Romanian visa - flowers

Reactions to My Romanian Visa Post (and my response)

Derek Personal Stuff, Romania 135 Comments

Romanian visa - flowers

This is a post I wasn’t expecting to write. But I’m writing it because my last post – the one about having my Romanian residency visa refused – certainly went in an unexpected direction.

Let me recap what that post on Tuesday was all about:

I applied for a 1-year temporary residency visa in Romania, the visa was refused and so I left the country.

That was it.

Yet somehow, a controversy was created. The fascinating part is that the controversy was created, not by myself, but by a few angry commenters who seemed to interpret my post in their own interesting way.

I received nasty comments and emails from people who were bringing up points that, not only were incorrect or just absurd, but had absolutely nothing at all to do with what I wrote in the post.

Let’s take a closer look…

Um, I’m Not Upset

At no time whatsoever in that last post did I state that I was upset right now about my Romanian visa situation. Yes, I did mention my initial anger at being told my visa was rejected after I had already been told it was accepted by immigration. But that anger lasted about 5 minutes. After that, I left the immigration office, packed up my stuff and left the country the next day.

In my post, I didn’t complain, I didn’t say it was a crime that I wasn’t given the visa. I don’t expect anyone to be compassionate about this situation. I don’t blame anyone in Romania or the Romanian government. I never talk negatively about Romania as a country or about the immigration authorities or about anyone at all.

I just told the story of what took place.

Things happen, so it goes, no big deal. I’ll survive just fine. I’m really not too upset about it all.

But it’s incredible to see how fired up people get about things I didn’t even say. It’s as if some were waiting for the first opportunity to express their own anger at something, at life, and I apparently, and inadvertently, provided it. And so I think a few things need discussing at this point…and here’s a good place to start.

Break My Legs? Nice.

For some reason, a few of you got the idea (without knowing me or doing any research on my site at all of course), that I just showed up at the Romanian immigration office and said, “I’m a cool blogger, give me residency.

Well, sorry to disappoint you but that’s far from the case. I followed the rules just like anyone. I actually followed exactly what the Romanian immigration authorities told me to do in order to be granted the residency visa. I stood in line for 3 days to apply for my visa, dealing with complete chaos at the immigration office each day. I purchased health insurance, got my notarized documents, had my proof of accommodation, did everything I was told. Oh well.

So, based on all of this, I really can’t understand why one of you would write this comment:

Ohh, a story so sad, I’m very sorry, when back in Bucharest, let me know, we drink a beer together and after I will break your legs, go back where you came from! 😉 That is for your hypocritical story.

As much as that comment made me laugh, it’s a bit, well, absurd? Immature, maybe? I can certainly understand why you didn’t use your real name when submitting that comment. Good call my friend.

Let’s move on to a couple of the other ‘points’ that some upset commenters brought up, often ever-so-colorfully, in response to my last post.

US Immigration

A few people seemed stuck on the US immigration issue, with such comments as:

Honestly, I am really happy that it happened! It is first time in my life I heard an American was refused a visa to stay in Bucharest. It is a good opportunity to remind you that hundreds of thousands of Romanians have been refused a visa by the US Embassy regardless of their status, business, education etc. Do you know the pile of papers one needs to apply for a visa to the US Embassy? Do you know that US Embassy does not speak to you with regard to the refusal reasons as the Romanian immigration officer did with you? Do you know how humiliated Romanians feel because of that?

Sorry to hear about this but don’t forget the fact that for me, a Romanian, getting a US visa means going to an interview, feeling humiliated, gather a ton of dollars to prove I’m not some homeless and more. Which is why US is out of my travel list for good. So I can’t even get to step on American soil for 1 second. Is a great thing, right?

But, why am I so proud, well first of all because as a Romanian I cannot enter USA without a visa and to get that visa I have to humiliate myself: I have to go to Bucharest (6-8h by train) wait in line for another 5-6 hours, pass an interview (which I am not sure I will be able to pass) and so on…This is just to enter the country, eat a big mac and get out of the country, moreover just to pay for my plane ticket I have to work 3 months on minimum wage here in Romania. In other words, the way US gov. treats Romanians, the same way should Romanian government treat you – to humiliate you.

Okay, wait a minute.

First, this comparison is completely irrelevant to my post and to my situation so those things you said above aren’t really things you wanted to say to me. I have nothing to do with US immigration policy (about as much as you have to do with the Romanian immigration policy) so there’s really no sense in blaming me or bringing that into the discussion. But with that said, I think we’re talking about somewhat different scales here as I have a feeling there are slightly more people that US immigration must deal with than the Romanian immigration. There are reasons the US needs to be stricter. Again, I’m not qualified to discuss immigration policy but I think it’s a bit more complex than countries just trying to humiliate other people.

I’m not saying that it’s fair for those who genuinely want to visit and I’m not saying that Romanians want to go and stay there illegally either. But some commenters made it seem as if the US is picking on Romanians specifically. Sorry, but that’s not the case. Most countries in the world have to go through a visa process to get into the US, that’s just how it goes given the circumstances, which are, again, circumstances that Romania doesn’t face in terms of immigration, hence the difference in procedure.

But, and this is purely for discussion sake since it also doesn’t have to do with my last post at all, let’s talk about the “getting a US visa means going to an interview, feeling humiliated, gather a ton of dollars to prove I’m not some homeless and more” and “In other words, the way US gov. treats Romanians, the same way should Romanian government treat you – to humiliate you” part.

I’m sorry, but that’s not true from the information I’ve received. Perhaps some of you have been rejected for a US tourist visa but out of all the Romanians I’ve met who have applied for a US tourist visa (at least 15 people I’ve talked to now that I think about it), they all:

  • 1. Received the 10 year tourist visa
  • 2. Never had to show much paperwork or bank statements or proof of employment even though they brought that paperwork with them (in fact, some of these people were unemployed when they applied)
  • 3. Had an ‘interview’ that consisted of 2 or 3 quick questions at the counter
  • 4. Were not humiliated in any way at all

In fact, while some might complain about waiting for 5-6 hours in line to get your US visa, let me remind you that I waited for three days to apply for my Romanian visa, three crazy days. So that 1 day isn’t so bad considering the amount of applications they process and from what I hear, it’s quite organized inside the US Embassy, something that the Romanian immigration office is not unfortunately.

This whole ‘humiliation’ thing doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I really can’t find, and believe me I tried to tonight, someone who had a humiliating or extremely difficult experience when trying to get a US tourist visa. I’m sure some of you will say you did, and that is unfortunate for sure, but it doesn’t seem like all Romanians are having a really tough time with this.

Just Because I Have a Blog?

I mean really, you really expected a residency visa just because you promote Romania on a blog?…I really cannot think of a country willing to issue you a residence visa for your motives and purposes.

Actually, I can think of one. It’s called Romania. As a couple of commenters pointed out on the last post, I was already given a Romanian temporary residency visa in 2012 for these very motives and purposes. In fact, I had a meeting back then with the Romanian immigration officials (they have weekly audiences where you can talk to them and ask questions) and they actually told me exactly what I needed to do to get the visa based on being a blogger. I followed their instructions, which involved a contract with a Romanian organization, and I was given the residency visa. So there you go.

No Intention of Paying Taxes

I don’t know why you are surprised that they did not give a visa to someone who has no intention of paying taxes in the country.

Romania has a category of temporary residency visa called “Other” and this is the category that the immigration officers, during my meeting with them, told me to apply for. This category is used for applicants who want to stay in the country but who will not be working or studying there. It’s for, and I quote from the Romanian immigration website, “Other activities which are not contrary to the Romanian laws“.

So, I followed the rules for that category as instructed by Romanian immigration officials, and applied, again, receiving the visa back in 2012 without any issue. Also, during my meeting with officials, it was brought up that I was a good candidate for the temporary residency visa because I didn’t use any government resources and yet I spend a lot of money in the country.

Another Unemployed Man

Also, by writing a blog, you do not provide sufficient evidence that you can sustain yourself in Romania and another unemployed man to sustain is not what we as Romanians desire.

Fair enough, if I was unemployed. However, I am employed (I run two companies) and I earn a good salary and I was actually told, by the immigration officer, when applying for my visa, that American applicants do not need to show proof of income or any bank statements. I had the statements printed out and ready to hand in but the officer handed them back to me when I applied and said they didn’t need them. If they did look at them, I’m quite certain they would have found the numbers to be more than sufficient evidence that I can sustain myself.

Three Final Notes

  • 1. I didn’t approve every comment that I received on my last post. Those with profanity, those that included threats to either myself or others and those that were just extremely rude were deleted.
  • 2. It’s a bit disappointing how people tend to judge so quickly, to form an opinion based on very little information. And sometimes, this comes from the very same people who like to be judged as individuals themselves and not based on stereotypes. Quite a few people were ready to blurt out their conclusion and to be so nasty about it, without ever asking any questions or taking time to learn more about the situation. It’s unfortunate and a good reminder that there are always more angles to every story than what we initially might think.
  • 3. Without a doubt, I still love Romania, I still think it’s a wonderful destination to visit with so much to offer and I still love the people that I’ve met all over the country. Thank you to every one of you who made my time in your country so rewarding and an absolute highlight of my 15 years of travel…I’m sure I shall see you again!

There you have it. That’s my response to the accidental ‘controversy’ created by my last post. And that’s also the last I’ll talk about it since, once again, it was just a story.

It was just a story about what happened to me this month, nothing more.

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Comments 135

  1. Anita verma

    I read your story. Really quite rude and harsh behavior of immigration officers. sometimes a person feels why to be here. I am an Indian and I am here officially by Indian government to teach in the university along with my husband. I had to face a lot for getting temporary one year visa even though me and my husband both are having official passports. Till now my husband could not get the family reunification visa. He is still in india waiting for visa for last six months. I visited many countries before and till now I have American 10years tourist visa.
    You wrote very well about your sufferings and problems you faced in Romania. Looking forward to read more about you.

  2. Gillian

    I didn’t see the original post, but I want to commend you for such a measured, articulate, and objective report on the controversy that some of your readers created. I guess Americans haven’t cornered the market on snap judgments, rudeness, and trolling. I think these sorts of responses just go to show how quickly some people want to assume the worst of others. I am going to guess the people who responded to you so rudely haven’t done much traveling themselves, since getting to know strangers is the best way to learn that the best that lies within us also lies within others, and we should always give people the benefit of the doubt. In this case, I’m going to give those people who were so rude to you the benefit of the doubt and say that, while there’s no excuse for how they treated you, they must have some particular pain in their lives that makes them strike out that way. I was very moved by this comment above from Liviu, “Maybe 50 years of communism had make ourselves gray on the inside as well as the buildings outside? I hope not.” I hope not too, Liviu. As mystifying as public nastiness is to me, I offer my compassion to those hotheads and hope they one day overcome the suffering that no-doubt plagues them.

  3. Liviu

    Earl, I am Romanian and I found this article after 2 day reading your adventures in Romania. I didn’t expect that. I didn’t expect that your VISA would be refused. And for sure I didn’t expect to hear about some angry comments from Romanian readers. For that, I am sorry.
    You’ve seen a lot of this world and now you are one step closer to understand Romanians as a nation. We do have a wonderful country. We do have wonderful people. And we do have our lowest human empathy sometimes. You said in post few years ago that we do have an certain apathy. Maybe frustration. That is true. Maybe 50 years of communism had make ourselves gray on the inside as well as the buildings outside? I hope not. Well, at least nobody blew himself out yet in Romania and tourists will come anyway, even without a VISA for more than 90 days.

    Next time in Bucharest, give me a sign.
    I’ll provide the beer (Weiss Beer Garden Bucharest), the friends (all of them), the BBQ (mici), a country house (1 hour away), a fishing day (near country house), a drift car (Toyota Soarer) and a huge empty parking lot (Corsarul A1 km30).
    Maybe Romania will make up to you a little.


    PS – You didn’t saw Delta Dunarii yet, so…. 🙂

    1. Post

      Hey Liviu – Thanks for that comment and I will definitely let you know the next time I’m in Bucharest. Would be great to meet up for sure and yes, I really do need to get to the Danube Delta, that I know!

      And the good news about Romania is that those who visit, do love the country. I just finished my latest Wander Across Romania tour the other day and everyone on the trip had such a great time and truly enjoyed every place we visited. This is great news of course and I can only think that more and more foreigners will want to travel there in the near future.

      It really is a country that has everything a person could possibly want/need!

  4. Miro

    My fellow Romanians can get a bit carried away on the internet so I’m not exactly shocked by the comments you received from them.

    Anyhow, I hope you’ll be back soon, my brother and I always talk about how cool it would be to grab a drink with you and maybe share some travel stories.

  5. Ioan_ro

    Love your blog earl!
    Back then i remember, your visa issue articol was linked in a national kind of online tabloid read of course by specific just hate & argue sth consumers. Those people inavded your blog with comments without even reading the full story, having no ideea about your work or of what thrives us here, the passion for tourism. The diplomacy you handled the ackwardness of the situation was indeed that of a high rang experienced polititon :))

  6. George

    You must visit Romania again. You dont know what are you missing. I hope you will visit lovely Transylvania county with faimous Bran Castle (Dracula),stunning Maramures with Meerly Cemetery,briliant Mocanita railway,wood monastery, finest food ever in country side, also you must see Bucovina with painted monastery, no doubt miraculous Danube Delta the wildest place from Europe where you will find wild horses, thousands species of fishes and birds,a unique land in world. You really Must see Macin mountains-the oldest from Europe, Carpathian mountains with thermal water, with the best road in world Transfagarasan highway.
    I hope you try again to take a visa for a long time. Dont worry about the bad comments you should understand about Romania for romanians means a land of all possibilities and opportunities not USA.
    Romania is the best start for every global traveler because of the best prices for Europe it’s coming with the amazing nature, with combination between new and old, capitalism and socialism, a “ugly” bureaucracy , one of five romanians speak english and/or other language, medieval cities like Sibiu, Sighisioara, Brasov, Cluj Napoca as known such as Silicon Valley from Europe, smart, simple and hospitable people.

    I am sure you will have the power to came back and to discover Romania. I am waiting forward to see a post about new journery. One year for see Romania It’s not enough.
    Romania is lifetime journery.

    keep travelling

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey George – Thanks for the comment and don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll be back in Romania. I actually used Romania as my base for 3 years so I’ve been to the country around 30 times and have traveled all over the place. And I’ve loved every experience I had which is why I know I’ll be back again!

  7. Chris

    Sorry to hear there have been others who I can only assume took this opportunity to vent frustration from their own problems on you.

    Very diplomatically handled… happy travels!

  8. Nee

    ‘It’s as if some were waiting for the first opportunity to express their own anger at something, at life, and I apparently, and inadvertently, provided it.’

    Very true. I ve once asked about how to fill in the first and last name for air ticket booking in a forum. I had already stated i was booking for a friend and since her name is a combination of Christian and chinese name, i didn’t know what should i fill up for her first name.

    I got plenty of aggresive replies like “go to a registrar and change your name, idiot”, “since you hated your friend’s name so much, unfriend her”. Yet, all i asked was “what’s to fill in for first name”. Amazing right?

  9. Camy

    Hi Earl,

    I accidentally came across to your blog and found this…..I sincerely apologise for all my silly compatriots! Including for those who didn’t give you the residence permit. Ridiculous.
    Keep travelling and sharing your stories!

    All the best,

  10. Kevin

    Nice post Earl.

    I think the lesson here that people need to learn is, people are not their governments! Almost all governments are FUBR and not worthy of defending, whether you happen to be born on their dirt or not.

    Yes the US government does some ridiculous things to people wanting a visa. In fact the esta visa is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard of- you literally can just be transferring plans, and the dopey government requires some people to get a visa for that 2 hours they are sitting in the airport.

    And the Romanian government is no better. I’ve never been to Romania but I’m sure, based on Earl’s and other posts I’ve read about it, it’s an amazing place filled with amazing people.

    But the government is another story, and I don’t conflate the two.

    Let’s just judge each person as an individual, especially when it comes to Earl simply telling a story. Earl has no more in common with the US bureaucrats stopping people from getting visas than he does the Romanian ones.

    Getting angry about a post like this seems to be to go against the spirit of this blog anyway.

    Keep wandering everyone!

  11. Monica

    Earl, sorry you received nasty comments. Hope you didn’t let any of the nonsense affect you. I appreciate all that you share on your blog. You seem to be very well spoken and your sentiments seemed well thought through before sharing. Best of luck to your endeavors; and I remain a loyal fan to your blog and your business. Never let the negativity bias get the best of you!

  12. K.

    in support of your point about immigration rules: even Canadians, who share a large border with the USA, don’t go through an easy process if they want to work or stay an extended period of time in the USA. Entry (and exit) for short term visiting purposes is decent but can be subject to a full on-the-spot search and investigation at the discretion of the boarder agent (there is even a television show about this). As you mentioned, the volume is quite significant and I think this may be part of why processes are made more elaborate: they want to make sure the high volume doesn’t represent something bad. Anyways Im sad that you had to defend yourself, but i wish you happy travels!

  13. Damon and Jo

    Ouch! This sounds like the typical visa/immigration/customs headache. I can’t think of one time all of it was ever a seamless, fun, and friendly experience! But you go Earl, you show Romania who’s boss!

  14. Rebi Cimpean

    Hello there Earl. I found out about your blog from another romanian blogger who described the reactions you got from my fellow romanians of whom I am ashamed, but not too much since I don’t resemble them at all. Too bad that post is in romanian so you wouldn’t be able to understand it. It is good to see this yucky experience (nicely said) didn’t make you have a negative outlook on the country itself and its people. I’m sure your work brought Romania and the whole world much benefits, everything that comes from sincerity, with honesty, beautiful intent can’t produce anything but goodness in the end.

  15. Rafael

    Earl, you didn’t even have to make this post explaining yourself. not worth the time. like you said, these are just people looking for an excuse to vent their frustrations. You are not a US immigration official and are not accountable for how the US Government deals with visa applications. It is true, applying for a US visa is a nightmare, but I understand why it can be so hard. The US has the worst problems with immigration, so they must be strict. Then again, interviews are pretty random. Sometimes they won’t even look at your papers, other times they will ask for your grandma’s neighbor’s cat’s name. In the end, haters gonna hate, so just keep living the good life! 🙂

  16. Avery

    people will surprise you: both with their deep capacity for understanding and empathy, and also for their sheer blunt ignorance and arrogance. Sometimes you just gotta embrace the good and take a ‘see no evil, hear no evil’ mentality to the bad.

  17. Amon Beifong

    Hey earl I’m a big fan of your blog and have read a good bit of your work. Your piece that got the hateful comments was completely unjustified. I’m sorry for the poisonous words I like the aura of happiness on this site. Don’t let the haters get ya down. Keep on keep in on! -Amon

  18. Hugh

    Hey Earl,

    I’ve read both your blog entries on the subject and am at a loss as to know what the problem is. Reading some of the comments condemning your post(s) fail to clear this up. It seems the replies either hold you personally responsible for US immigration policy/mistreatment – which is just silly – or they imagine some slight to Romania – none exists.

    The truth is, the reasons the office gave you WERE ridiculous (who could deny it?), though you showed remarkable restraint not to say so. Every country in the world suffers from bureaucratic inconsistencies, so even if you had criticised the decision, it could not sensibly be read as an insult to Romania or Romanians. That’s my penny’s worth anyway… Hope you’re not too shaken up by the whole unpleasant business.

  19. [email protected] The British Berliner

    Hey Earl,

    I know this discussion is probably all done and dusted by now, but I just wanted to say that I’m so sorry to hear about what happened but most amazingly of all, how readers have treated you. I am just amazed!
    I knew bloggers were in Romania to meet you and I was looking forward to meeting you myself in Spain as I consider you one of the good guys, a long-term blogger and a person who genuinely wants to involve yourself with local insights and local people. You strive to be honest, polite, open-minded but most of all, you’re human. Just like the rest of us.

    You shared your story of mishap, you explained how you concurred with the official decision, you followed the rules, and then you moved on. Why then the witch-hunt by people who not only not know you personally, but see you as a symbol of all that has gone bad in the world. I mean, you’re not a political animal. You’re just a young man finding a way to live your life of a travel in a legal open-hearted way.
    Good luck on the search to your new home.

  20. Peter

    Hey Earl,

    Meantime while it is quite unfortunate that you were kicked out of romania because of that visa issue, what about hiring a lawyer to help you? Have you considered that before? (though I am not familiar with how much a lawyer in romania would cost)

  21. Leticia

    Hey, Earl!
    First, I just read your previous post – being a Brazilian girl living in India for almost two years now, even I relate to that feeling of being overwhelmed and missing the country as soon as you leave it. Maybe it’s what’s keeping me here.
    Second, I’m very sorry to hear about people’s reactions to your experience. Don’t let them get you down.
    Third – have you considered Thailand for residency? Johnny from OneStep4Ward is based there and keeps just renewing his tourist Visa every few months or so – he even bought a flat in Bangkok.
    Good luck with your travels! Been to Miami in December and it was quite lovely – though not as crazy as India 😉

  22. Michael

    I know you were searching for a place to live for a while and it’s too bad Romania didn’t work out.
    However, I think Yerevan, Armenia would be a great place for you to live. It is an up and coming city that is very modern and slightly cheaper than Romania. Armenia is a very peaceful safe country that is quickly evolving. Yerevan and Armenia are filled with tons of history, attractions, and natural beauty so you would love it. The city has a population of just over 1 million and is full of cafés, and restaurants. Yerevan reminds many of Paris. The city also has a modern underground metro system as well as many trains to the suburbs. The main reason I think you would like Armenia is because it could serve you as a midpoint between Europe and Asia with countless direct flights. Reaching the USA is very easy with connecting flights through Paris, Germany, and London ( I live in Boston and have done this before). The Armenian are a very friendly, kind, caring people that will take you in as family and feed you until you can’t eat anymore (the food and alcohol is outstanding). The city is not close to the beach but it is near Lake Sevan which is a huge lake that takes up a large piece of Armenia. The city has all the amenities you need movie theaters, shopping malls, universities (99% literacy rate). Overall it is a great place and you should really look into and consider it.

  23. Daniel

    Hi Earl. It is sad that people with pent up issues will use any excuse to lash out just to make themselves feel better, even if lashing out doesn’t make any sense. I don’t need to say this as I am sure you know it: Do not loose site of the bigger picture and that is that you still inspire a lot of people around the world and that you are still on your path doing what you intend to do. A little smirk, a little sparkle in the eyes, a little dusting off, and onward you go!!

  24. simon

    “Ohh, a story so sad, I’m very sorry, when back in Bucharest, let me know, we drink a beer together and after I will break your legs, go back where you came from! 😉 That is for your hypocritical story.” Haha, that is the best comment I’ve ever read – in a so bad it’s good kind of way, obviously.

    Who would have thought your initial post would drum up such controversy? Not to make light of your situation (actually, that’s exactly what I’m doing!) but maybe I should run a similar post on my blog for a massive ratings boost 😉

    Just ignore the clowns, mate, and keep on keeping on.

  25. Peter

    Hi, I’m sorry to hear about your experience.

    I only recently came to be living in Romania, as a citizen of the Anglosphere (Not the USA) I was applying for jobs in Europe and one happened to be based in Romania. A few weeks later, I was accepted and living here.

    The fact I work within the IT industry probably made things easier for me as far as getting residency, but I’ve noticed a few things about Romania since arriving.

    It’s definitely not easy to get a Visa here; infact, it was only through the perseverance of my employer that it’s all happened; that and his knowledgeable lawyer.

    I’d like to point out that one can gain residency here and work-permit, through various means; one of which is starting a company. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but if you decide to go this route, you need to consult with a lawyer who will handle the process for you.

    I’ve noticed that there are some people who don’t seem particularly thrilled that I am here, firstly, there is a feeling of why on earth I would choose to come to Romania (Romanians seem particularly self-deprecating) since they are all trying to leave themselves; secondly I’ve encountered others who I interpret as being mistrustful of why I am here; there’s a certain feeling of hostility that’s projected towards me on occasion by fellow men which I don’t quite understand. I’m not some third world Muslim terrorist trying to dominate the world, just someone from a country most Romanians seem to be in love with and want to visit, trying to create a stable life in your somewhat run-down, but nonetheless beautiful country.

    Sure, before I came here, I had absolutely no idea about the real Romania, all I had to frame the country was related to Gypsies and just the like the images propagated by western media relating to Russia, I too realised that this image was false also.

    Since that time, I’ve come to accept Romania as a country worthy of respect and I certainly feel sorry for some of its inhabitants at times, but admire their strength and endurance through somewhat challenging living conditions.

  26. m

    Hey Earl~
    It sucks how the anonymity of the internet makes some folks lose track of the Golden Rule. Sorry to hear you are being harassed. I’m still a fan, and I send you blessings and good vibes wherever you are out there in this big old world. Peace bro. ~M

  27. Dee Dee

    Earl, don’t worry, Romanians complain all, I mean ALL, the time about their country and authorities but when somebody from the outside happens to notice the same things, they suddenly get a rush of patriotic feelings to their heads.
    Then, the next day, they go back to ranting.

    1. Wandering Earl

      That’s awesome, mostly because the only whining on any of these last two posts comes from a handful of Romanians in the comments 🙂

      1. Tiberius the first

        I promised I would go “Peace, I’m out”… but stating that mostly Romanians complained is not true, look at this GEM from facebook: “Lise Mehrling Too much hate & anger going around – thanks for posting this so we become more aware. Good for you for not stooping to their level!”
        So we become more aware, not stooping to their level! Wow Earl, excellent job at promoting Romania. Lise, will visit it tomorrow. See how it is not achieving the goal you set out. Or maybe this was the goal you actually set out?

        You fascinate me, if this was a media campaign at our expense, it’s not funny, nor positive.

        “Peace, I’m out”. This time for real! 🙂

  28. Wandering Carol

    People get mad over the strangest things. Someone just cut me down on Reddit – not about my post but about my WanderingCarol domain name, calling it a “nice ripoff on Wandering Earl!” Hahahaha. (Which I say humbly, I’ve had registered for 7 years and 11 months.) I’ve also been told to go back to the factory assembly line where I belong – although they didn’t mention which factory so I’m still trying to figure out where I fit in.
    Seriously, I guess you just have to take it and move on. It doesn’t seem fair, though, these anonymous insults and I’m sorry you got actual threats. Yikes.

  29. Geoff

    you were not paying tax in that countrys, that why the put you out, unless they can tax you , you are not a value enough for them to have you there.

  30. Nomadic Hayward

    Haters are gonna hate. This is a friendly bit of advice, not intended to cause you offence: If you can’t handle being trolled or having your posts attacked with venomous words, then you shouldn’t be on the Internet. That said, your responses to the haters were mostly priceless 🙂

    Keep up the good work dood and don’t stop doing what you’re doing 🙂

    1. Wandering Earl

      Don’t worry, I know that full well and this certainly isn’t the first time, nor will it be the last, nor will I stop blogging because of it!

  31. Felinda Adlawan

    I read your last article and there was nothing offensive about it. Sorry to hear about the nasty comments. I’m originally from the Philippines. It wasn’t easy to apply for a visa and it took years before i was granted a residency.After that, i applied for citizenship. And that too, was not easy. I told myself, if i can go through this, i can go through everything. Applying for green card is like going through the eye of a needle, especially coming from a third world country.

    I guess these people have no idea that every one have to go through the same process when applying for U.S visa. No matter where you from. My other relatives wasn’t lucky. Their applications were refused. One of my cousin applied three times but no luck. They weren’t bitter though. I know they will try again.

    Don’t let these comments get to you. keep writing! 🙂

  32. Lisa

    Haters gonna hate!
    Well done! Negative comments like these just mean you are doing something right and have a successful blog.
    Hope the visa stuff gets sorted out.

    1. Tiberius the first

      a) It’s not about the Visa process, it’s about how the CBP treats you. Yes, Rupert the CBP can deny entry into the country, it doesn’t matter what type of visa you have!

      b) It’s for sure harder for Romanians as US citizens DO NOT NEED A VISA for leisure and short stays. Residence, as it was in Earl’s case, is a whole different story.

  33. De'Jav

    I’m very shocked about some of these comments. Like someone said earlier though some people are quick to jump to conclusions and hide behind words on cyberspace.

  34. NotSoHonestEarl


    I posted my experience with the US CBP, yet the comment wasn’t approved. Might I know why? I was just stating my OPINION on what happened. It seems that you cannot take criticism, yet “How I got kicked out of Romania” is such an objective piece, that it is worth leaving out there. Probably as clickbait for the hundreds of xenophobes out there?

    You know Earl, I used to think highly of you. These 2 rants opened my eyes. If people are offended, try not to offend! I also had a very bad experience with the US CBP and never got an appology, I am not sure if what you got was worse. But the title is very offensive. Should I write a blog entry about how I was mistreated by the US CBP? And mind you, at JFK they are BRUTAL!

    In any case, I am surprised by the censorship on your blog. I truly am!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Well, sorry to say, but if your original comment went to my Spam folder, which I assume it did, I don’t check. Too many spam comments come in and so I just delete those each day as I don’t have time to go through 3000 of them to look for any real comments in that folder. This comment is in my moderation folder so I see it. If you want to post your original comment, go for it. To make sure it doesn’t end up in spam, though, try using your real name. Being anonymous or using some silly name when you’re trying to make a point here doesn’t give your point much weight. I’ll guess from this comment that you didn’t use your name the first time either.

      (On a side note, you seem to be far, far angrier about this topic than I am. As I’ve mentioned before, it was a story, no big deal. Also, if you’re referring to the title of my post “How I Got Kicked Out of Romania” as offensive, that title actually implies that I did something wrong that got me kicked out, which I did, I overstayed my visa. It actually makes me look foolish for thinking I had the residency when I didn’t. That’s not exactly offensive to anyone else.)

      1. Tiberius the first

        I’m not really sure it got into anyone’s spam folder, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt.

        My experience with the US CBP was harrowing. I did everything correctly, stayed a whole freaking day at the stupid line, got the visa. The process was pretty swift, but I attribute that to my mad English skills, impeccable accent, and my huge pay checks (I develop software). Thought everything was fine… as I, not unlike yourself, did everything by the book. I was wrong! Got to JFK, was held like a common felon for 3 whole hours (in an unsanitary detention room), got humiliated, yelled at, and checked almost to the bone. The reasons I got detained and humiliated?

        a. I speak good English, though my record says I have not ever been to the US. In particular, I do not have a Soviet accent, but an American one. Romania was never part of the Soviet Union, the guy must have flunked history!

        b. I am fair. What?! I think he must have been referring to my hair color. Otherwise, his comments made no sense.

        You complained that the reasons you got for the residence permit denial were absurd? After it got approved? Think how I felt by being treated that way as a tourist! Does that seem fair to you? Should I rant about it in a derogatory way in a blog post? I got into the country feeling sapped of any mental fortitude. Decided it shouldn’t ruin my vacation. Glad I made that choice! NYC was nice, except for the brutal CBP officers. I do travel, but never have I experienced such hostility!

        Now regarding this article… let’s go point-wise and I’ll make some comments of my own:

        — “1 day vs 3 (chaotic) days, not so bad, eh?” Well, except we’re comparing apples and oranges. A Romanian needs one day for a TOURIST visa, you needed 3 (chaotic) days for a 1-year residence permit. Such a thing does not exist in the US and for a fancy work visa you need approximately 3-6 months (mostly for the needed paper work). The Green Card is a whole new level of absurd, but that happens in the US, a lot later. You do not need a tourist visa to visit Romania. Thus, the scoreboard looks something like this:
        i) for tourists: 1 day vs 0 days
        ii) for residency (+ the right to seek employment): 3-6 months vs 3 (chaotic) days.
        Still think you got a bad deal? Eh?

        — The two countries are not comparable. Agreed. Commenting on a country’s immigration policy is pointles [as every country has the right to choose how it governs itself]. Agreed. But in the US you are considered “guilty until proven innocent”… and that’s something I, personally, cannot accept. The Romanian authorities seemed more than understanding. I wish I were treated the same, as in the end, I had done nothing wrong… you on the other hand DID! You overstayed.

        — The “others” visa category and bloggers. It’s stupid, I’m glad they plugged that one out. There is no such thing as a blogger profession in Romania, nor should there be. I have no idea how one would tax such a thing and any money earned in a resident country should be subjected to taxation. Again, I’m glad they plugged that whole out, it seemed like a pretty irrational choice to have such a thing to begin with.

        Just my two cents on the whole matter and I did feel offended by the post as it made our authorities seem absurd. Sometimes they are, sometimes their not, but I did not get the same understanding in the US… and yes, your articles did hurt my feelings *hugs*.

        In hopes of many more CBP controls *joking*,

        1. Tiberius the first

          P.S. Sorry for the spelling/grammar mistakes it’s 1am where I currently base… and I did not have time to proofread my “concoction”!

        2. Wandering Earl

          Thanks for sharing your thoughts and I will reply to a couple points:

          1. Can you point out where I said the reasons I were given were absurd? I don’t say that anywhere. I say ‘a bit vague’. That’s not absurd, it’s a bit vague. The reasons for the refusal are exactly what I was told but I don’t comment on them being absurd at all. And then I say I left the immigration office with my ‘head down’, which means I was bummed, not angry at anyone, not thinking anything was absurd. The conversation that took place in the comments of my post involved others thoughts and as you can see, the negativity started there, from comments such as yours, from people who interpreted the post as if I was going on some crazy rant. Actually, here’s a link for you: “Cum am fost dat afara din Romania”. Experienta ABSURDA a unui american la Bucuresti”. Those aren’t my words.

          2. If you think these posts are rants, I really have nothing to say about that. I told a story of what happened. I’m not even complaining. I’m not really sure how else I can state that.

          3. I really am sorry for the way you were treated trying to enter the US but it has nothing to do with my story, which, again, was not a complaint, something that 99.5% of the people who read the post understood quite quickly.

          4. Here’s the thing with the ‘others’ category of temporary residency visa. I went to the immigration office back in 2012 just to see if there was a possibility of staying longer in Romania. The officer suggested I have an audience with the immigration officers down the hall, so I did. I asked them if staying longer was an option. They asked me what I did for work, I told them and they told me, step by step, how to get a temporary residency visa. I followed the same instructions this time. I didn’t get it this time. Okay, no problem at all. Just to point out though, several countries, including some in Europe, do have ‘freelance visas’ for those who work online or do freelance work. It’s a great way to get people into the country who do nothing but spend money there and, by nature of their work, promote the country, which is basically what I’ve done in Romania, spend money and promote it. That doesn’t have to be grounds for a temporary residency visa in Romania though, apparently it isn’t anymore. Once again, no problem, fine with me.

          1. Tiberius the first

            1. You never state it explicitly, it’s implied by your sarcastic tone. Some people in the comments picked it up, even the ones you agreed with or had a neutral tone (e.g., clelia says it was ‘a bit absurd’). I have a few stories for her about how Italians treated me, but that’s a different tale :).

            2. Simple, change the title “How I got kicked out of Romania” to “How I got kicked out of Romania and it was MY fault”. You have a tone that can be interpreted as sarcastic and you never explicitly state that it was your fault. You some how let the readers decide whose fault it was. As if they had any say in the matter. Spare me the ‘head down’ vernacular… it doesn’t necessarily imply shame, it can mean disappointment, like from an “unjust” situation. Except it’s not unjust.

            3. Uhm no, are we reading the same comments? They say “sorry it happened to you”. This says NOTHING of whether they agree or not with the treatment you got. On whether the authorities were in the wrong or not. Or if … you know what. Nevermind. I can see that we do not see eye to eye. I interpret the comments as “I’m sorry this happened to you, it should not have happened, those awful Romanians”.

            4. Freelance is a good thing. Freelance blogging, I wouldn’t be so sure. If you’re a software developer or an artist with an amazing portfolio, freelance is good. For a blogger it’s hard to decide:

            a. If they’ll truly promote anything. It can also become a nightmare if the person ends up making cheap propaganda. There’s just no sensible way to assume anything of anyone.

            b. You spend money if you have it or earn it. I’m not sure how you would get it or how it would be taxed! If you’re a software developer you open a small company, if you’re an artist you get an agent. It’s not the same for bloggers. Also, is the income steady? If you can prove you have enough funds to support yourself, why not?! Did you do that? Blogger freelancing is iffy on the financial side if you ask me.

            I forgot to mention something about Schadenfreude in my previous post. It’s unfair that some people project their bad experiences on others, but it’s equally unfair to not rebuke your system for denying the human right of equality. It’s interesting that anyone would defend their system, but they say that they do not agree with double standards.

            OK, I’m going back to work now. And just so you know, I still think the first post was a rant, you did not mean it that way? Then change the title to eliminate vagueness. I think it’s an invitation to let commenters go “Oh, those mean Romanians. Sorry Earl, next time choose a better country”. And that hurts… especially considering the experiences I had.

            In the words of a great man… “Peace, I’m out.” 🙂

          2. Stefy

            Dear Earl,
            The fact that you’ve presented your story in a public space makes it “oficial”. If you are not angry about the way you’ve been treated, why did you listed the reasons presented by Romanian authorities to deny visa? Why are bragging about being allowed to enter the country, than refused a resident visa? Why are you crying about the whole 3 days spent to solve this issue? Despite your claim that you love Romania, your post in fact points the finger to Romanian authorities and does little favor to Romania presenting it as an unfrienly place. The matter and the fact here is that you have overstayed and hoped somebody would show a compasionate view when you present your US passport. It didn’t happen! For some reason, those bloody Romanians decided to apply the law. It didn’t go your way, you loose! In this case, you either take it to the chin, look into the mirror and realise that the guy you see is the only responsible for this situation or you write a blog in frustration to show those ignorants who you really are and what are you capable off! You choose the second option instead of going for the first, draw the needed lessons and hoping that next time you’ll prepare yourself better and avoid this embaressment. To make matter worse, you are keep drawing on with this issue, hoping to achieve what? Compassion? You got it! International condemnation for Romanians? Join the queue, mate! Does the fact that your blog has drawn so much attention makes you feel better? Does all “supportive” replies pay off for your lost time, anger and frustration? I might be wrong but I don’t think so. So, at the end of the day, did this whole storm you’ve created paid off? Was it really worth it? Remember one thing: your blog is more than a neutral point of view. It expresses your own views and because you choose to make them public, be prepared to be judged for them.

  35. Pingback: De ce se bucură românii când moare capra vecinului? — Calin Ciabai – Blog Personal

  36. Gusti Junqueira

    Earl, unfortunately I could see myself writing some of these comments7 years ago, before I had started traveling. I had such a prejudice and wrong idea of Americans in general until I came and made some of my best friends… What we get in the media about americans and the USA abroad is not always flower so that’s probablt why you got some nasty feedback. But here’s to answer the question of your last post:

    Answer: Oohh yes! I am from Brazil and I have had a handful of challenges evolving visas during my last 5 years of non-stop traveling (see I’m a little Earl myself haha). But just to give you a few examples:
    – I was in USA about ready to finish my helicopter training when I got a letter asking to leave the country immediately = deported.
    – I was in a night train going from Macedonia to Bulgaria, when some angry looking officials pointed to my backpack and out of the train with no explanations I saw the train departing in a freezing night, to later find out I’d spend the night in detention for not having a visa to Servia (where the train was passing through)
    – I was flying a single-engine airplane from USA to Brazil, when I landed in the small island of Bimini and my friends and I were refused entry because my friend’s visa to USA was expired (Bimini = Bahamas not USA! Go figure, as Brazilians do not need visa to that country) After trying to discuss the situation, the immigration officer called the police and said he was ready to take us to jail if “you don’t depart NOW”. Because it was prohibited to fly after sunset in Bahamas in my kind of plane and the sun was already setting we run to the airplane, trying to file a international flight planning that usually takes me 30 or more minutes, in 5min using the cellphone without internet and the airplane radio. Because we did not have much fuel left we had to return to USA (now with my friend without a visa!). Can you imagine how hard was to explain all that to the american officials?
    – Well I have more examples but I will not bother you with more, haha.

    But the most important thing, as you said: There’s nothing wrong with surprises. It took me a while to learn that and smile to the unexpected situations in my travels and life. After all, they all have been blessings in disguise and not having control of most situations just prove that we do not really need to worry much about anything. We better put our energy to enjoy the present moment. For example, I’m “unexpectedly” stuck in Florida now, working on endless paper-work to the airplane my friends and I are flying to Chile and I’ve had met amazing people(it’s all about them for sure!) and I might even get to meet a guy who’s been traveling since 1999, can you believe it?! (please send me an e-mail if you have free time!)

    Gusti Junqueira

    1. Tim

      I am married to a Brazilian and she gets stopped all the time! She sees how easy it is for me a a British citizen to get into places and I feel her frustrations. Now she is more relaxed and goes with the flow.

      Happy flying Gusti, your travels sound like a blast!

  37. Sally

    Whew, Earl- politicking is exhausting. Sorry u had to go through all of it (Romania & story aftermath), but as you are on this side of the Atlantic now and Spring Break is on, enjoy the sand, sun & beautiful weather- and maybe check out some Caribbean venues. There is always a reason for things happening (the South American Chapter perhaps?). Keep writing! I look forward to reading your posts.

  38. Aubrey Meneses

    Hi Earl,
    I hope the drama soon dies and that you’re able to get back and focus on living the most adventurous life ever (one that many feel are beyond their capability so they just sit back as a spectator).
    It irks me too when I have to justify my action, decision or experience. It’s tiring and often fruitless. Look forward to reading more of your stories!
    PS Would love to post you one of my PostHello cards!

  39. Gloria


    Remember in cyberspace people can hide and write mean things. Everything happens for a reason and be glad you are out of Romania so you can find another great place to have as your home base. Best of luck!

  40. Erin

    People can be absolutely ridiculous. I read those comments and I’m glad my thoughts were confirmed; that you wouldn’t stoop down to that level and fire some cheap shots back at them.
    Unless they know your individual situation, there’s just no way they can possibly know all the variables in such a situation.
    I hope that if you decide to apply again someday, you’re granted it and it’s not rejected again. Until your blog I had only heard of Romania, never really given thought to visiting. Now it’s on my list of countries I have to see. You sold me on Romania 🙂

  41. Arianwen

    Some people are very strange. I’ve seen this happen many times. If people have nothing better to do than insult others (probably because they’re jealous) then more fool them. Glad you’re taking it in your stride!

  42. Katie

    Well stated Earl, you never bad mouthed Romania yet some people got aggressively defensive. Of course you were angry when you were first told, especially because you were led to believe it was being renewed, but you got over the anger and your story was impartial. I’m looking forward to hearing where your new base will be (when you decide)

  43. Doru

    Man, stupid people with internet access are everywere. There are few ones here in Romania, too:) Don’t let them bother you! I myself enjoy your blog stories (from Romania or wherever) with a glass of wine in my hand, from time to time. If you ever land in Bistrita, I’m sure I would enjoy your company. The wine will be on me, and why not, a bottle of tuica:) Cheers!

    And about your visa problem,… my guess is that the intelligence service is on fire since the Ukranian matter.

  44. Carolina

    I actually quite liked your post about Romania and your visa problems. It was nice to see that even someone who travels as much as you do sometimes gets stuck dealing with bureaucracy and red tape, just like ‘regular’ people who don’t travel and blog for a living.
    I think a lot of people out there have the idea that once you’re a travel blogger (among other things) suddenly everything is easy. Perhaps because most of the times, people tend to only write about the good stuff? Anyways, I think this, and the previous post were both great reads.
    It’s just a bummer about the visa hassle, as I for one would have loved to read more about Romania and your life there.
    Better luck next time though, right?

  45. Megan

    Good for you Earl….I really liked your response. This story has parallels for so many other areas in life 🙂 All the best for your next chapter

  46. Geoff

    reading your other topic on this, your escape option from Romania the Italy tour , did you get to book this from inside Romania, cost?

  47. Geoff

    I would love to be able to do ever just part of what you do as your lifestyle choice, but do it as a tourist and not have to seek residential visas,

  48. Geoff

    Maybe the Romanians don’t want you promoting your life style choice to Romania, or selling your books to there people, it’s a big word to some countrys, life style choice.
    the paying tax thing would be the problem because your book sales can’t be taxed by them

    1. The Canadian

      Or maybe Earl did not have the document in order to enter in the country.
      Technically they had to kick him out at the airport but they were nice and let him to solve the visa problems.
      Ask your US Security border agents how Canadian tourists are treated.
      Earl had bad luck and ignorance because he did not prepare the visit properly.
      When I visit Western and Eastern Europe I did not expect to be accepted because I am Canadian. I have checked the portal on each country to see if there is any restriction then I left the country.

      1. Andrew

        Mr. Canadian, Apparently you did not read, let alone comprehend, the original post OR this post explaining the post about the Romanian situation. Take a moment to re-read it before you go around posting “ME ME ME” and calling someone ignorant for telling a story from an “as the events occurred” perspective.

        Again, keep up the great stories Earl.

  49. adela

    Hi, I just want to support the previous 2 comments, as I’m sure you know, sometimes, people’s personal experiences and frustrations that generate thereof get in the way when they come across somthing on the internet and they assess the message. As much as they are not able to stay objective I would suggest you try not to take it personal :), especially since it’s not really posdible that they have a clear picture of what really happened. I am Romanian and really sorry to hear what you’ve gone through with the residency visa. I wish you the best of luck in obtaining what you need to fulfill your plans with your blog! 🙂

  50. gala

    i hardly ever comment, but just wanted to do it this time to say sorry about the outlandish reactions you got 🙁 always saddens me to hear about nasty comments and things like that happening with people’s posts..unfortunately happens a lot over the internet…just don’t feel like you have to explain yourself to people who won’t get it anyways and i am sure the majority of your readers got things right..anyways, as unpleasant as it is i have a feeling this story won’t bother you for too long and that’s right..cheers and all the best

  51. Galina

    Wow, Earl, this is ridiculous that you actually had to explain yourself in such detail.
    You’re a wonderful person and a great blogger, please keep doing what you’re doing. You’re an inspiration to all of us, travel bug sufferers.

    My husband and I are planning to travel to Europe this summer, and Romania is on the list of countries we want to visit ONLY thanks to your posts about it. In fact, I’d lived in Ukraine, which is right next to it, for 25 years, and I had no clue what a wonderful country it was. But I didn’t expect Romanians to be so bitter towards Americans! Now I wonder if we should reconsider our itinerary, because my husband is American (seriously, what the heck, Romanians?!).

    Big respect to you, Earl, for staying so cool. Please keep on traveling!

  52. Stacy Bowen

    Dear Earl,
    Wow! I am shocked that you received such commentary. I read all of your posts and like you said, it was just another story. It was an interesting peice too. I’m American and did not read anything into it that would suggest you were unhappy or complaining.
    In fact I want to thank you for always being upfront and honest with your travels and experiences. You have actually inspired me to travel. I recently quit my job and leaving in 2 weeks for Central and South America. I plan to travel for a year or more. Perhaps other places as well. Thank you Earl for all of your great stories and experiences.

  53. Roger

    Hi earl. I have been following your blogs for some time now and sorry to read how some narrow minded people have reacted. You always tell it how it is, good or bad, with your experiences and that’s what makes reading your views so interesting. Please keep blogging with your experiences, it really does inspire people. If these individuals can’t accept your views then that’s their loss, we all know you are only passing on your experiences, not trying to make any political or cultural comment. Long may your blogging continue!


  54. Ioana

    WoW Earl, so sorry to hear about all that’s happening to you after an unlucky time at the Romanian immigration office. What bothers me is that I see how most of the people is mixing you and your reality, with US/Romania immigration policy/agreement. Also, its like if my dog died I want yours dead as well, because it makes me feel good about my situation. So sad.

  55. George

    Hey Earl

    Sounds like it’s good you got this off your chest. Some people won’t like what you do no matter what.

    It’s important to remember that if you aren’t pissing somebody off you’re probably not doing anything worth while.

    Without your inspiration I never would have had the courage to go on my first backpacking trip and explore the world. So I know first hand how much you do for travelers and the online community.

    Just keep doing what you do best, Earl, which is inspiring others to live a life of travel. Yeah, you’ll probably upset some people along the way but who cares.

    It’ll never come close to the positive impact you make on thousands of others.

    1. Sarah Somewhere

      Me too! Yours was the first blog about being a nomad I ever read. You are the reason I knew it was possible to travel long term and the reason we went to Playa del Carmen, a place which has now become home to us. Like Taylor Swift says, “the haters gonna hay, hay, hay, hay, hate!” 🙂

  56. Keith

    I distinctly remember you and I chatting about Romanian temp residency permits at the Grand Cafe Van Gogh in Bucharest a couple years ago. I was so panicked because my permit hadn’t been approved yet and I was past the 90 day mark. I still can’t wrap my brain around you not being granted the permit.

    I recently read that the American blogger from Cluj, Sam Cel Roman, was kicked out of Romania a few months ago. Strange coincidence or is this the beginnings of a conspiracy?

  57. Fred and Elise

    Earl, we have followed your blog for quite a while now, and we always look forward to reading new posts. We are really intrigued and inspired by your travelling lifestyle and adventures on the road, as we love to travel ourselves. It’s always nice to read the thoughts and experiences of like minded people. We were really sad to read about some of the incredibly rude and angry comments, but we sincerely hope it will not put you off sharing your experiences in the future. We have found this quote to be very true:
    “When dealing with critics always remember this: Critics judge things based on what is outside of their content of understanding.” Shannon L. Alder
    Safe and happy travels! 🙂

  58. Sally

    Dude some people are just crazy! Surely every country wants people who are going to contribute to the economy and not take from it, but hey, on to the next adventure! My mum always tells me that haters look old and are unhealthy because they use to much time and energy focusing on other peoples lives! Silly I know but it makes me feel better haha! You do your thing and be happy 🙂

  59. Lucian

    I had no idea that your previous post can draw so much hatred from my fellow Romanians. I am personally disappointed with their reaction and I understand that it’s exactly this way of thinking and behaving that still keeps us at the bottom of all charts in the EU and the World. And I simply felt the need to apologize for their behavior and I can only hope that you haven’t met people like those during your stay in Romania.

    I do follow your blog regularly and I rarely comment, but this time I had to say this, as a Romanian.

  60. Alin

    pfff to hell with that don’t worry about that too much or let it affect you. come back and visit us more. wanted to tell you drinks on me when/if you ever get to Iasi but since a fellow romanian offered the drinks if you get to Bucharest then i have to say “food’s on me when/if you get to Iasi”. promise i wont brake your legs :))))

  61. Chris

    Hey Earl,

    I’m with the gang above – your blog is one to model after – always positive, upbeat, and not about you, you, you, but the experiences of exploring and sharing the wonder. If I’d just stumbled upon it and the initial Romania post was front and center, even then I would be hard-pressed to view it as mean-spirited. Frustrated in the moment, yes, as anyone would be. But beyond that, just Earl packing his bags again…

    I’m just launching a blog, and fretted about attracting trolls, but it seems to be working in your favor….maybe those naysayers serve as the glue that binds forward thinkers together. Thanks for the new way of seeing them! Keep on truckin….

  62. Neri

    I actually went to Bucharest 18 months ago and your blog was without a doubt the reason I went there. I wanted to visit somewhere in Bulgaria and decided I would start the trip in Bucharest. Your information was vital I even printed your instructions on how to get from Bucharest to Ruse. Sorry to hear that has happened your amazing tourist information will continue to help so many people and I’ll be checking your blog when I go back. Shame they didn’t see the ongoing benefit to their country.

  63. Musa

    Now this I like! Informatively telling the trolls to piss off.

    On another note, I’d like to thank you for sharing stories like this through your blog. Because of you, my girlfriend and I will be traveling to Thailand on August 13th for 3 months for our post graduation trip! Just like you did!

  64. Laura Roberts

    Hi Earl,
    My take-away from your blog has always been that the people of the world are almost all wonderful, good, and helpful. I want to visit all of the countries you’ve shared on your blog and Romania is absolutely one of them. It’s the nature of bureaucracy to be tiresome and to require patience no matter where you are. I spent 3 1/2 hours in line yesterday to renew my driver’s license here in Colorado, and it’s obvious that everyone working at the licensing office was working as fast and as hard as they could. And I appreciate your sharing your experience of being in so many countries and on so many flights in such a short period of time. It gives me a model of what I could do in the same circumstances. I also appreciate your behavior when your visa didn’t work out. As you said, “But that anger lasted about 5 minutes. After that, I left the immigration office, packed up my stuff and left the country the next day.” You’re always respectful of the countries you visit and this was no exception. Thank you for showing that cross-cultural interactions can be gentle and joyous, rather than violent and tragic. Hatred has no place on this beautiful planet.

  65. Landon @ Uneven Sidewalks

    You nailed it on the head saying that people are just all bottled up and waiting to express their anger at life. There’s so much negativity bottled up from everything we all see in this world that so many people are looking for an opportunity to vent at every opportunity. They need to get out and travel more, right?

    Best luck on your next venture!

  66. Anita @ No Particular Place To Go

    Just wanted to let you know that, based upon the many posts you’ve done on Romania over the last several months, I will be traveling to this amazing country. Romania lost a great ambassador! As for your last post, I guess people will take words and twist them to suit their own attitudes and beliefs. All I read was how disappointed you were to have your temporary Visa refused and the huge inconvenience of making last minute plans. However, things always work out and in very unexpected ways…

  67. kim

    I have the feeling these kind of people are somehow jealous of you and want to express their anger about their own issues and not being able to control their own lives somehow. It seems sad. I am glad you cope with it so good!

  68. Cordy

    Great post to the post, Earl ;-)!

    We live in one world, at least we think we do, but the kind of thinking is still a ‘we’ and ‘you’. We are made to live in social groups and like to separate us from others , that’s even one reason, why coúntries and nationalities are fighting each other. It’s easy to blame others for your disadvantage, easy to be jelaous, not to allow others to be lucky and yes, some are luckier than others in life, it already depends which country you are born in, but at the end it’s nothing we could decide ourselves, unfortunately the world needs still far more open minded and tolerant people than we have so far, it will be still a hard and long way to make this world a peacful place to live in for everybody …..

    Keeping on rocking this world, Earl :-)!! I think your answered in a really great, honest and respectful way… if everybody were able to do this…

  69. Andrew

    Wow. Can’t say I’m surprised, the internet is infested with trolls out to spread negativity to anyone and anyplace that they can do so, which most of the time is just YouTube. Amazing however how you can be blindsided while travelling!

    Welcome back to Florida! If you are here for a while and looking to change things up, I highly recommend driving A1A from end to end if you haven’t already. It’ll take you more than a day, but lots of beachtowns to be seen and fresh ocean air to inhale.

  70. Steve


    I had one of these types recently come and leave a nasty comment on my blog. I will be honest it hurt a bit, but then I understood that when these hecklers come and throw up all over your blog it’s because they are sick people with little else to do. One interesting thing though it helped my stats, surprisingly. The funniest thing was he kept coming back using all kinds of foul language telling me I didn’t do any research and bla, bla, bla, so why am I saying all this. I think it’s just part of being in the blogging game, people are going to be jealous and much more. Anyway enjoyed the post.

  71. Spinster

    I’m glad that I rarely read comments and, therefore, missed that nonsense. You shouldn’t have even had to write this. Keyboard gangsters need to go outside for once and get lives. 😐

  72. Louise

    Please keep on traveling and writing. I find your blog to be most interesting and refreshing. You see, my husband and I are in our 70’s and my husband’s poor health prevents us from traveling the way we did when we were younger. So, I always look forward to your blog since I am now an armchair traveler.

    Keep flying with eagles and don’t let the buzzards get you down.

  73. Annalyn

    I live in India and every year, I have to spend one or more days in the Foreign Registration Office trying to get my Visa renewed. I know everyone has to do those things to get residency Visas for any country, but I can guarantee that the office in India (or Romania) is much more chaotic and confusing than the US immigration office. It is much harder for an Indian to get a US Visa than for an American to get an Indian Visa and people seem to want to punish us for it. I understand how it can seem unfair to the people applying for US Visas, but like you said, the Immigration situation in America is very different than it is in other countries. I was in Gujarat and people were telling me that the US discriminates against people with the last name “Patel” – they have a website dedicated to the US “persecution” of Patels!! We tried to tell them that the US doesn’t operate like that. Let’s say only 30% of all people who apply get their Visa. If a high number of Patels apply then a high number will be rejected. It’s mathematics.

  74. Shane

    Fortunately the type of people that leave comments like that tend to infest Youtube and stay away from travel blogs. I do sometimes wonder though if these people are even the same species as the rest of us.

  75. Dominic

    Unbelievable responses to your last article, Derek!

    I really enjoyed your last post (particularly as I viewed your website a few hours before the post was up, wondering why there hadn’t been a post in 5 weeks!).

    People’s responses to the last post just scream of jealousy, to me. Congratulations on fighting back, too.

  76. Christina

    It’s unbelievable how people can take something that wasn’t negative at all (you even ended it on the note of how basically you have to roll with the punches in life!) and spin it into something so nasty. I feel bad for them because they’re clearly dealing with something totally unrelated and/or are just an angry/pessimistic person!

    If you’re still interested in having a base in Europe, Spain and Germany would probably both be decent options for you to look into.

    Just for the record, after 3 years your blog is still the only one I read regularly, and I know many people who say the same, so you’re doing something right! Haters gonna hate 😉

  77. Mark

    Wow it went from “How’s your week going? Any visa issues you’ve experienced during your travels or do you have any visa questions?” to rants.
    Guess you didn’t expect that…..but as always your a class act, and I think your right people just react and don’t take the time to do their research. I think if they followed your blog they would some sense of the type of person you are, it’s obvious, some are just idiots

  78. Michele

    Wow… I’m sorry you had to deal with all of those rude comments, Earl. I also know several people who have obtained legal visas to the US from different countries and no one mentioned a humiliating interview. Maybe it has a lot to do with the attitude of the person being interviewed.

  79. Mark Emrick

    I don’t usually comment but wanted to give you a word of support. I enjoy reading your blog/emails and it is SAD that people couldn’t take your story for what it was, an example of what could go wrong – in any of dozens of countries. Life happens, it is the great part about travel, when something unexpected happens – now you have a new story. If nothing happened, you wouldn’t have a story! Thanks for the continued view from the world, I look forward to your next adventure!

  80. Pal

    It’s remarkable where humanity is heading, how decency seems to be leaving the standard norm of behaviour, or at least as so often seems to be the case. It’s a sad sign of our times unfortunately. This venomous combination of heaps of disillusioned individuals out there – who are unable to find a purpose in life, be it for the economic downturn or other reasons -, with the anger-funnel the Internet so easily offers, is just too often not a good combination.

    It seems to be happening everywhere these days, trolls are thriving, be it in Romania or the commentary “war-zones” of international Big Media. I have a feeling that places where more people are living in a situation without a clear vision for the future the venom is more widespread, the hopelessness of the present is not a good growing ground for empathy and tolerance/acceptance. I’m born in Romania myself and unfortunately do recognise that this happens there, but luckily just as you also seem to have experienced it, the caring, friendly part of the country is also still intact.

    As you often hear it Earl, you are a person with a big heart, who motivate and cheer up people around the world, someone to look up to and learn from. You don’t deserve being treated this way, so the least we your readers can do is to show our sympathy for you. Although I know that you are smart and empathetic to already have figured things out and can move on with positive vibes following you around. Peace and keep on being the fantastic, wonderful person you are.

  81. Santiago

    I like the one who said he needs to work for three months in order to save money for the plane ticket as if it’s your fault!! Derek, I am worried someone will say you are responsible for global warming too!lol

    I actually am sure that you know the Immigration and residency laws for Romania better that many Romanians!

  82. Gueon

    Hi Earl,
    I am a big fan and referred your blog to many of my friends.
    I understand that we tend to comment on the things that are only visible to us which are shaped by our past experiences and our interests. It’s sad that your previous post is bringing a controversy, I hope it doesn’t affect your travel plans ahead!

  83. Edgar C

    This is why I like reading your blog, it’s not always peaches and cream out there and you tell us both sides of the stories. Let the trolls troll and keep on traveling and writing!

  84. Carlos

    dude, these are just bitter people looking to lash out their hate to anybody. perhaps, US tourist applicants who were denied and can’t move on. or those who wants to travel but didnt have the stomach to leave their comfort zone.
    more power to you bro!

  85. Patrick Smith

    Wow! Earl, I seldom comment on blogs, even though I read yours every time you post them. I had jsut read your post yesterday, and my thoughts were how well adjusted you are that something you wanted didn’t come through so you adjusted your plans. I was sad for you because all your posts about Romania were so positive- I am sure if the immigration officers really read them, you would have been approved. How anyone interpreted your post negatively, or even as “revenge” baffles me. Keep on writing and traveling- I love reading you!

  86. Ivan @ Travel Movements

    Let the trollers troll! Though I can understand your frustration. I have often come across similar reactions when I tell people I meet about ‘woes’ or funny stories while crossing borders. They get all happy and excited when they find out how I was treated and say I deserve it because people face the same thing when entering the USA. I thought Hammurabi’s Code was dead? It is frustrating and often leads to heated discussions.

  87. Elizabeth


    I read the post yesterday and didn’t think twice about it. It was basically an explanation of why you’re currently not in Romania. Sometimes people just want something to be mad about.

    And while I appreciate how difficult it can be for people who are from certain countries to go to certain other countries, it goes entirely beyond what the post was about. Plus, one American not being granted a residency visa for Romania isn’t going to make one ounce of difference to anything…. Well, other than you not being in Romania.

  88. erik

    I’m really sorry for what happened. In this cases you can see how narrow minded this country is. How stupid can some people be and how much hate they can express.
    I am a romanian citizen, I know tons of people that got the US VISA without issues. It is true that if you’re an unemployed romanian freak, that has the main purpose to run over and never come back they can be suspicious.
    A lots of my friends have tourist Visas for 5 or even 10 years.
    Earl, maybe this is better. Maybe you are forced to go in a country that is civilized, normal and the people are not the way they are here.
    Once again, sorry…

  89. Daniel

    Earl, I guess this is “the price you have to pay” for being a blog writer: unreasonable people, who by the way have no incentive to have their identities exposed, can say whatever they want and do whatever nasty things they feel like doing. I’m glad you replied, but don’t dwell on it. I’m sure the bitterness came from a tiny but loud minority of your readership, and I bet those thoughts are not even representative of what Romanians think in general.

  90. Susan Crowther

    Howdy Earl,
    When crazy people think you’re crazy, you’re doing just fine.
    So funny, those responses had nothing to do with the post at all! Anyone who’s followed you would understand. In fact, your post stressed how anger helps nothing in the situation and how much you love Romania. I still hope to visit with one of your tours.
    Your blog has interestingly distinguished people who share your values and people who are uninformed about you. Take heart in your friends and supporters, who are always ready to share a moment, giggle, glass, sunset.
    Please don’t let these responses change how you blog. Please be true to yourself and your journey. Please… keep being on your path.
    Love, from all of us, and in this case, Susie.

  91. Don

    Earl, thanks for your blog. I find your sharing to be very positive, helpful and encouraging. I am new to you blog and didn’t take your story about your experience in Romania as anything other than your simply sharing your experience, something we can all learn from. I really appreciate the many resources available on your site. I have some more time to travel now and I am learning a lot from you. Keep on traveling and sharing. Blessings to you.

  92. Monte Gray

    In regards to the response that was bitter about his visa experience….I don’t think Romania has to worry about people coming in and overstaying their visa’s like has occurred in this country. In fact, Europe is having a real issue with thousands of Romanians emigrating to other countries throughout the Europeon union looking for work. Many third world nations welcome people coming to their nations as long as long as they are self supporting and won’t be a drain on the economy, or who are not taking jobs away from other people who need them. It appears to me that you followed all the rules and were self supporting, and not competing with local Romanians for jobs! Keep us posted as to where you will be based next!

  93. Joyce Burger

    Haters gonna hate, no matter how Awesome you are!! Keep your smile, your attitude and onto your next adventure! Thanx for the shares for us wannabe adventurers!!

  94. Vlad

    So sorry you had to go through all this, some people can be real bastards. I hope this won’t change your view of Romania and you’ll visit us again in the future! Drinks on me next time you’re in Bucharest? 🙂

  95. cbavespa

    Those nasty comments were a reflection of the mind frame of the responders, which had nothing to do with the intent of your original post. Unfortunately, it’s the nature of blogging – one opens themselves to absurd comments regardless of what is written or intended.

    Stay strong and kind, Earl. You are pretty amazing 🙂

  96. Jenni

    It’s amazing what people will say from behind the protection of a computer screen. I’m sorry you had to deal with all that visa hassle and I’m even more sorry that insult was added to injury. Hopefully, things are going smoother where you are now.

  97. Aleta

    I am sorry you had to write this to explain yourself and your experience to those who make poor judgements and are quick to make rude comments
    I understood well what took place.. sometimes things don’t work the way we plan..
    You explained yourself well…
    Carry on Earl.. you are doing a great job.

  98. yara Coelho

    I personally think it’s sad your visa was declined, I believe in freedom of movement, so independently of ones nationality or origin, I always feel it’s unfair one can’t choose where he / she wants to live (temporarily or not).

    I’m amazed by the hateful comments, but people tend to be nasty sometimes. It’s not personal. Once I posted my experience where I was sexually harassed inside my hotel, believe it or not, I got a few comments where people said I deserved it for being a low budget traveler. Some people just need to put out their anger, and some direct it towards us.

  99. David Pike

    Yes Earl it is sad… There are a lot of angry folks out there and yes they are just looking for a patsy for their anger, worthlessness and self hatred and yes you provided them an outlet that really wasn’t justified. They read and hear what they want to hear even if it’s not there… They are just jealous as hell…

    You GO BOY! Yes I admit I am jealous myself. Not because you travel freely (I am a military brat and a disabled Veteran) and I also have “Gypsy Blood” with wanderlust running through my veins. I am jealous of your health, youth and vigor… I would be right out there with you if my body would allow it… Happy Travels my friend… Dumnezeu să te protejeze, de călătorie în condiții de siguranță și să se distreze pe această planetă mare … 🙂 -David T Pike

  100. Patrick

    Unfortunate as it is that you have to waste your time with aggressively phrased nonsense like the mentioned comments, I’m still glad you clarified and spoke out on it. Some people will always look for outlets to channel their anger and to express their frustration. I couldn’t think of a more ill-fitted place to do so than this blog, which clearly promotes positive motives like love and appreciation for other people.
    Don’t let this minority of virtual rowdies get to you, I’m sure the majority of your readers and fans know exactly what story you wanted to tell.
    Keep it up, and stay awesome! 🙂

  101. Jeremy

    Wow, talk about bitter. I think people are failing to realize that being denied a visa is not the same as being told you’re accepted and turned away at the door. I’m sure everyone complaining about US policy would be even more upset if they actually flew all the way to the USA and were turned away at the door and forced to figure out what to do next.

    There is a huge difference between jumping through hoops to get a visa (which almost always sucks) versus being told you’re approved to only have it snatched away at the last second. For what it is worth, I thought it was a very interesting read and sad to hear about it.

    I can’t say that I’m surprised about the response though. Sorry to hear that Romania won’t be seeing any more of your business income spent within its borders in the near future.

  102. Deniz

    It’s funny how people magically become 300lb bodybuilding bonecrushers when they’re sitting behind a computer, eh? ;))

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