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Hellholes, mother and the best tacos in the world

Author Chuck Thompson reveals his favorite destination from the new book, his anti-message message and mother’s reaction to his obscenities.

He is shamelessly opinionated with a teenage curiosity and lewd lingo that make great stories.

Rogue travel writer Chuck Thompson visited Syracuse University yesterday while touring for his latest book, "To Hellholes and Back: Bribes, Lies and the Art of Extreme Tourism."

The idea for "Hellholes" stemmed from the success of his first book, "Smile When You’re Lying: Confessions of a Rogue Travel Writer," when he picked up titles like “travel expert” and “guru.”

“Here I was this presumed travel expert who had never set foot on the African continent, who had never been to India, and who was a little worried about facing up to the largest city in North America [Mexico City],” Thompson said.

He realized that he had avoided these places because of their “hellhole” reputations and was unfairly deeming them “shitty” places even though he had never been to any of them.

For "Hellholes", Thompson visited Congo, India, Mexico City and Disney World. In traveling to these places, he found that no place is ever as bad as people say and you can find normalcy even in war zones.

About Chuck

Chuck Thompson is former features editor for Maxim, served as the first editor-in-chief of Travelocity magazine and worked on the launching team of He has written for publications such as The Atlantic, Esquire, National Geographic Adventure, Playboy, Spy, Escape, WWE Magazine, Outside, Men’s Journal, and the Los Angeles Times.

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