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11 Days with the Travel Blogger from Hell

Rather than write up one of my regular (yet irregularly posted) monthly round ups, I’m going to tell you a story about one of the worst people I’ve ever met, who has subsequently made me think that maybe I don’t want to do a group press trip ever again.

Because let’s be real. The people that routinely come here and check out all my new posts would be bored to death to know that all I’ve done since arriving home from Uzbekistan in October is 1) crank out a few new blog posts 2) update over one hundred neglected old blog posts 3) catch up with friends 4) update more blog posts 5) visited an ice cave nearby when a friend’s sister was in town 6) and work on updating even more old blog posts.

And also do some temp work as a dental hygienist sprinkled in there too.

So don’t feel bad if you think your life is boring. Mine has boring blocks of time too.

Except for when it’s not. If it’s not boring, then it seems to be a mixture of amazing highs, epic adventures, absolute hell, chaos… and occasionally a press trip.

I don’t do press trips very often. To be exact, I’ve gone on two in the last year. Not many in the professional travel blogging world. Press trips have to check a few boxes for me to accept, it also can’t conflict with my schedule (sometimes you get an email asking you to attend, but you’re already obligated to do something or be somewhere else), and also, I don’t get invited to many.

The lack of invitations is due to a few things: I’ve never attended a travel blogger conference or anything like that (it sounds snobbish, but I’d rather spend my money to go somewhere that interests me, rather than attend a circle jerk conference to rub elbows) Conferences are good places to go to rub said elbows with boards and brands to form partnerships. I also write about unusual destinations a majority of the time and press trips usually try to pack in the destination’s famed locations in a short period of time, which might look a bit odd on here. And also, I don’t pitch boards or brands to try and get them to hire me.

But this last year, I’ve received two offers that I took up, one of which I’m going to tell you about.

So if you think getting paid to travel the world is great fun, I’m just gonna say that while it is pretty cool: it isn’t always. But also this isn’t a plea to get you to feel sorry for me.

Kok Tobe, Almaty, Kazakhstan, ferris wheel, ferris wheel kazakhstan, ferris wheel almaty, ferris wheel kok tobe
Let the circus begin…

What Happened On The Press Trip With The Travel Blogger From Hell

But first, a little back story…

I’d never heard of this blogger, but let’s be real, I do in fact spend large chunks of my time living under a rock with little or no internet access. This makes me happy.

I don’t know about every travel blogger debacle, every scam executed by that travel in her shoes chick, which morons got arrested in Iran and North Korea for doing things that are downright stupid to do in strict regime-ran lands, and who’s getting called out for faking clouds in Photoshop.

To be honest, I just don’t give a shit. But also I do find entertainment in when my friends that do keep up on it all slip me updates when I return to the internet.

Someone else I knew (outside of blogging AND travel, oddly enough) on the press trip had met this blogger before but briefly (so even she didn’t know what we were in store for). In fact, this was a press trip to a region that I’ve traveled independently many times over the last several years.

Once we received a list of who was going I quickly received a message asking for any must-know info before setting off from the blogger I know. The blogger from hell was added to the convo where I unleashed a list of things to pack and useful shreds of info that you probably want to know before going somewhere new.

In addition to this three-way-message, we were given an itinerary and told to email any questions to our organizers. Simple enough eh?

Hell to the fuck no.

So now that I’ve agonized you with several paragraphs of lead up, here is a list of, I shit you not, actual things the travel blogger from hell (or BFH as I will refer to them in the blog post), that I had the misfortune of spending 11 days with this year, did.

-Brace yourselves-

1. Lost Luggage

Apparently, before I even arrived BFH (blogger from hell) had a giant conniption fit and yelled at our hosts that if their luggage that didn’t arrive on their flight didn’t appear immediately that they would need to be flown home at the expense of our organizers tomorrow.

Mind you, my luggage when missing for 13 days. BFH’s luggage arrived about 12 hours late. I didn’t flip out on our organizers. I filed a missing luggage case at the airport, notified organizers and kept it moving (luckily my bag for the press trip made it, my bag with my mountaineering gear for after the press trip was the one missing), like a f*****g adult.

2. Beer & Wine Aren’t Real…

BFH proceeded to regale us in the story of the flight they took (the one when their bag went briefly missing) that had no alcohol onboard. When everyone shrugged and said “that’s odd, there’s usually at least beer and wine”, BFH informed us that beer and wine aren’t actually alcohol.

Lol, okay.

Apparently, Aeroflot doesn’t serve hard liquor onboard their flights. Odd I know. I would think that Russia’s national carrier would at least serve vodka. Then again, have you ever tried drinking with Russians? I’ve nearly died trying. Just a hunch as to why they do not.

3. Yeah, But They’re Just Dumb Americans

BFH would exclaim that all places visited on the first official day of the press trip will be great to share with their audience and friends because it feels so American and therefore safe. Just because it feels unfamiliar or not American doesn’t make it unsafe, as far as I’m concerned (isn’t experiencing the “different” out there why we travel after all?). BFH went on to share that they only like to share easy to visit and American-feeling places on their blog and social media because their audience is comprised of “dumb Americans”.

If only BFH’s audience knew how lowly they thought of them.

By the way BFH’s audience ironically is American, and BFH is in fact, American.

4. The Nightly Drunken Scene

Don’t get me wrong, I like to have a drink. Sometimes I overdo it and get drunk. But there’s just sometimes you should just cap yourself to maybe a drink and call it good: professional settings are usually one of those times. BFH got belligerently drunk at dinner the first night of the press trip (and also at every dinner on the press trip). I’m not talking tipsy, I mean loud and obviously drunk.

5. I Don’t F**k With That

Drunk night one dinner included making a scene (in the restaurant) that the citizens of the country we were in eat horse meat (we were served a national dinner that naturally included horse, among many other things), and BFH kept telling the entire table, loudly, “I don’t fuck with that”.

And I’d like to add that I feel there’s nothing wrong with politely declining a food for a myriad of reasons. However, I think it’s extremely rude to handle it how BFH did.

6. Toilet Tantrums

BFH, on our second activity on day one had a, no joke, temper tantrum at the sight of a squat toilet, despite having been told prior to departure squat toilets are common occurrences in the region we were to visit (among much of the developing world). I actually discussed that squat toilets are what you’ll typically find in public spaces and guesthouses in those aforementioned messages.

Subsequent squat toilet sightings sent BFH into a tirade and, in the last few days of the trip, a straight up refusal to even use them at all.

Now, I get it. Using a squat toilet is an art that you master over time (or in my case growing up squatting in bushes regularly because I grew up in Alaska). However, BFH was 1) aware that squat toilets would be prevalent and 2) bragged about traveling through Southeast Asia which I know has squats too. I could understand if there was a physical or health limitation preventing them from using one, but BFH is the same age as me, just a more inactive and ruthlessly intolerant version.

7. Till Death Do We Hike

This press trip included a couple of treks. We were aware of this prior to agreeing to go on the press trip.

BFH spent the entire day acting as if they were dying on a hike which was outlined in our itinerary which they could have easily opted to not do, or only do part of. The trek involved 16km in distance with some rolling hills (comparatively, I trudged through 30km+ days, after the press trip at my own leisure with days that included a gain of 1500m and descent of 1800m… only to complain to myself of sore feet).

Now, in BFH’s defense, others in our group struggled a little on the hike. The defining difference between BFH and the others? They kept going, taking breaks when needed and made the most of it.

8. Screaming At Guides

About halfway through said hike, BFH berated and screamed in the face of our local guide. Mind you, the trail is linear. As a group of 5 with a guide and a local staff member the group was briefly split into 3 and 4, and by hardly any distance. The travel blogger in question screamed at our guide that we could die out here and that he should never leave us to go ahead (mind you he was close enough to us that he could hear the wailing demands for him to return back). Let’s not forget: you could only go two directions on the trail: onward to the second lake, or back to the first lake and the trailhead. BFH proceeded to yell in the face of our guide that this hike was too dangerous and that he was irresponsible for taking us here (despite the hike being organized by not our guide, but our organizing board).

If BFH realized they were in over their head, they could have stopped and went back, took a long break, or stayed at lake one. BFH was offered to do so, several times but instead tortured us with their death wails the entire hike.

9. One. Single. Chicken Wing.

Upon a request to stop so that poor, suffering BFH could eat because BFH might in fact whither away on our quest to summit Everest trek to lake #2, we all had to listen to tantrum #476. What was tantrum #476 about? Our homestay host must be trying to kill us by only packing each lunch with only one chicken wing. One single chicken wing. Only one. ONE. CHICKEN. WING. But let’s not mention the container that each lonely wing sat in was accompanied by a pile of cauliflower smothered in sauce, a second container with potato and assorted veggies, and a third container with bread, cookies and hard candies. There were also apples and juice for us too. EACH of us got these three containers. Upon our unlikely return to the homestay, our host was in shock as what she packed us was intended as a snack. She had anticipated our return for a full lunch. I’ll just say that our ‘snack’ was more filling than the typical lunch served anywhere around where I live.

Even after the day was done, BFH still continued to complain that they starved and suffered because of the singular chicken wing incident, at times in front of our host who already felt terrible about the misunderstanding (which she shouldn’t have because the lunch was 1) large enough and 2) pretty good for a packed lunch).

9.5 I Don’t F**k With Fruit Or Vegetables Either

We alluded to this when we were drunkenly told they don’t fuck with horse meat. We were reminded again that BFH doesn’t fuck with horse, fruit, or vegetables. BFH did inform of one single allergy to a specific fruit, however, BFH is not allergic to all fruit– just doesn’t fuck with it.

10. Lest It Not Still Be Instagrammable

On arrival at lake #2, BFH pulled a long flowing dress out of their backpack (that our guide carried for them), and proceeded to twirl around making others in the group take their photos for BFH’s own use. Despite finding the gown-in-the-mountains-shots odd, you do you boo. But if the hike was so terrible and nearly killed you 1,956 times, why would you post dress twirling pictures in front of the deadly lake? One other blogger pointed out that it seemed weird to change outfits because it might be misleading to your audience (probably he was alluding to the fact that BFH acted like they were dying and BFH also did not hike in the dress). BFH informed our pea-brained colleague that you have to wear dresses in your snaps or else the photo won’t get the Instagram engagement BFH needs to keep pulling the wool over their sponsor’s eyes.

11. I Can’t Even Right Now

When we arrived back to the first lake BFH refused to hike any further (it was only 1 km to return back to the other side of the lake and our vehicles). Instead BFH demanded that our guide run (literally run) back to the other side, rent a rowboat, retrieve us and row us to safety (ie: the car). Of course, not wanting to spend any more time with BFH, I offered to run with our guide, but he insisted I stay behind. Damn it. Mind you, this took I’m guessing, about 4x as long as it would have to just walk the last kilometer.

12. Row Row Row Your Boat…

Our guide did as outlined above and arrived in a rowboat to load us up. The entire ride, BFH took selfies and videos and complained about the hike. I offered to take turns helping row the boat back (as well as the others). Not once did BFH offer to help with the boat.

13. I’ve Been Banned

BFH got banned on Instagram from liking or commenting on posts during the press trip. Now if you’re not in the blogger/Instagram influencer/social media marketing realm you may be scratching your head. So if this is the boat you’re in, let me explain…

Instagram, as well as other social media, have parameters set on how many likes and comments you can give in a certain span of time. This is in an effort to combat spam as some people use bot programs to like and comment on their behalf in hopes that the account that receives their like or comment will in turn see it and then like, comment, and/or follow them back. BFH claimed to be employing the help of a VA (virtual assistant). Now, I’m not certain the VA was a human or a bot, but they went overboard engaging on other people’s photos and got BFH banned from liking or commenting for well over a week.

BFH then proceeded to tell the other bloggers and our organizers that they would not be posting any of their contracted Instagram posts and stories until after the ban was lifted on them, because their engagement would not look good without them being able to drum up likes and comments from randos on Instagram.

So basically BFH manipulates engaging with others to ensure they, in turn, get engagement on posts. The point of doing a FAM press trip is to get people interested in the destination highlighted, not to get some random 15 year old in Brazil or wherever to like you back.

14. Emergency Hooch

That evening over dinner BFH whipped out shooters or rum. Exclaimed that they didn’t think our press trips destination would have the liquor of their choice and started getting lit. Mind you, at every restaurant we went to for dinner in the cities we visited on the press trip, in fact, had rum.

Now, I’m no stranger to packing emergency vodka for various things such as cleaning wounds, in hopes to settle food-poisoning induced stomach issues, and even to kick back and have a drink after a long day of hiking (not on a press trip).

15. It’s Too Early

After camping at a well-known canyon in the region and getting up before sunrise to transfer to a sunrise shoot location, BFH slept in the car during the whole event because it was “too early”, despite having the sunrise shoot listed with a departure time from camp clearly outlined on our itineraries prior to us making the decision of whether to join the press trip or not.

I mean I agree, it was early AF. But at what other time does the sun actually rise? This was also a location that our organizers had really wanted us to get great images of for this campaign, plus it won’t kill you to get out of bed for sunrise for just one morning. And take into consideration this: the other press trip I did in the last year did not include a single sunrise as part of the itinerary. But you know what happened? All six of us were up at sunrise to capture it, every. day.

16. What Do You Mean There Isn’t 24 Hour Electricity?

When you travel (and not even just to remote areas) and have to capture certain scenes, write about them, and even post about them online as part of your job (or side-gig), you typically come armed and prepped for this. Your weaponry typically includes external power banks, extra batteries, and maybe even solar panels. Now, if you’re like me and may disappear for weeks on end without an electrical socket in sight, you have all these arms, and then some. But as a travel blogger, even if you’re one that doesn’t go far off grid, you will likely have plenty of juice carrying gadgets.

Nope, not if you’re BFH. In BFH’s defense we did camp the night before in a canyon without access to electricity, then spent most the day in transit between the canyon and our new home, across a border in a nomadic, transportable dwelling that BFH had made a big deal about “their audience” being probably the most of any of the things on the press trip, interested in.

Upon arrival at the portable, nomadic dwelling establishment BFH tried plugging in their electronic gadgets into the sockets (sidebar: this was a pretty fancy portable, nomadic dwelling, as most I’ve stayed in included floor beds and no electricity) but quickly noticed that none of their gadgets were charging. We then discovered that our establishment only ran a generator for two hours in the evening. Fine and dandy, right? For everyone else, yes, but of course not for BFH. This quickly morhped into a tirade turned tantrum as BFH’s phone was about to die and had no other power. It was then discovered that the only additional powering object that BFH uses is one of the power banks the size of a tube of chapstick that will charge an iPhone once or twice.

Others offered to let BFH use their power banks. The family who ran the nomadic, portable dwelling establishment even offered to increase their output by 50% and run the generator for three hours. Of course, this was still not good enough for BFH. Then the final offer came in– the husband of the family offered to take BFH’s gadgets on a 30 minute walk to the nearby village with electrical supply and charge the said gadgets and walk them all the way back to return them to BFH. You wanna talk about above and beyond? This family was trying for it… and even with all the aboves and beyonds on offer, none were good enough for BFH. BFH was also enraged that the mobile signal was so poor at the nomadic portable dwelling establishment that they could not get online to complete blog posts for a previous press trip campaign and schedule their TBEX (a circle jerker blogger conference) speed meetings for the upcoming one to be held.

So, BFH demanded to be put up in a hotel in the nearest town (at their own expense), and so they did. Buh-fuckin-bye.

I’d also like to note that: we were advised in advance that in some locations there would be a lack of connectivity and that gaps in our coverage that were to take place during the trip were completely acceptable.

And another thing: If you’re on a press trip and have other work you need to do, I see nothing wrong with working on your other obligations in your free time, though press trips are known to include very long days without much free time to complete other tasks. But when you’re telling the others and organizers that you cannot get your other work done because of a lack of connectivity and electricity that you were, in fact, warned about prior to taking the trip and that they are ultimately at fault because of it, you’re a shitty blogger that no one in their right mind should hire.

BFH essentially wanted to blame the organizers for their own poor time management skills. It would be the equivalent of me going into a dental office I’m working at and complaining that they aren’t giving me enough time and wifi to text and scroll through Instagram between patients. Why do you guys think that I write up heaps of posts when I’m home to trickle out while I’m gone for a couple of months at a time? Because I don’t always have the time or internet connection to get them done on the road. I try to avoid problems with this by trying to plan ahead… Weird concept, I know.

17. Good. It’s Raining, I’m Happy That You Guys Can’t Get What You Need To

The next day was supposed to include a trek to a lake, but thanks to hurricane-like weather in a place ironically far from any ocean, we had to cancel it. Three of us were bummed, one was a bit relieved, and BFH? BFH was jumping with joy when we got to town and informed them of this. BFH was elated that we would not be going on the trek (that she had been strongly advised not to go on after how the first trek went). It was as if BFH was rubbing it in the rest of our faces that we would not be getting the content some of us planned to use for our blog posts and social media coverage.

Being a region that I know fairly well and have spent a good chunk of time in, I had researched our destinations (the new ones I hadn’t visited prior) beforehand in order to get a jump start on my blog posts that I had agreed to in my contract. Mostly to save time later so as not to be worrying about details later on, closer to a deadline (you know, generalized adulting).

18. Research? I Don’t Do Research (And It Shows)

Our next stop took us to a reserve to view a critically endangered species. This included a brief walk in the rain, uphill to where the enclosure that two injured animals could be seen. Of course, BFH wore a long flowing dress and already was grumbling about not knowing they would have to walk this far (we’re talking maybe 0.75 km). Upon reaching the enclosure and having a brief speech by one of the caretakers translated to us, BFH then started demanding answers to certain questions from the caretaker. The caretaker did say that he was not a scientist and only a caretaker from the nearby village and that no expert on the specific animal was on site that day. BFH got angry. Then another blogger and I asked, why don’t you ask him a few more interview-like questions and tap into his observations and experience, and then research more detailed info on the animal at a later time? BFH quickly barked at us that THEY DO NOT DO RESEARCH.

Umm, what?

I’ll have you all know that a large part of blogging, in my experience, is doing research. All those guides I write on Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Yemen? They wouldn’t be possible without research and me physically visiting these places.

19. False Accusations

Next we made way to the capital city with a few stops in between. We had quite a late arrival but still made it in time to have dinner at the pub we were scheduled to have a meal and drinks at. Ironically, this is the one time BFH ironically didn’t drink… despite it being the most appropriate place on our press trip to do it. BFH claimed to have a headache, was annoyed that dinner was served so late anyways and demanded to lay down in the van while the rest of us enjoyed ourselves.

A little while later I was scrolling through Facebook to see (BFH added all of us on Facebook earlier in the trip) that BFH was essentially live-posting about how the driver of our van was trying to drug and rape her. Now, I’m not a victim blamer…. but this wasn’t the case at all. Our driver, who at that point was already back enjoying a meal with the group, had upon realizing BFH didn’t feel well, unlocked the van for BFH to lie down and popped open a bottle of aspirin for BFH to take (note that the driver doesn’t speak any English, so likely he didn’t understand what a pompous asshole BFH had been for the duration of the trip).

He, being a nice and helpful person got him branded as an attempted rapist on BFH’s personal Facebook account.

20. Fuck (Fill In The Country)

Please enlighten me with one country that hasn’t committed a heinous atrocity against a people. Sure, some governments and regimes have had greater successes in their horrific acts, but I honestly can’t think of a country/govt/etc. that is 100% innocent.

Well, here we all were at a monument to honor the people who were murdered and buried at a mass graveyard nearby in the dark of night, by the secret police ordered under the regime and dictator that ran the federal sovereign state (former country that broke up into several smaller countries) we were currently visiting. This of course set BFH off, who then proceeded to loudly say “Fuck (country)”, Fuck (country)” over and over again (note that it was the present main country that comprised most of this former, larger country, and not the former country that BFH kep screaming here). Now the country that BFH kept saying was, in fact, a large republic that comprised a large swath of the former federal sovereign state that once ruled the country we were currently in. “See, this is why, I’ll never visit (country), these people are horrible!”

I’d finally had enough. “But you’ve ironically still visited Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, the UK… and many other places where regimes and dictators committed atrocities and/or have colonized other’s lands… and you are American”. This was literally the nicest way I could put it to BFH to get BFH to think long and hard about their boycott of said country.

Now, I’m not saying what this regime did was good. It was awful. However, the ruling country at the time who’s regime carried out these atrocities was who to hold at fault, not the populace of the people that live in that country now. BFH also refused to recognize the complicated relationship the country we were visiting and the country who’s regime carried out these acts currently have. If you take the time to ask people now what they think of (country), it comes with mixed responses. Some with positive and others with negative views on that country. While this regime did terrible at things at certain points at time, rule under that country also brought many changes that a lot of citizens now are thankful for, others not so much. It’s a complex topic, that’s better left to be debated by the people involved, not us as outsiders, in my opinion.

PS: Sorry if this one is hard to follow, I was struggling with telling this story without giving exact names, events, and locations.

21. OMG You Planned This JUST For ME

The last half of our press trip was really foiled by the weather. The day following the rape accusations we were all supposed to spend a day trekking around in a nearby valley. Ironically spending as much time in this capital city as I have, I had never been to this popular day trip destination. So like the other stops on the press trip, I had researched the boring parts of the blog post I planned to write about it (you know details about getting to/from, places to stay, and so on), but heavy rain but a kibosh on that.

So instead we were taken to a part of the valley to have a nice couple hours at a spa. BFH took this as “OMG they planned this for me because they know I needed this and because they know I hate hiking.”

Umm no, idiot. They had to make an alternate plan because the original one went to hell earlier in the day.

22. No Less Than 200 Bathroom Selfies

BFH had at this point in the trip been basically refusing to eat any of the meals provided on the press trip. This is a region widely known for having a less than stellar cuisine, but it’s worth mentioning that our organizers set us up to eat at really good restaurants for the entirety of the trip. According to BFH, they had lost 10 pounds (now, I’m unsure how BFH knew this because I hadn’t seen a scale on the trip) and looked better in their utterly confusing swimwear adorned with too many straps and ties for my feeble brain to compute. BFH then proceeded to rack up somewhere in their hundreds of selfies in the bathroom mirror because no one knows how long it’ll be before BFH looks this good in swimwear again.

23. The Drunken Face Plant Heard Round The Region (Except By Me)

Downstairs at the spa there was a bar. Naturally, BFH made a beeline for it. I along with our guide headed down there as well. I ordered a shot of vodka (see the point about emergency vodka). I had woke up not feeling too well and figured a little vodka might settle things. Then there’s BFH who drank four double shots of rum. 4 x 2 = 8, let that sink in. Later on, BFH was prancing around the pool upstairs in the spa (I had already gone for a banya) and apparently mega face planted in their drunken prance-stupor, seen by all but me (and I am eternally sad about this).

24. I’m Too Pretty To Hitchhike

There we were, BFH, our guide and myself, atop a hill overlooking one of the country’s most famed landmarks, when BFH asked (for about the 4,746th time) how I managed to travel all over the region we were currently in. So for the 4,746th time, I said, “well, I’ve used shared taxis, minibusses, hitchhiked, hired drivers….”. At this point, BFH gasped and clutched their chest. “I AM TOO PRETTY TO HITCHHIKE! I could NEVER. People as beautiful as me get murdered if they hitchhike!”

Me and our guide stood there looking at each other. Me, suppressing tears of laughter (thankfully I don’t place much importance on my looks, and more on my brain muscle). Our guide, with a pure look of horror washed over him in disbelief that BFH just announced that BFH thinks I’m ugly and think that they themselves are the finest specimen to ever walk the Earth.

And as for the hitchhiking… In this region hitchhiking isn’t really hitchhiking in the classical sense of the term as we would use it in the US. In this region, any and everyone with a car seconds as a taxi/shared taxi driver. And if you’re along a road somewhere and look like you may need a lift, cars will inevitably stop to negotiate a price and drive you to where you’re going.

25. Bee Stings & Western Toilets (The Irony)

On the last official day of the press trip, we had a final national lunch in a local home. Lunch was fairly uneventful, probably due in part to the lack of foods present that BFH doesn’t fuck with. Prior to entering the home for lunch I went and used the toilet outside. Upon my return BFH queried about the toilet type. When the answer was squat, BFH quickly let us all know they’d be holding it. As we headed toward the entry to say our goodbyes to our hosts after lunch, BFH noticed a hallway in the home. BFH wandered down it and came back dancing. BFH had discovered the home had a western style toilet. BFH asked our guide if he could ask if they could use the toilet. Of course, the answer was yes.

And so, the grand finale begins

I shit you not, barely 12 seconds later there were loud wails and screams coming from the toilet.

The fuck could it be this time?

BFH came crawling down the hallway, screaming that they had been stung by a bee.

So there I was, along with our team, holding back tears. Could karma get any sweeter? I mean I’m no sadist… but after 10 days of toilet tantrums, you would have been trying not to die laughing too.

And we’re not complete heartless assholes. We verified that BFH was not allergic to bees, asked if they were having any difficulty breathing. All signs pointed to BFH making a full recovery.

But wait it gets better.

BFH is sat there on the floor, rocking back and forth, bawling, cradling the stung foot and wretching at our guide about how they were ever going to be able to scoot across a transit hall of an airport the following day. (I was stung by a bee about one week before I departed for this trip while sitting at my house drinking a beer with my neighbor… My reaction? Damn, I think I got stung by a bee. Then I picked up my beer, took a sip and moved on with my life). Then it came.

I AM IN SO MUCH PAIN FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!

SOMEONE! SUCK THE VENOM OUT OF MY FOOT. RIGHT. NOW!

That’s right. BFH dead ass requested one of us to suck the “bee venom” from their foot. Me and another blogger stood there looking at each other, holding back tears of laughter, before the other blogger said, “you can’t suck it out, it’s a bee sting, not a snake bite”. How she managed to get that out without laughing, I will never know. Our guide nodded in agreement at what will likely be the most ridiculous request he’ll receive in the entirety of his career.

But it didn’t end here, the wailing, squelching and screaming continued on for about an hour before we could finally got BFH loaded up on the van to scream some more on our way back to the capital.

26. Why Do You Have An Embargo On Ice?

It didn’t end at the bee sting meltdown. About 15 minutes into the drive, BFH began screaming at our guide that we needed to stop for ice.

So, skipping back here a little bit… BFH complained numerous times on the trip about the lack of availability of ice. Being someone that has traveled as much as BFH claims to have, you’d think BFH would already assume that the current country we were in probably didn’t have ice available hither tither, but after this trip little surprises me… Here it goes.

BFH: “I NEED ICE FOR MY FUCKING FOOT!

Guide: “We will be back in (capital city) in about 30 minutes. I will get you ice there, but we won’t find any out here”

*At that moment, we were driving down a highway surrounded by fields and not a shop in sight.*

BFH: “WHAT DOES THIS FUCKING COUNTRY HAVE AGAINST ICE?!?!?! WHAT? DO YOU PEOPLE HAVE AN EMBARGO AGAINST ICE?!?!?!?!

Guide: Puts elastic chin strap behind his head, and pulls safari-looking hat down in front of his face, releases it, and lets the elastic chin strap slap the hat down over his face and proceeds to ride back to the capital like this. The entire way.

27. Spitting Out National Fermented Dairy Products Is An Easy Way To Make The Citizens Hate You

Miraculously, by some grace of a higher being, BFH is feeling fine enough to join us at our final dinner. As we sit down, BFH exclaims that everyone on Instagram is a hater and that other bloggers (and local citizens of the two countries we were brought to) were bullying them.

Oh why, oh why would these people be “hating” and “bullying” poor and innocent BFH?

*Suppresses laughter…*

I had seen what BFH had posted to their Instagram story and knew it was only a matter of time before the backlash began. It was this:

Sometime between events 15 & 16, we crossed a border into a new country as part of the press trip. Shortly after leaving customs we were waved down by a local woman to stop. She wanted to offer us to try a fresh batch of a fermented dairy product that both countries on this press trip are widely known for and is essentially a national drink. Of course, we all agreed to stop and give it a try (mind you, this is not my first time trying this fermented, slightly alcoholic dairy product). When the woman was pouring it up our guide explained what it was before he turned to me and said, “but many tourists don’t really like this stuff.”, to which I agreed and said that on my first encounter I was told by a Frenchman who’d lived in the region for a few years that it was an acquired taste.

We each stood in a circle passing the milky concoction around taking sips. I actually like this fermented drink, personally. One other blogger in the circle said it was alright and tasted like sour cream and bacon, but didn’t love it, the other two said they didn’t like it much. At that point, BFH had disappeared around the corner of the family’s home with a glass of the fermented dairy product. BFH returned a few minutes later and told us it was gross.

Well, the Instagram story video explained that disappearance. BFH had gone around to film their “experience” trying the slightly alcoholic, fermented dairy product. The video went like this:

BFH staring into the camera, holding the glass of milky substance in front of their mouth hole. Written on the screen was “Let’s never try this again…”. BFH then takes a drink of the milky substance, rears their head back in a staged and fake manner, with a grimace of utter disgust on their face and then proceeds to spit the milky substance onto the ground. On video.

Now, you’re not expected to gush over how much you loved every experience on this trip. The organizers get that. They’re also very aware that most foreigners don’t love every bit of their cuisine. The point of this press trip was to try and attract interest to a region that is very much up-and-coming in the tourism world. BFH drunkenly read some of the feedback to the video to us over dinner whilst trying to defend their actions to us as just “being real with their audience”. There are literally 1,001 more eloquent ways BFH could have conveyed to their audience that they did not like the drink without making a staged, fake video of themselves spitting it on the ground.

So if you think getting paid to travel is fun, it is, but also you might encounter this tyrant

I mean, I’d at least like to take a moment to thank BFH for providing me with this ridiculous story to tell. Other honorable mentions that I couldn’t make fit into the timeline include:

28. I don’t pay my student loan payment because I decided I don’t want to use that degree.

29. I keep emergency money in case I need to fly myself home at my own expense from a press trip gone awry… such as one that went horribly wrong for BFH in the Czech Republic, in which BFH informed the table that the Czech Republic is NOT ready for tourism (despite being a popular destination for many travelers to Europe).

30. Redheads are gross. This was said after BFH enquired about a dashing redhead (actually a friend of mine) that was on the other simultaneous press trip in two other countries in the same region. BFH asked me to describe the friend of mine and when I got to the red hair BFH loudly exclaimed that redheads are gross (in front of the redheaded friend of mine’s colleagues at a busy restaurant, and also a redheaded blogger that was on our trip with us) and that they again, don’t fuck with that.

I’d also like to add- I do not in any way hold any of this against the board/s that invited us on this group press trip to the region. In fact, one blogger in the group actually emailed the organizers to notify them of some of the craziest/rudest/disrespectful/intolerant things that BFH did on the trip. This was met with apologies by the organizers on behalf of BFH’s behavior (which I felt they should never have to apologize for). If anyone deserves an apology it’s our staff and organizers you were consistently berated by BFH.

Need Travel Insurance?

Start shopping plans over at World Nomads, not sure they cover you if you lose it on another blogger who’s making the press trip you’re on a living hell though.

10 thoughts on “11 Days With The Travel Blogger From Hell: A Long Short Story”

  1. A great read that made me laugh, a lot. It’s often the worst situations that have the funniest stories. Funny for us, of course, but I don’t think I’d be able to be in the same room as the BFH.
    Awesome read. Does this person know you wrote this, I wonder?

    1. I’m at that point where at least when it’s happening I realize that the whole thing will be comical shortly after it’s over. I don’t know if they know this is out there, but then again they seem to live in a deluded world where they are the perpetual victim so ??‍♀️

  2. She is full of drama and thrives on it. Just check the latest twitter feed with missives such as this. https://twitter.com/LixHewett/status/1203474834065416193

    She’s only interested in Barefoot Backpacker because he has money and is willing to pay for her. If he had no cash she wouldn’t touch him with a barge pole. Wish he would realise that. She would have zero to do with him if he were penniless. She did the same with another moneybags guy that got her on multiple trips to Europe a couple of years ago. And another guy who used to help pay her rent and bail her out when she lived in London. Really funny stuff around https://gomiblog.com/forums/lifestyle-bloggers/lix-hewett/page-62/ onwards.
    “Wouldn’t be me if I didn’t make my life as complicated and expensive as possible”

    My fear is there are way more than two of these types of people kicking around.

    1. Yup I have some of the same fears too, I think there are so many operating on the fake-it-till-you-make-it, the completely bogus, and those just looking to be wronged to get their 15 minutes of fame.

  3. Such a fun read. If you had not mentioned that she was American I could have sworn you were describing Lix Hewett who’s all about making everything about her. She’s currently fleecing BarefootBackpacker on another trip. Poor bastard has no clue and keeps paying for her. He said he was into naming names, so here we are. gomiblog.com/forums/lifestyle-bloggers/lix-hewett/

  4. Wow… informative and interesting article! Thanks so much for that. Guess I will work on increasing my alcohol intake. (Like I need to already! Ha! Joke)

    Yeah, I was amazed about BFH. Definitely a poser of major proportions. I’ve been on the road almost 2 months and today finally off to Florence where i will settle in for 6 weeks. Nice to unpack completely. Had a vicious cold from like day 2 of my trip and then some “issues” very recently, but that happens.

    You dealt with BFH pretty well though, from your write-up, so kudos to you! Again, thanks for the article!!

    1. Ha, if it wasn’t a setting where I should probably behave myself I’d have lost my shit on about day two!

      I totally flipped Florence and Bologna backwards when I read your comment, so enjoy Florence! I haven’t been back in about 10 years, I actually never made it north of Rome when I was in Italy last year. Bummer about getting sick, I hate being sick on the road. I picked up some sort of bug on this last trip that stayed with me off and on for about 6 weeks, but I think we’ve hopefully gone our separate ways now haha

  5. Carl Pietrantonio

    This is, by far, the craziest travel blogging story I have ever read! And told MAGNIFICENTLY! I have to admit, I would almost kill to know the identity of BFH! You have truly outdone yourself with this post!

    Also, and this is something I kinda need to know about right now… you mention; ” in hopes to settle food-poisoning induced stomach issues”

    Um, does Vodka help with this kind of thing? I had not heard that before but as I note, I am definitely interested.

    Last day in Bologna, off to Florence for 6 weeks next! Hope your time back in AK is going great!

    1. Oh Carl, have a read! Alcohol can actually help prevent you from getting sick from a number of bacteria and what not out there. I had to take a year of microbiology for my degree, and this was my one take away besides triclosan being the devil and DNA replication being beat into my head by an angry, yet passionate microbio professor about 10 years ago.

      I couldn’t believe this blogger on the trip… the entitlement. The blatant disrespect… and the utter intolerance of the cultures of the people we were visiting! Like why leave home??

      Anyways enjoy Bologna and the Emilia Romagna region! I am beyond jealous of all the glorious foods you’ll be eating, gorge on!

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