Address Controversy Related to Ep. 51: Long, Hot, and Smelly
September 3, 2016– This video, Ep. 51: Long, Hot, and Smelly, was and still is a harmless, satire video based upon the budget savvy traveler lifestyle. We decided that we needed to formally address this topic as we’ve been harassed, threatened, and bullied all over the internet. Up until now it really didn’t bother us as we knew we never made any hateful, derogatory, or insulting comment about anyone or any group specifically. What has bothered us is fellow travel bloggers taking this great opportunity to spread hate on other travelers who do things a little differently, act a little quirky, and don’t fit the status quo.
It is these same travel bloggers who have made travel so incredibly predictable and redundant. These are the people who actually inspired us to document our travels around the world in this format. We also thought it would be a good way of sharing our experience with our family and friends. We wanted to show them what it truly incorporates to travel the world on a tight budget for two years. Everyone assumed we were on a two-year vacation. They were wrong. It takes a lot of work and patience. We never created these videos with the intention to be shocking or to go viral. In the past, we were lucky to get 100 views on a YouTube video. And that was on a good day!
As we previously stated in our vlogs, every day can’t be the best day of your life. Travel can be hard. Especially, on a hot train in the summer in Romania. And not everyone has to travel exactly in the same manner or visit exactly the same sites or partake in the exact same activities.
Mainstream travel bloggers have created the notion that there’s only one correct way to travel. It’s these travel bloggers, like xyz (I will not submit his name at this time because he would love the advertising revenue on his travel blog), who create a fake utopian travel world experience. Instead of actually acknowledging the world we live in, they create a fake, scripted, and over-edited perfectly narrated version in order to push their agenda.
Their agenda is to “sell” everyone on how travel is ALWAYS great in the hope that you’ll visit their site and follow their journey (in order for them to gain advertising revenues). They’re living a lie! They NEVER share a real opinion. They can’t (and won’t) judge anyone/anything out of the mainstream because they know the impact it may take on their revenue stream. Instead, they sell the “digital nomad” lifestyle. They travel the world getting virtually everything paid for by sponsors and earning revenue from their sites, videos, fake opinion pieces, etc. They go through life telling everyone how great everything is like a preprogrammed robot. Never ever giving their real opinion. Never adding to the world. Only, showcasing the absolute best case scenario wherever they travel.
Somehow the world has changed into this place where you cannot have an opinion and everyone gets offended. We could state a fact such as, “the sky is blue.” And someone, somewhere out in the world will get offended and argue to the death that it’s not. Guess what? It’s OK to have an opinion. It’s OK to say you don’t like something. You can’t possibly like everything and everybody everywhere around the world all of the time. This is however, exactly what today’s modern mainstream travel blogger attempts to convey. Based on how we were bombarded by the mainstream media in Romania for making silly comments about a stinky train, we can see why. It’s a whole lot easier to paint a perfect picture than deal with the slim possibility of possibly offending someone somewhere and have to deal with the repercussions.
Here’s what really happened. We created a slightly ridiculous travel video that was basically made for family & friends back home. Then, low information sources, like fellow travel bloggers and the Romanian mainstream media blew it WAY out of proportion. Why? To push their agenda.
As previously stated, today’s travel blogger must always state how great travel is even in the worst case scenario. They do this in order to generate advertising revenue. Unlike us (The Budget Savvy Travelers), who haven’t made one dime travel blogging/vlogging. Nothing. What these travel bloggers are doing is selling a Ponzi scheme. They’re really no better than Madoff.
What actions did these travel bloggers perform the second they heard about a controversial travel video? They figured out a way to capitalize on it and bring traffic to their sites. Well, that was a big mistake on both their part and the Romanian mainstream media. This is because both parties made enormous assumptions about an utterly vague, harmless, satire (essentially a family video) before they knew any of the facts.
Here are the facts.
- Some people are upset because I said, “the signs are always wrong, the people are always wrong, everything is always wrong.” You need to take into the consideration (obviously) the place and context of the clip. I’ll try to explain. Audrey and I were talking about TRAINS. Hence, the “TRAIN” signs are always wrong. Hence, the people we interact with about the “TRAIN” are always wrong. Hence, everything related to the “TRAIN” system is wrong. Everyone who’s ever traveled on a train in Romania knows their entire system is horrible and tragic. A huge slow pain. If you can’t accept this, there’s absolutely nothing I can do to convince you otherwise. If you’re also assuming that we meant all Romanians are wrong about everything than you are someone who is just looking for controversy. Or maybe you’re looking for an outlet to vent your own personal frustrations?
- Some people are upset because I said, “it’s not necessarily the train, it’s the people on the train that stink.” Did we indicate whether it was 1 person or all people? Did we indicate where the people were from? There could have been another set of backpackers from Germany next to us or an American for that matter. Many just assumed they knew the answer. Like that disgraceful top cop in Romania who assumed it was a poor peasant. Why? To push his agenda. This was a horrible assumption for a government official to make. To be completely honest, we never wanted to bring up specificities as to who was responsible for the less than fragrant odors on the train (for obvious reasons) but now we must. There were two gentlemen. One was the train conductor (I assume he was Romanian as he worked for the state but I’m not 100% sure of where he actually came from). In reality, I don’t blame him for smelling. He’s wearing a wool suit in summer on a hot train in Romania. How about easing up on the dress code? But that doesn’t take away from the fact that it did impact our experience and therefore needed to be included in our daily vlog. The other gentlemen was what appeared to be middle-aged, middle-class, very ordinary man. We have no idea where he’s from either. When he got on the train he sat about four rows behind us (we could smell him from that distance), he then (thankfully) proceeded to move to the first-class cabin. In terms of other train smells, the bathrooms were of course bad. Nothing else stands out in our memories.
- The unit we stayed in (Cluj-Napoca) was reviewed by 50+ fellow Airbnb guests as having 5 stars. We paid $41.50 per night and did not expect to arrive to a filthy smelly apartment. We have worked very hard for our money and do not spend it frivolously and get extremely upset when we feel like we’re being taken advantage of. Based on the facts of this case, we later opened up a dispute with the Airbnb Resolution Center and they sided on our behalf. Affirming that the host was in the wrong and responsible for our bad experience. Obviously, not all Romanians are responsible for this experience, only the host. In fact, we’re not even sure if the host was Romanian.
Here’s the sad part. Everyone smells. Everyone sweats. Some worse than others. It’s human, it’s natural. We ALL do it. For people to purposely take this so far out to the extreme and so far out of context shows how screwed up the world is. At this point, we’ve been blamed for Hiroshima, slavery, and terrorism. We’ve been threatened with rape, murder, and even sodomy, just to name just a few.
One last final and important note. We’re not going away. Our videos are only going to get more real and more unedited. Our goal is to shake up this fake travel blogging industry that’s been created with the sole purpose of generating advertising revenue. Here’s the official warning to all of you overly sensitive haters. We’re documenting our travels based on our experiences. Not yours. If you don’t like it, you don’t need to watch.
Welcome to the real world.
Audrey & Harry