Exploring Colombia’s Parque Tayrona

Author: , April 12th, 2013

 Robert Schrader – ColombiaIn the past, I’ve written about Minca, one of the most charming destinations along Colombia’s Caribbean coast. Minca is tranquil, exotic and good for a day, or maybe two, but it’s nothing compared to Tayrona National Natural Park, which is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Colombian ecotourism.

Located approximately 20 km from the city of Santa Marta, the hub for ecotourists along the eastern stretch of Colombia’s Caribbean coast, Parque Tayrona (as it’s known in Spanish) has everything, from hiking, to camping, to swimming, to opportunities to experience indigenous culture.

To reach Parque Tayrona, either book a taxi from your hostel in Santa Marta (this is a good option if you’re traveling in a group), or ask a local which collectivo share taxi you can hop on, if you’re traveling on your own or as part of a couple.

Authored By Robert Schrader – See the Full Story at Leave Your Daily Hell

Click here for gay travel resources in Colombia.

The Things I Learned While Traveling for Love

Author: , April 10th, 2013

Robert SchraderAs you’ll know if you’ve been reading this week’s posts, I did something last week that I’ve never done before: I boarded a flight exclusively for the purpose of pursuing romance. After landing in Las Vegas, you might remember, I hopped in a car with my Indian-Australian lover (and his two roommates) and traveled northwest through California, hitting up Death Valley and Yosemite National Parks, before ending up in San Francisco.

Nearly a week after my return to Texas, many things are still unclear. For example, although we both have strong feelings for each other, we’ve never spent time together outside of a “vacation” context. Not to mention, we base ourselves literally a world away – and I’m pretty sure neither of us wants to move anytime soon!

Regardless of how things turn out between us, I learned many priceless lessons about traveling with a love interest during my (mostly) romantic road trip through California. Do you have any to add?

Authored By Robert Schrader – See the Full Story at Leave Your Daily Hell

Click here for gay travel resources.

Is There a Third Way for Travel?

Author: , April 8th, 2013

TravelI recently came across an article by writer Vanessa Vaselka, which lamented the lack of female road narratives in pop culture. Her thesis – that travel tales told by women, but which don’t concern violence and victimization, are unlikely to be given a fair shake by media consumers – was beautifully conveyed.

And on the surface, it was very compelling: I wanted to stand in solidarity with Vaselka, if only for the whole gay-traveler-who-doesn’t-travel-like-a-typical-gay-traveler thing I embody. The story I’m trying to tell is even more unrepresented than hers!

But each time I returned to the American Reader website – and I returned several times – I found myself more and more put off by piece, and less convinced that Ms. Vaselka had any credibility in making the argument she was attempting to make.

Authored By Robert Schrader – See the Full Story at Leave Your Daily Hell

Click here for gay travel resources.

What We Do for Love

Author: , April 8th, 2013

Robert Schrader LoveOne week ago today, I was sitting at gate B43 at Denver International Airport, amid a crowd that was equal parts retirees, cigar-smoking businessmen and teen partygoers – I was the odd man out, for sure. My destination? Las Vegas.

But unlike most of my gate-mates, I wasn’t en route to Sin City to gamble, drink or hire prostitutes. Las Vegas has always topped the list of destinations I want to visit least in the world, a dishonor not even my love affair with the film Casino could cancel out.

I didn’t think any love affair could, until about 48 hours before my fateful flight. Maybe you could meet me in Vegas, the text message read, then continue up through California with me to San Francisco?

The sender was the Indian-Australian casanova who’d swept me off my feet when he came through Austin during the SXSW festival a week earlier, a stint that was part of a larger trip to the U.S. that had started in New Orleans, and would eventually take him to Los Angeles.

Authored By Rpobert Schrader – See the Full Story at Leave Your Daily Hell

Click here for gay travel resources.

Robert Schrader – On My Way North From San Francisco

Author: , April 6th, 2013

Robert Schrader Leave Your Daily HellIt’s been almost a week since I left San Francisco, which was my last stop on a road trip from Las Vegas, which I took with a man I barely knew, but had very strong feelings for.

The bad news is that things between us are still ambiguous, and although distance has certainly made my heart grow fonder, our future – and whether or not we even have one – is still very much up in the air.

The good news is that as I wait for the dust to settle, and for time tell me what it has to say, I have a collection of incredible photos to remind me of the magical week where I followed my heart like never before.

Authored By Robert Schrader – See the Full Story at Leave Your Daily Hell

Click here for gay travel resources.

Gay Traveler Robert Schrader Has Restless Soul Syndrome

Author: , March 18th, 2013

A couple weeks ago, while on safari in South Africa’s Kruger National Park, a fellow traveler asked me to explain my lifestyle and occupation, upon hearing that I was a travel blogger. It’s a request that comes up frequently, which has allowed me to carefully hone my stock “elevator speech.”

But this particular traveler did not give a stock response – shock, awe and/or mad props – to my stock speech.

“It sounds like a vicious cycle,” she sighed, and resumed scouting the dense bush around us for members of the Big 5 African game.

Her lukewarm reaction caught me off guard, so much so that I didn’t attempt to keep the conversation going. Instead, I began an intense, internal dialogue: Was I really trapped in some kind of self-perpetuating cycle, rather than living the dream?

Authored By Robert Schrader – See the Full Story at Leave Your Daily Hell

Click here for gay travel resources.

Gay Travel Updates from South Africa

Author: , February 22nd, 2013

StellenboschRobert Schrader’s Leave Your Daily hell blog has been focused on his current trip to South Africa. We’ll bring you some updates below:

First off, Robert has some advice for visiting some of the many wineries near Cape Town:

See, most of the so-called “Cape Wineries” are located near the city of Stellenbosch, which is further east of Cape Town than the city’s public transport goes. This leaves you with two options: Taking an organized tour (barf); or renting a car and driving yourself.

But in most instances, this second option is not an option at all: South Africa has extremely strict drunk driving laws, so unless you lack fear/morality or have a non-drinking friend traveling with you, taking a wine tour is your only option.

Robert-Schrader-PenguinNext, he tracks down the Penguins that live close to Cape Town:

The African penguin colony near Cape Town is located on Boulders Beach, in the coastal village of Simon’s Town. The easiest way to reach Simon’s Town is to take the M3 or M6 south from Cape Town to Muizenberg, then travel south on the M4 until you see the (conspicuous) signs.

As you might remember if you read my post on Monday, I was lucky enough to make the acquaintance of an American traveler named Lindsay, who rented a car for the express purpose of seeing the penguins, so this is the route we followed.

Next, Robert visited the tip of Africa:

I was slightly disappointed to learn, upon arriving at the Cape of Good Hope last week, that it is not in fact the southernmost tip of the African continent. And I was slightly confused to learn that although South Africans use the terms “Cape of Good Hope” and “Cape Point” interchangeably, they are in fact two different capes completely. But I was nothing short of delighted to find the peninsula that puts the “cape” in Cape Town, whatever you want to call it, is freaking incredible.

Robert SchraderHe also took a trip down the popular “Garden Route“:

The Garden Route is long, diverse and could take up weeks or even months of your time if you have it to spend. But here, I’m going to provide you with a limited list of Garden Route destinations, so that you can create a Garden Route itinerary that suits your travel plans.

Although the de-facto start of the Garden Route is the town of Heidelberg, Mossel Bay is the place many backpackers and road trippers alike begin their time on this scenic stretch of coastline. On the surface, Mossel Bay is little more than a charming seaside town, perched on gently-sloping hills above an impossible blue harbor. But Mossel Bay is rather historically significant: It was the first place Europeans set foot on South African soil, in 1488.

And uncovered the country’s seedy gambling underbelly:

Gambling first become legal in modern South Africa in 1994, when the country’s first democratic government took over from the previous apartheid regime. Prior to then, gambling in South Africa had been heavily restricted. Way prior to then – 1673, in fact! But even in modern times, gambling in South Africa has been a contentious subject. The Gambling Act of 1965, for example, outlawed all gambling in South Africa, with the exception of horse races, which were considered a sport.

Chintsa BeachesAnd finally, he reviews the beaches in Chintsa, South Africa:

I was quite literally taken aback when I arrived at Chintsa (pronounced “Sint-sa”), and not just because it was technically the first South African beach I’ve visited since leaving Cape Town weeks ago. Long, virgin and backed by mysterious, massive, mythical-looking sand dunes, it is the physical embodiment of an unnamed beach I’ve dreamed about many times, but always assumed never existed. While Chintsa is more than just a pretty face – as I mentioned yesterday, when I described a bizarre natural phenomenon I witnessed while walking along Chintsa’s 15-kilometer beach – it is not particularly exciting. I would find it difficult to write a traditional destination guide about Chintsa, explaining things to do – there isn’t a whole lot!

To follow Robert’s adventures, visit his blog here.