Queer Travel In Asia… Is It Safe?

Author: , January 16th, 2019

Gay Travel in Asia - The Globetrotter Guys

Gay travel in Asia can be confusing to say the least. A lot of people will look up gay rights in Asia and for the most part be disappointed. However, don’t let this discourage you! Back in 2012, we spent 3 months travelling from Thailand through to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia and Bali. We experienced this part of Asia as a gay couple and only had positive experiences.

We returned to Asia again in 2017 for our honeymoon, where we spent 3 weeks in the Philippines. When it comes to gay travel in Asia, the Philippines is one of the more advanced countries. There is still work to be done, like anywhere, but overall we had a wholly positive experience.

Quite simply, often the laws of the country don’t match the reality of being there as a tourist. While some people may say not to travel to countries until they have better laws, as long as you are safe as a tourist, you could be helping by representing the local LGBT community.

We have compiled our ‘Gay Travel Asia Guide’ to help you navigate the countries we visited. We want to compare the laws to the reality as a gay traveller in Asia. Read on to find out more, and feel free to share your own experiences in the comments.

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Asia Gay Travel Resources

Lesbian Belize: Adventure and Magic – The Seattle Lesbian

Author: , January 7th, 2019

lesbian Belize

The howler monkey with her baby lazily laid on the branches high above us. They weren’t moving. It looked like I wasn’t going to see one up close that day. I was standing beneath the shade of the tree tilting my head upward peering through the broad leaves at the black face of the sleepy mother as the baby played hide and seek behind the trunk of the tree for about 20 minutes.

However, the tour guide Geraldine Fremin, was an expert. She got a banana and coaxed the mother down the tree calling to her in a series of grunts and howls, the sounds the monkeys use to talk to each other. The mother slowly and cautiously made her way down the tree to a branch in front of me where she ate her banana and modeled perfect images right out of National Geographic.

Geraldine has been with the local women-run nonprofit sanctuary, the Community Baboon Sanctuary, what the local Creole people call the black howler monkeys, protecting the monkeys for 18-years. Started in 1981, the sanctuary has been a model for saving the nearly extinct monkeys, that were estimated to be around a population of 400 at the time, and for private/public partnerships working toward sustainable tourism. The population increased to an estimated 4,500 monkeys by 2003, she said. The sanctuary is currently in the process of surveying the monkey population to get an updated monkey census.

By Heather Cassell – Full Story at The Seattle Lesbian

Lesbian Belize Travel Resources

 

Pink Iceland – Iceland Gay Tour Operator

Author: , January 3rd, 2019

Pink Iceland

Pink Iceland was founded in 2011 by Eva Maria and Birna who shortly thereafter asked one of their friends, Hannes (a.k.a. Sasi) to join the company. Their tiny start-up is now the first and foremost Queer travel, event and wedding planner in Iceland.

Now, having succeeded in their mission Pink Iceland employs seven full time members of staff as well as a few freelance tour guides at any given time. Many things have changed since those first years, not least the clientele which now sees many straight allies of the LGBTQI+ community seeking Pink Iceland’s help with planning their nuptials and/or travels in Iceland. This despite having never lost their queer focus. As Eva (Pink Mama) puts it: “We are proud of who we are and the community we serve. If anyone has a problem with that, we wouldn’t really want to work with them anyway!

We believe in creating unforgettable experiences and lasting memories. We will always try to match, or beat, online prices for accommodation, activities and services, while still offering 24/7 access to a real human being, ready willing and able to assist you with all your needs.

See the Pink Iceland Expanded Listing on Purple Unions Here

Iceland Gay Friendly Wedding Vendors

Greek Magic on the Aegean Sea – Gay City News

Author: , January 3rd, 2019

Greek Magic

On our last day in Greece, we found the sweetest spot. I was there with my spouse, Denise, floating in the crescent bay of historic Monemvasia. The sky was pure blue, and the warm water so clear we could see the rounded stones lining the sea floor.

We returned to the beach, where we’d left our things at a café table perched a few feet from the calm, rolling waves. We sipped Greek wine and ate olives and herbed tzatziki, and asked ourselves the question that bookends every magical trip: Why can’t we stay here forever?

Enchantment in travel often comes from expectations exceeded. For me, Greece has been on my to-do list for as long as I can remember. Enraptured by mythology and ancient tales, I had visions of this land and Aegean waters that I’d probably idealized. I envisioned dreamy light and air, and imagined delicacies involving phyllo dough and figs, served with house-made wines and ouzo. It all seemed so tantalizing that I made myself tamp down projections to let Greece reveal itself, without my eager idealizations.

Then we arrived, boarded a clipper ship, and discovered a mixture of sights and scenes that inspired and delighted us at every port.

By Kelsy Chauvin – Full Story at Gay City News

Greece Gay Travel Resources

 

Get Naked in Florida – Go Girlfriend

Author: , January 2nd, 2019

naked in Florida

It seems only natural to celebrate the wonderfulness of getting naked in Florida! Take its hundreds of miles of sand and surf opportunities, add it’s mostly hot and sun-kissed southerness and you have the ingredients to enjoy ample opportunity to bare it all and enjoy life au naturel.

As with any new experience, we suggest you start your nudist experience with a step you can be comfortable with. Maybe you and your partner begin with a nude beach or a day access to one of the resorts below – just to explore being naked together and see how things feel. All the options below promote body acceptance and welcome you into the experience at your own rate. I guarantee once you’ve begun your own naked journey, you will celebrate this newfound freedom for the rest of your life!

Forget the mindset of nudist resorts as a rustic, commune-style backwoods campsites only for hippies. Both Cypress Cove Nudist Resort and Caliente Club and Resort offer modern, upscale, multigenerational nudist experience that brings nudism to the modern age. Their facilities deliver modern amenities, grounds and facilities to impress and entertainment options to find your groove just as well as similar clothed resorts throughout North America. The difference is life can be enjoyed au naturel … and once the sun kisses your skin and you’ve settled into the reality that hardly anyone has that ideal body type; the bliss of this newfound freedom is a treasure to enjoy!

By Stacy Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Florida Gay Travel Resources

 

Ethical, Eco-Friendly Travel – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , December 26th, 2018

Eco Friendly Travel

Especially while travelling it’s difficult to be environmentally cautious, as taking off by plane is by definition not eco-friendly. And have you ever realised everything ‘travel’ comes in plastic? Small plastic travel shampoos, deodorants, toothpaste and other stuff.

But plastic isn’t the only problem: sunscreen ruins coral, Western values may endanger local cultures and let’s not even speak about animal tourism. BUT no need to cry and think the world is doomed because of your travels! I’m going to tell you exactly how to travel greener: sustainably, responsibly & ethnically.

Expressed simply by The World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism can be defined as:

“Tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities”

In other words: to travel sustainable means you have to protect and enhance places for the future – everywhere you go. On an economic, cultural & environmental level, so generations after you can enjoy the same (no wait: better) experiences in those places. Minimising the negative impact of tourism, by helping to make a positive impact. So let’s dive into that!

SAY NO TO PLASTIC

Plastic pollution is such a big deal. It becomes even clearer when you travel to Asia and find beaches full of it. Not so fun fact: there are no more beaches on earth untouched by plastic pollution (even the unexplored ones on uninhabited islands). We looked up some plastic pollution statistics and it’s so incredibly shocking.

By Maartje Hensen – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

Hiking the Hoodoos in Bryce Canyon – Free Wheel Drive

Author: , December 23rd, 2018

Bryce Canyon Hoodoos - Free Wheel Drive

A hop and skip distance away from Zion is Bryce Canyon. Well, just under a two hour drive time. And it’s our second park of the Mighty Five.

A short two hour drive East we find ourselves in a dramatically different landscape. At a much higher elevation the nightly temperatures were well below freezing. Sick and tired of shivering at night and dealing with frozen food we caved in and spent a night in a motel before heading into the park. Only our second time crashing in a motel on our entire trip. After a night of lazy TV watching we made our way to the entrance of Bryce Canyon. Here the landscape is unlike anything we’ve encountered yet.

Bryce Canyon is not even a canyon, but a series of natural amphitheaters that have these crazy looking rock features called Hoodoos. These Hoodoo rock features were created not by a river, but by ice cracking the rocks apart and exposing the colorful sedimentary rocks underneath. Hoodoo type formations can be found all over the world. Another famous area with Hoodoos is in the Cappadocia region of Turkey where people carved houses into the rock formations.

When you arrive in Bryce Canyon you are on top of the Paunsaugunt Plateau looking East where the land descends in a series of steps known as the Grand Staircase. The Grand Staircase steps down through Zion, Vermilion Cliffs, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, and finally The Grand Canyon.

By Laura and Camrin – Full Story at Free Wheel Drive

Utah Gay Travel Resources

 

Best Queer NYC Hotspots – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , December 21st, 2018

Queer NYC

New York City is known as one of the most gay-friendly cities in the U.S. It is where gay rights started after all! It has an amazing gay scene and almost all businesses support the LGBTQ+ community. You will feel welcome pretty much anywhere you go, but there are some areas you definitely can’t miss!

Queer NYC is where modern gay rights began. The Stonewall Riots in June 1969 are widely known as the event that led to the gay rights movement in the United States. The riots occurred after police raided the popular gay bar, The Stonewall Inn, and the people protested. After the riots, gay rights organizations were formed all across the USA and two years later the first pride parades began! Today, the Stonewall Inn is still thriving. It’s one of the most popular gay bars in the city as well as a National Monument! Stonewall is one of our favorite places to hang out, meet other people in the community, and it’s so inspiring to step foot in the place where it all began.

Although NYC is gay all year long, the best time to visit is definitely during Pride Month. Pride Month, also known as LGBTQ history month, is always in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. The New York City Pride Parade is usually held the last weekend of the month (check this website for exact dates).

By Gabi & Shanna – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

New York Gay Travel Resources

 

Queer Japan – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , December 20th, 2018

Queer Japan - Once Upon a Journey

Travelling nowadays seems like the ultimate dream. We’re living that dream, and it is an absolute fairy tale! But, travelling the world as an LGBTQ+ traveller isn’t as easy as packing your bags and go. We have travelled to countries with anti-gay laws and we refuse to boycott countries for that reason. We believe travelling the world is for everyone!

However, it’s important to do it safely. A few important questions to keep in mind before flying to a new destination: what are the LGBT rights? What’s the public opinion like? Where are the LGBT+ safe spaces? It’s our goal to make you worry less, and have more fun during your travels. So let’s answer the questions and find out how LGBT friendly Japan is for travellers!

PAVING THE WAY TO MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Japan has some of the most progressive LGBT laws in of all Asia. Homosexual activities are legal, same-sex marriage not yet. Japan has been making great steps forward the past years. Since March 2009, Japanese can get married outside of Japan, in countries where it’s legal. In 2012, a law was passed allowing transgenders to change their gender legally after surgery.

In 2015 Shibuya was the first area in Japan to recognise same-sex partnership with a certificate, making it easier for same-sex couples to find housing and to visit each other in the hospital. Other areas and some major cities followed, nowadays seven cities (Sapporo, Fukuoka, Osaka, Iga, Takarazuka, Naha, and Chiba) and four wards in Tokyo offer them (or will in the near future).

Last October, Tokyo passed an anti-discrimination law concerning gender identity and sexual orientation. Plus, the city decided to conduct public education about LGBT rights. Although discrimination isn’t common in Japan we hope to see this law pass nationally as well. Sadly, adoption by same-sex couples isn’t allowed and lesbians aren’t able to access IVF. Though, the city Osaka is making great steps forward in this topic, since April 2017 same-sex couples are recognized as foster parents. Still, a lot to work on, but a country is more than its laws, so let’s dive into Japan’s public opinion.

By Roxanne & Maartje – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey

 

Eco-Friendly Gifts for Zero-Waste Travel – Once Upon a Journey

Author: , December 19th, 2018

Eco-friendly gifts

It’s the most wonderful time of the year again, which means: presents-time! It’s tricky to find the perfect gift for a traveller. Or maybe you are a traveller and don’t know what to list. Or maybe you want to treat yourself. But do not worry, these sustainable travel products are a must-have. Especially while travelling it’s difficult to be environmentally cautious, as almost everything ‘travel’ comes in plastic. So let’s get rid of the single-use plastic and reduce your waste to ZERO with help of these eco-friendly travel essentials and make your travels greener!

NOTE: if you decide to buy these as gifts, consider eco-friendly gift wrapping: use what you have, reuse & be creative!

ECO-FRIENDLY TOILETRIES

Let’s start our journey towards zero waste and no more single-use plastic in the toiletry bag! Because let’s be honest: all the travel-size shampoos and lotions are not sustainable at all. Refillable bottles are a little bit better, but let us suggest some greener alternatives.

SHAMPOO BAR

The best thing about shampoo bars is not even that it’s better for the environment, the bars actually last longer than any other bottle of shampoo AND you can bring it in your carry-on as it’s not liquid! There are so many great brands out there and although Lush is currently the most famous shop for it, we don’t think it’s the best one out there (our hair gets so dry at first and then quickly greasy again). We love our shampoo bar from Boobalou! The shampoo bar also comes in eco-friendly packaging and can also be used as a soap bar (or well, that’s just what we do).

By Maartje Hensen – Full Story at Once Upon a Journey