“Confessions of a Travel Writer” Reviewed

categories: Uncategorized

Charles_RunnetteI have, for some reason, sarcastic children. When I point this out to people who know me they have a tendency to laugh in my face. I think this is because there is a possibility that I can also be viewed as sarcastic by those who don’t appreciate how truly witty I really am.

With that sort of personally and a great interest in travel you would think that the snarkiness of Travel Channel’s new show “Confessions of A Travel Writer” would be just my cup of tea. This show followed 4 travel writers and one travel blogger/vlogger on a press tour of Chile. The idea was that it was a look at both the glamour and grunge of the travel writing profession. The lead character in this reality drama is Charles Runnett who was involved in the creation of this show.

To say that people have reacted to the personality of Charles Runnett would be putting in mildly. In the comments to an interview of Runnett on the Travel Channel site, viewers have described him with phrases such as:

  • negative and narrow minded
  • a completely pretentious snob
  • He seems to take no joy in ANYTHING
  • an arrogant, self absorbed, petty jerk
  • snobby high school girl who is just too good for everything
  • an arrogant, negative joy-sucking jerk

It seems that the intent was to get someone opinionated in the fashion that Simon Cowell is on American Idol. Part of the problem is that so many of his comments are made about his fellow writers behind their back that he comes off as mean. He mocks a writer for National Geographic Traveler, for instance, because he speaks Spanish… in Chile. How is that a bad thing?

Later in the show Runnett does find great enjoyment in Patagonia, in the food, and in the hotels but it appears that by then many people had already tuned out.

I think the idea of following travel writers is interesting. I think the idea of learning that travel writing is not one long vacation (and does not pay that well) is educational if somewhat discouraging for travel bloggers like me. But, I think even when I am only planning a virtual vacation in front of the TV set there are some people I would like as travel companions and some I would leave at home.

For more discussion on Confessions of a Travel Writer check out this week’s episode of “This Week in Travel“.

Share this:

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast, and a co-host for This Week in Travel podcast.

2 Responses to ““Confessions of a Travel Writer” Reviewed”



Your observation about people with whom you might, or might not, want to travel was also at the heart of my lukewarm reaction to this show. I commented elsewhere that I wasn’t so sure what the attraction of a press trip might be where I ran from dawn ’til dusk with a group like this.

I know editing to advance development of characters the folks running the show want to see plays a big part in reality shows. For that reason, I’d guess Runnett may not be nearly as insufferable as he comes across in this episode…but as I’ve heard many reality show stars say in the past, the editors do work with what you put out there yourself, so you’re largely responsible for how you come across on screen.



Unlike so many others who have expressed negativity, I was completely entertained by the “persona” Runnet projected in this first episode of the Travel Channel’s “Confessions of A Travel Writer.” That doesn’t mean I would care to travel in his company.

No doubt Runnet, his producers and post-production editors took full advantage of blending a liberal dose of sarcasms, frequent condescending observations of fellow travelers and even some mild self-effacing to introduce his “character.” It will be interesting to see how Runnet, the character, as well future story lines develop.

As in the case of Anthony Bourdain….some people love his character and some people have distain for the character…..but there has been and continues to be a market for his work!

One suggestion I would have for Runnet, once you have adequately establish who you are in this series…..spend a little more time enlightening your viewer on the destinations. I have travelled to some of the places you featured in the Chile episode…..the local people, especially those living outside Santiago, are very welcoming….the wines of the various regions are exceptional and getting better every year and there is probably no other place on earth as inspirational as southern Patagonia (the long van rides into Torres del Paines National Park need not be the focus of extended negative commentary……you will have fond memories of the landscape and wildlife long after your hemorrhoids have subsided).


Leave a Reply

Tags: ,