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The Contrarian Monitor

CT Investigation: NY Times Puff Piece Prompts A Closer Look at CouchSurfing.Com

Friday, April 24th, 2009

To CouchSurf, or not to CouchSurf?
That is the almighty question of Contrarian Travel, circa April 2009.
Is — the Facebook of adventure travel — a cheap, easy way of eluding mass tourism?
Does it live up to its lofty mission — connecting travelers with natives of local communities? Does it effectively eliminate the need for Hostels?
If […]

The Metrosexual Traveler: Beware of Sky Schmaltz

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

Rob Jordan, our Metrosexual Editor, called the CT’s main office late the other night, saying “enough was enough.” As most of you know, Rob has been flying frequently recently, logging thousands of AAdvantage miles for the CT on trips to Bangkok, New York, Osaka, Dar es Salaam, Kolkata, and Watertown, NY.
During these flights, […]

CT Mourns Loss of Contrarian Travel writer

Saturday, August 2nd, 2008

The CT is usually not in the business of commenting on the ups-n-downs of the media publishing biz…. The CT usually does not like to get all sappy and maudlin with our readers.. And you know that we do not like to publish in the months of June, July, August or September.  But, for once, we must.   

We were saddened to hear last […]

Contrarian Death Watch : Luang Prabang, Laos

Friday, April 25th, 2008

It’s not global warming, it’s not Islamic fundamentalism, it’s not the subprime mortgage crisis. It’s the F’n Global Tourism Industrial Complex.. As you all know, we at the CT have been screeching about the woefully under-reported and under-recognized global menace that is the Global Tourism Industry.
The arrival of the tourist – even a […]

The Transformative Zen of Vientiane, Laos

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

When Rob Jordan, the CT’s Southeast Asian editor, finally returned to his native land last week, CTers noticed a change. It wasn’t in his physical appearance. Basically, looks like the same guy, albeit shaggier and bronzer. It wasn’t in his productivity — the guy still has the remarkable Alice Waters-like ability to […]

Jordan Found Alive in… Vientiane, Laos

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

Rob Jordan, the CT’s Southeast Asian editor, had been incommunicado for more than two months.
In December, several CTers grew worried. One speculated that Jordan, believed to be in Bangkok, had fallen under the spell of a radical form of Thervada Buddhism. Another CTer, Grinnell, The Urbanologist, suggested that Jordan was likely at the […]

Lael: “Save Money, See the World, Car Camp in ‘08″

Saturday, December 29th, 2007

Lael Powell Rushing’s Top 10 Extreme Car Camping Tips, 2007
When most of the CT staff headed for Europe last month — December and January is our favorite time in Paris and Rome (no tourists!)– our West Coast editor jumped into his Ford Escort, said goodbye to family and friends, and embarked on Road Trip […]

CT Staff: Still Travellin

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Dear CT Readers: We apologize for the meager production of new content recently. But as most of you know by now, we have two huge problems: we have a small staff (Lael, the Urbanologist, the Alpha), and we also have a travel addiction.
We just wanted to let you all know that we’re […]

The Urbanologist to the Chicago Sun-Times: “Your Hoosier Coverage is Weak”

Friday, September 28th, 2007

As all our regular readers know, all too well, the CT complains, ad nauseum, about the East Coast-centricity of the travel media. (Please see “Hamptons Watch” for further elaboration)
Last week, after reading yet another travel section article on fall color in New England, which came moments after digesting a Fall Guide to Cruises, and a […]

The CT’s Review of Sunday Travel Yields… Arcosanti

Tuesday, September 18th, 2007

“We read them, so you don’t have to.”
Note from the Alpha Contrarian: As most of you already know, newspaper travel sections, overwhelmingly, suck for Contrarian Travellers. That said, they occassionally have useful info. So each week, in our constant quest to search all corners of the globe for those increasingly elusive contrarian moments, […]

The CT’s Guide to Alternative Icon-Worshipping Cultures

Friday, August 10th, 2007

One of the chief goals of the Contrarian Traveller is to not only discover new, unvisited, authentic, un-de-flowered places, but also to discover refreshing new ways of icon-worship.
For instance, we enjoy traveling to countries where certain sports stars, athletes, politicians are not lionized. It’s gratifying to be in a place where no one knows […]

36 Hours in Cinque Terre

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

This place was probably contrarian 50 to 100 year ago. Maybe during the pre-war era. Now, you’ll meet all kind of mainstream middle managers from Middle Europe, Americans on the Rick Steve’s tour. You’ll find tchtachke shops, and Japanese group tours, and prix fixe menus, and all kinds of things we like […]

The Contrarian’s Guide to Pike Place Market

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

Although Grinnell, the Urbanologist, appears to be the second coming of Augie March, or some scrappy fish-mongerer from say, Bensonhurt, Bklyn, or Gloucester, Mass, the guy is actually from Seattle. Yep, the Emerald City. You could never tell. Look at him? He looks like a pipe-fitter from Dorchester for chrissakes.
I’ve never seen the […]

New Feature! The Daily Contrarian

Friday, July 27th, 2007

Come on all of you Contrarians out there! It’s time for the Daily Contrarian Quiz:
Every day, the Alpha Contrarian or Extreme Car Camping Guru, Lael, will pose a vexing geographical question… Our Inaugural question, is a photo question, and it comes from Lael..
Question: What is the name of this rarely visited, major North […]

Extreme Car Camping: The Steens

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007

I went to visit Lael Powell-Rusing, West Coast and Car Camping Editor, a few weeks ago. The purpose: get a first-hand taste of what Powell-Rushing calls “Yogic Extreme Car Camping 101.” Lael also promised that that he’d give me a sneak peek at a new sport he was developing: Extreme Adventure Golfing.

It all sounded good. Car camping, yoga, a new sport, a four-day trip, Lael’s home-made vegan pierogies (a Powell-Rushing staple)

The Contrarian Manifesto

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Translation from the original Aramaic:
We’re self-hating tourists. We love to travel, but we bristle at the faintest whiff of tourism. We started this site, this year, because we know that there are plenty of others like us. We have a particular approach to tourism.. Which will be explained as soon as the Editor, and Chief […]