The Runaway Guide on Fox News

by The Runaway Guide on February 25, 2013

the runaway guide featured on fox news

You guys aren’t going to believe this but I’ve made Fox News! And of course their story is as ill-informed and ill-researched as all of their news stories.

Here’s what I have to say to Fox and the hundreds who have messaged me

I’m very sorry about this situation but I will not be held responsible for it. However, I will do my best to help, not out of guilt but out of compassion. In fact, I have already tried to make contact with him.

My site and fb page is first and foremost a travel adventure blog. It is a place where I chronicle my travels. It is not a place where “kids meet adults” as claimed by fox news.

The title refers to figuratively running away. Most people understand this. However, since I was once a runaway and it is an integral part of my life and story, I can’t leave this part out.

Most of my readers are backpackers and people who aspire to travel.

Yes my site glorifies travel, but it does not glorify literally running away for teens. It is a point I am quite clear about throughout my site.

In the one article that actually pertains to kids running away, my primary goal has always been to dissuade them from doing so. In fact, part of the reason why I started this travel blog was to provide an informed resource by someone who actually ran away. Previously all that was available to kids was this terrible wiki article, , that hardly touches on the negative implications of running away.

In addition, I often feature articles which encourage kids to travel in more orthodox ways and with their parents consent. Please see, How To Convince Your Parents To Let You Runaway.

Understandably there will be some kids who will be inspired by my site, they will disregard my guides which asks them not to run away, and do so anyways. In this case, it was not my site or guides that planted the seed. They found my site because they felt so serious about leaving home that they went so far as to research it on the internet.

I receive hundreds of e-email a month from kids who want to runaway.  In them I try to understand their situation, give them strength, convince them that there will be plenty of time to travel in the future and ask them to wait until then. I always advise all kids under 18 who contact me specifically not to run away. I have a unique perspective, kids can relate to me, and this puts me in a position where I can actually help.

As a result of my site, I am very confident that I have inspired many people to travel. I am also confident that I have prevented countless kids from actually running away. Both of which have always been my primary goals.

To all of you who have sent me messages recently, please first read my site before you blindly accuse and label me such absurd things as human trafficker, and a pedophile.

Please read through it first.



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{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

Anne April 30, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Wow, really?!! That’s ridiculous, of course Fox would do that. Everyone knows your site is one of the most amazing travel blogs ever, those people on the news just wanted a story.


The Runaway Guide May 3, 2013 at 12:36 pm

Thanks Anne!!!


Victoria March 9, 2013 at 10:50 am

This is why I don’t watch the news. They love to sensationalise everything and turn it into something it’s not. The more I travel the more I realise that half of this crap people are fed is BS and people are better off seeing the world to develop their own opinions! Your site is meant as a travel site. End of story. I studied Broadcast Journalism at uni and wanted to be a reporter, and this is the kind of crap that drove me away from it.


The Runaway Guide March 9, 2013 at 11:13 am

Hey Victoria! How ya been? Where are ya? It was so wild really. Can’t believe how intensely they demonized my site. I hear ya. I did an interview with a radio station and the host emailed me afterwards saying that exposing this kind of reporting was the reason why he got into his profession. Safe travels, Leif


Hanna R March 1, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I just wanted to let you know that I’m one of those kids you talked OUT of running away, after I read your how-to guide. I’m not even 16 yet, but I’ve gotten some great travel advice. Thanks to you I’m planning on sticking it out until I graduate and then hitting the road :)


The Runaway Guide March 3, 2013 at 9:21 am

I’m glad to hear that. Thanks Hanna. When the time comes to travel the world, let me know if you need advice. – Leif


Travel Top 10 List February 28, 2013 at 4:47 am

As a fellow blogger, my support is on you.

Shame on this kind of media outfit. How could they missed out the point and give away wrong info to the public? Haven’t they heard about “responsible journalism”? Oh My!


ed February 27, 2013 at 4:41 pm

Leif mate ignore them, fox news are ill informed and have no idea what they are talking about!!!! much appreciation and support from the UK


Loch Ness Spider February 27, 2013 at 1:54 am

When something attains a certain amount of presence, the sphere of those who notice it expands beyond those who will like it and understand it and use it properly. This is an inevitability no matter how much care the creator takes to prevent it, though they should still do their best.

If they think kids can meet people on here, just tell them to come have a look around. :)


Karla February 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm

Oh Leif, these people have got it all wrong, so wrong that they just made my Latin blood boil!

How dare they do this without fully reading your content and twist the story to their convenience and create what they live for=sensationalism journalism.

What a bunch of idiots!

Whatever happens, don’t back down. EVER!

I’m totally RT this.

As we say, FUERZA LEIF! Stay strong!


The Runaway Guide March 3, 2013 at 9:47 am

Thanks Karla, it made my scandinavian/asian blood boil too! :)


Peter Parkorr February 26, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Well, there appears to be a grand total of two correct pieces of information in their report. The name of presenter 1, and the name of presenter 2. These guys could score 3 strikes with one ball the amount of spin they have.

I think your site is great and agree that the more information kids have available to them when it is relevant and they need it, the better. Keep up the good work!


Amy Raff February 26, 2013 at 2:46 pm

I think it’s disgusting that his parents and Fox News have spun this story. This is a site full of great information and gives sound advice on how to plan trav and not putting loved ones through torture. This family need to get their priorities right and talk to their son to discover why he has runaway, rather than bury their head in the sand and try and point the blame to an innocent party.


Raymond @ Man On The Lam February 26, 2013 at 1:55 pm

I’d expect nothing less from Fox News. Idiots. Plain and simple.



salam February 26, 2013 at 12:41 pm



The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Thanks Salam!!!


Darian February 26, 2013 at 12:34 pm

As much help as your blog has been to me, even I could tell it was about travel. I mean, come on, how many teens are likely to have a passport, first of all, and how many would be stupid enough to use it on a flight, or crossing borders in general. No offense, dude. It’s just that the border patrols and such will likely catch you if you go the legal way if the parents know you have a/your passport. Anyhow, fhe fact is is that they decided to run away, that’s how they got here. You didn’t hack their computers and open the page, or hold a gun to their head and tell ‘em they had to run away, or brain wash them, or any other such nonsense.

And WTF, how do kids meet adults here? I mean, technically everyone who comes here meets *you*, but not how they try to portray it as. Even then, the above applies. And it’s not like you know our age, unless WE tell you. Just sooo many things wrong with this *facedesk*

I mean, the most you do to help future runaways is give them a base to start building their plan on. Better that then them going with no plan/supplies at all. So if anything they should be thanking you for helping either detering the kids or helping keep them safer.


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:20 pm

Thanks Darian,
Yes, I have no idea how kids could meet adults here. It makes no sense.
I really appreciate your comment, thanks.-Leif


Jonah Calhoun February 26, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Another fine display of reporting prowess by FOX News. Media needs a scape goat – embrace it and use the publicity to spread the good word on travel and life enrichment. What a glorious shit show!


Giulia February 26, 2013 at 11:06 am

This is sick… I can’t imagine how you feel to be accused of being responsible for this!
I mean come on, it’s obvious that this website is most of all about travel…

By the way, when I was a teenager, I planned my runaway from home even without the internet. People who blame anyone just to feel better, make me laugh.


Liz February 26, 2013 at 10:25 am

I actually can’t believe this! How misinformed of them to assume because a site has “runaway” in the title it’s to persuade kids to run away. I hope there’s not too much backlash for you, keep on doing what you’re doing.


Nicole @ Suitcase Stories February 26, 2013 at 9:14 am


You mean to say that the media have taken something thats inspiring and helpful, twisted it around and made it into a negative story for their own gain? No, can’t be… They would never do something so outrageous right?

God, next they will be onto Suitcase Stories for promoting being homeless! lol

Freaking media – This is whats wrong with this world!


Alex February 26, 2013 at 6:55 am

Hi, awesome, measured response here from you as always :)!

Please never, ever stop what you’re doing – I’m about to finally runaway to Europe with my boyfriend, we’re walking a pilgrimage across the Pyrenees then going to find a hippy beach squat, then gradually working our way towards the East… and your website has filled me with so much warmth and excitement at what we’ve got ahead – it’s lovely to read the words of someone who’s clearly so open, wise and free spirited :)). I don’t think you will anyway, but never let such a pile of ridiculous nonsense like Fox stop you, ever. Thank you for sharing your advice, stories and heart!! MASSIVE LOVE TO YOU xxx


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Thanks Alex! Means a lot to me. Your trip sounds awesome, go for it! Cheers, -Leif


Vicky February 26, 2013 at 6:41 am

I can’t actually believe this! So weird and unnecessary. There are quite a few travel blogs with runaway in the title – I guess they’ll be on to them next…


Scarlett February 26, 2013 at 6:35 am

Have you spoke to Fox News about this piece? Surely some of the ways they’ve portrayed you comes under slander? x


Roy Cavanagh February 26, 2013 at 4:57 am

Leif, don’t worry about it. You are quite clear on your site and if people are too lazy or too thick to understand what you have written that isn’t your fault.

Where I am in Thailand I get Fox News on cable. If I want a laugh I might watch it for 5 minutes; if I want the news I go elsewhere.


Tom @ Waegook Tom February 26, 2013 at 4:42 am

Don’t change ANYTHING on your site. Start a social media campaign, and include @FoxNews in tweets. This is almost as ridiculous as when they claimed Gangnam Style was harmful to society and said that Psy comes from Pyongyang…Piss poor journalism from Fox.


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Thanks Tom maybe I will. I’ve been writing news agencies to see if they will pick up on the story so I can rebuke fox.


Matthew Karsten February 26, 2013 at 4:13 am

I can’t believe Fox is still on the air. Good luck with this Leif. People want to blame anything & anyone else but themselves. Keep up the inspirational travel tales!


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:25 pm

Thanks Matthew! I appreciate the support and I definitely will! Cheers, Leif


Cole @ February 26, 2013 at 3:11 am

I don’t think you should ignore this! Someone will jump on the bandwagon and lobby for you to take down the site. Just make it clear that you are NOT encouraging people to runaway. I think they should interview you.


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Thanks Cole, I would love to do an interview to rebuke fox. Cheers, Leif


Passport Dave February 26, 2013 at 2:59 am

That is just a crazy misrepresentation of the truth which Fox News is amazing at! Obviously nobody (including you) would want underage kids roaming out on the streets. This site is meant to be inspirational and prove that you can in fact travel with very little. Says nothing about LITERALLY running away from your parents. Anyway, great site and keep up the good work!


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:26 pm

Thanks Dave, I appreciate the support. I guess it’s the title that is what’s driving this. Cheers, Leif


James February 26, 2013 at 2:35 am

Keep in mind that this is a local Fox affiliate, not Fox News. I can’t believe the posts on this families Facebook page. I replied to a few posts, but expect they will be deleted soon.

It is good to see from the comments on their website that a lot of people can actually read and know what your website is truly about. Their story is ridiculous.


Jib February 26, 2013 at 2:22 am

Hi Leif,
I’ ll just say the same line I said to you, : Thank you for your inspiring website, Leif. And I still wish to continuously read the good works from you !!


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:27 pm

Thanks Jib, I will keep em coming! :)


Paula February 26, 2013 at 1:33 am

this is so funny, your site is about a love of travel not running away from home. silly fox news twisting anything into a story


Si February 25, 2013 at 11:53 pm

This is the craziest thing I’ve read all day! Geez, man, bet you didn’t want to get your 15 minutes of fame this way, huh? Ouch! Keep you’re chin up, mate.


Caroline in the City February 25, 2013 at 10:11 pm

Parents are clearly afraid of information. Total BS story, I definitely agree :)
But keep doing what you’re doing because the world needs the knowledge you provide. Where else can someone learn about hitchhiking and camping and scrounging for food?


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Thanks Caroline! I appreciate it. I definitely won’t let this stop me. :)


Cathy February 25, 2013 at 8:16 pm

The twist the news gave your website is unfortunate, but the name “Runaway” appealed to my ‘grown up’ sense of adventure, and I looked up your site immediately! At least you have some free advertising.


Miguel February 25, 2013 at 7:59 pm

I can’t believe Fox News can call themselves journalists? I wonder if there is any type of law or anything to help out. You don’t even have a forum on this site so its not realistic that the kid would run away with someone from this site. If your domain is with Godaddy I would switch that ASAP because they don’t offer protection. Once someone wants your site down they either fine you or confiscate your domain.


Elena February 25, 2013 at 6:59 pm

If kids want to run away, they will eventually. Better to be prepared than not.

Leif, it’s a good thing you’re doing.


Jason Jones February 25, 2013 at 6:50 pm

Wow, and there you have it. Now you see why I have to get out of this crazy country for a little while… this is the kind of crap we have for “news”. I’m sorry you have to endure this sheer ignorance and sensationalism. You have done a wonderful thing with your website, inspiring unknown numbers of people to follow their dreams. In fact, I am one of them. You helped to inspire me to quit my job and get out on the road as a backpacker– even start a blog myself. Forget about this rubbish, enjoy the silver lining of increased traffic to your site! Best of wishes with your travels and hope to run into you along the way.


Levi February 25, 2013 at 5:07 pm

bs…If they had actually read some of your posts before the report people would understand that you’re not trying to convince kids to run away. If anything, you’re trying to get them to travel minimalistically. There’s nothing wrong with traveling the world and having some fun. Keep up the good work and don’t let stupid people get to you.


Mae February 25, 2013 at 4:44 pm

well done. Be a man of integrity and honor and your will gain respect. and your own travel show one day (:


Adam February 25, 2013 at 4:18 pm

Leif my man,
I woke up this morning and checked your website for any new articles as I do on a regular occasion, and this popped up. After yesterdays read about motorcycling through South America, I did not expect to see this slander portrayed upon you from propaganda central, Fox News.

I like this website for a variety of reasons, mainly the unique content, adventure stories, and no shame travel stories. This site does not teach nor have any articles related to teaching your pi***ed off 16 year old how to run away from home, because they hate there life.

It is about running away from the mainstream, confirmative corporate bullish*t and living the life you really want to, not the life you were led to believe you should live. The life of monotony, rushing, wanting and living with a chain and shackle. I cannot sum it up better than a band I like called ‘The Brow Horn Orchestra’, already have;

“There’s youth- soon to be consumed by the rat race
‘til too fat to crawl back through the cash maze
They say: “strive for wealth and get a wage,
And climb enough to buy yourself a better cage
And like the cogs in some great, grey machine
The city teams with lost who nay-say their dreams
And fiend for the weekend and that dim light time
To find the wrong side of the thin white line
Its cut-throat, so don’t get blood on your best tie”…

I have been travelling for over 4 years now and always found work as I went along. Therefor I have never had to go to a extreme methods as Leif. But I have friends who lived off dumpster diving in Barcelona and who lived in squats all over Europe.

I was living in Spain many moons ago and had no work and virtually no money. So I bought and chopped some fruit, walked along the beach with containers filled with big juicy chunks of watermelon and made enough to live and always had fruit to live on!

My point is this.

Have some respect for what ‘The Runaway Guide’ is really doing. He travels the world, to places most would never dare, documents the highs and lows, in a funny and honest way.

This is not a website devoted to selling $29 eBooks on ‘How to break free from the corporate grind and become a unique snowflake like me’, as many travel blogs have become.

Leif always finds a unique way to show his entrepreneurial spirit while on the road and showed this in Africa selling cut up Palm sugar. Even if someones child was thinking about running way, and stumbled upon this website, they would hardly be planning on running away to Africa!

Keep up the good work Leif,

I wish you all the best and hope this backfires on Fox and you get a million new subscribers!


Adam F


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Hey Adam this really means a lot to me. Thank you for your support and words of encouragement! Cheers, Leif


Edna February 25, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I can’t even watch the clip, I’m already angry enough just hearing about this. Sorry you were misunderstood and ignore the angry mob, you’ve got a great site and an interesting story and you’re not forcing anyone to run away (what a stupid thing to even imply).


The Runaway Guide February 26, 2013 at 1:32 pm

Thanks Edna!


Micamyx|Senyorita February 25, 2013 at 3:16 pm

Oh my goodness. I don’t really know what to say :| When I first read your blog and read the important articles, I figured out that you created this blog to encourage people to travel, but with hopes that the readers will think twice before they do that decision to run away from home. We have different reasons on why we went to get out of the house and I dunno.. I just feel that your site is not the one to blame at all! I don’t see any forum or chatroom here. I hope the researchers of FOX News will do better next time or they should’ve just emailed you first. Let’s talk on FB soon. Take care, Leif!


Alex February 25, 2013 at 2:49 pm

Ridiculous… Ignore them mate keep doing what you’re doing and don’t back down or edit/delete old posts. You have done nothing wrong.


The Runaway Guide February 25, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Thanks Alex. That’s what i will do for sure.


Andrew February 25, 2013 at 2:20 pm

Wtf!.. Get it right Fox News!!

Sorry to hear about this bud.. Hope it gets sorted..


The Runaway Guide February 25, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Seriously! Me too. I really hope they dont try and shut my site or fb page down.


Anni February 25, 2013 at 2:15 pm

People only read what they want to read. This is ridiculous. Accusing you of making people run away from home. And the people from fox, obviously haven’t read anything from your website. This is just putting the blame on someone else. They should look at the relationship with their childeren first, before accusing anybody else.

I think this is a very inspiring website, keep doing what you are doing!


The Runaway Guide February 25, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Thanks Anni, its so true. And once fox news puts an idea in peoples heads, it’s all over. Agreed! These days our society is constantly looking for scapegoats.


Oleg February 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Hi Leif,

wow, i can not belive how your amazing travel blog was misunderstood by Fox. I would never have imagined that just by the name people can judge, since by just browisng 1-2 minutes everybody can see that its allabout backpacking…stay tight man !


The Runaway Guide February 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Thanks Oleg, much appreciated! I will keep doing what I’m doing for sure.


Pam February 25, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Wow. How wierd. What a strange thing that they did this. Did you call them and ask why?


The Runaway Guide February 25, 2013 at 2:59 pm

I know, I guess they just love the fear factor at fox and controversy sells.