Why it Sucks to Write Travel Guides

Sunday, March 13, 2016 Justin Vawter 12 Comments

I never imagined myself writing travel guides. It just happened. And now, it's both a dream and a nightmare at the same time. The amount of passion I give is being replaced with horror. Yes, writing travel guides suck and I have to learn it the hard way.

Where it all started

I never saw myself traveling or backpacking or even climbing mountains. It all happened by accident. A beautiful one. I did enjoy every bit of it. Every place I go to, every people I meet along the way, they are the reason why each trip is memorable. Who would have thought that in just a year, my life would revolve on going to different places, climbing various summits and doing comprehensive travel guides.

I have a nice goal as to why I'm doing travel guides. I was one of those people who thought that traveling was expensive. It was some sort of a luxury. Coming from a middle-class family, we never had those "let's go somewhere far to relax" moments. A visit to the mall and a simple dinner at a local restaurant or fast food chain was enough. I grew up having no idea about how it feels to travel far. The farthest I've been was Camarines Sur and that was just last year. You see, this is the typical mindset: traveling is expensive. But as time passed by, I learned a lot. I got to see beautiful places without spending much, hence the birth of the #BudgetClimb series. I had no intentions of making it viral or what. I just want to let everyone know that our place is awesome. You don't have to spend much or travel far to appreciate how beautiful our nature is. But then, that was just a start.

22,000+ and counting

I've always wanted to be popular. I was one of those that never made it to the top. I was insecure. So when the #BudgetClimb series started to trend I felt special. Now it has been shared more than 15,000+ times already. In just 3 months, my page has grown from just 4,000 to now almost 22,000 likes. This is the best feeling ever! It's like now, I'm finally doing something good, something I could be proud of.

The Dilemma

When all of a sudden climbing became viral, everyone started to climb. I can't help but be proud because at the very least, I know was part of that drive to inspire people in climbing their first mountain, reaching their first summit. Every message I get gives me that drive to pursue and write more. But there's always another side to the equation. On Facebook groups, it's been a continuous debate regarding newbie climbers and I always try my best to defend them. Instead of bashing them, why not guide them? Let's all educate them to be responsible travelers. Social media is an avenue for us to share the beauty of the world and educate people about the Leave No Trace Principle, Travel Etiquette, Basic Mountaineering and the likes.

The Sad Reality

I have this thing inside my head that still believes that we can educate people. But it's time to wake up and face the sad reality. It's time for me to accept things as it is and not be a romanticist. Because the truth is, it won't work. I cannot educate them as much as I want. There will always be that person who will never care. And it's tiring. It's tiring to keep on telling people to respect nature. Blogging gives me such a big responsibility which I realized I cannot handle. I want to inspire people but it's f*cking hard! After all, I shouldn't be teaching them to respect nature. It's common sense.

To Blog or not to Blog?

Now the question is this: to blog or not to blog? Earlier today, a friend of mine mentioned Malangaan Cave, my most viewed post of all time. I was surprised and saddened at the same time to know that there are now cottages and multiple fees to pay. This was also the same case as to the other mountains within Rizal. Because of the sudden tourism, fees are now higher. Guides are now required. It's now overcrowded. You can no longer visit a place on weekends. It was pure horror!

Blogging has been really great to me. I met good friends. There's a lot of perks. Sometimes, I get sponsors which helps me fund my trips. But my conscience cannot take it if I'm starting to became a catalyst of destruction because of my travel guides.

Sometimes I wish I haven't blogged it so that other's won't have a clue. In this way, I could protect these places. I could go to them every now and then. There's this guilt where I can't help but blame myself of what's happening now. I am part of it. I have failed.


Right now, I am still on that position where I'm weighing things. I am very confused. I still don't know if I should continue this or not. But one's thing for sure: this won't be the last. You may notice a couple of new things on the blog. I won't stop traveling and discovering new places to visit. I may or may not share them in the future though. I may still post travel guides but not as comprehensive as before.

I have to protect nature. I have to do my part.

And unfortunately, this is the only way.

Thank you for being part of my adventures. Until the next trip.


- Justin -


  1. Am with you man, mas makakabuti kung hahayaan nalang ang isang lugar. kasi sa huli ang concern ng karamihan ay kung gaano kadaming likes ang makukuha mula sa social media(Netizens)

  2. Maybe if someone sponsors your trip or you decide to visit a place you can ask them to keep their rates the same or only allow a certain number of people or keep mother nature clean etc. But it's hard. Even me typing it out, it sounds like it won't work. :( I don't know I guess money and blatant disrespect of nature is the norm. :(

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  4. If only it is easy to balance between promoting ecotourism and protecting nature... well, we're still far from that.

  5. you do you babe. :)
    you're young yet, so yes.. who knows where life will take you still? You already know how to start something, and the feeling of achievement to finish it. That will be your motivation to continue whatever it is you feel like doing in the future. XOXO Dyzee

  6. uhmm although Im not much into blogging, a part of me hates why I write guides that's why I seldom blog. I'm still confused though. Anyhow, never stop exploring!

    ps: see you soon!

  7. I'm sort of with you on this. I remember climbing Mt Pulag in 2007, the first time I saw the sea of clouds, and never having a problem taking my photo because it was just our group there. But during my recent climb, foot traffic has drastically increased and while i want to share the majestic view to everyone, I'm not sure everyone knows how to be a responsible tourist. So, I'm with you, man.

    Ochi | Ochi In The City

  8. You've been great and I can see where you're coming from. I love adventures too but never really blogged about very comprehensive guides at all. I loved sharing the personal experiences I get when exploring. Travel guides are very, very helpful though and I find them really great but to your point, sometimes we really cannot control people. We can only do as much. But anyway, never stop exploring! ;)

  9. Blogging is the new poetry. I find it wonderful and amazing in many ways.

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