fabricating Guide Book Based On Info From Girlfriend

Who needs to actually travel in order to write guide books? Not Thomas Kohnstamm.

From Reuters:

The Sunday Telegraph said Kohnstamm also claims in his new book “Do Travel Writers Go To Hell?” that he accepted free travel, contravening company policy.

He said in one case he had not even visited the country he wrote about.

“They didn’t pay me enough to go to Colombia. I wrote the book in San Francisco. I got the information from a chick I was dating — an intern at the Colombian consulate,” the newspaper quoted Kohnstamm as saying.

Lonely Planet said it had reviewed Kohnstamm’s guidebooks but had not found any inaccuracies in them, the Sunday Telegraph said.

We always sort of assumed that this sort of thing went on, but how is the travel-writing community taking Kohnstamm’s self-promotion? Gadling is advocating outrage:

In an amazing coincidence, Kohnstamm is set to release a new book next week called Do Travel Writers Go to Hell?: A Swashbuckling Tale of High Adventures, Questionable Ethics, and Professional Hedonism. The book, from what I can tell, is the story of how Kohnstamm manages to embody every bad stereotype about travelers there is, and he comes off sounding like a complete boor who’s just dying to tell the world about his unbelievably cool life. Here’s an excerpt:

“The waitress suggests that I come back after she closes down the restaurant, around midnight. We end up having sex in a chair and then on one of the tables in the back corner. I pen a note in my Moleskine that I will later recount in the guidebook review, saying that the restaurant ‘is a pleasant surprise . . . and the table service is friendly.'”

You had sex with a girl? In a foreign country?! Cool!

Oh, wow.

5 reasons to be outraged by the Lonely Planet fraud [Gadling] (Thanks, J!)
Lonely Planet writer says he made up part of books [Reuters]