'Lonely Planet' Writer Admits He Made It Up

Writer dealt drugs, took freebies, and oh yeah, never visited Colombia
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 14, 2008 4:00 AM CDT
The travel publisher Lonely Planet sells more than six million guides a year.   (Flickr)
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(Newser) Lonely Planet guidebook executives are reeling in the wake of memoir confessions by one of their authors that he fabricated or plagiarized parts of the books—and dealt drugs to fund his trips. Thomas Kohnstamm also writes in Do Travel Writers Go to Hell? that he flouted guidebook policy by accepting free travel. “They don’t pay enough for what they expect the authors to do,” he told Australia's Herald Sun.

Kohnstamm, a contributor to more than a dozen Lonely Planet guides, said he didn’t even visit Colombia to write about it. “I wrote the book in San Francisco,” he confessed. “I got the information from a chick I was dating—an intern in the Colombian consulate.” The CEO of the Melbourne-based company wrote in an email that Kohnstamm’s books are being urgently reviewed.