The first two days we were in Italy, we spent in Venice. Venice is lovely, as always. We were very tired when we finally got to our hotel on Wednesday. We had to spend some time just finding the hotel. Nothing is easy to find in that city, as the streets wind around small canals. We crossed many bridges, and just when we found the street, it came to a dead end. It did take up again on the other side of a small canal. You would think I would be used to getting lost in Venice, as I have done that so many times.
Oh, Asia. A vibrant, diverse, and energetic place to travel. But is Asia a gay-friendly travel destination? It’s one of the most commonly asked questions we receive, and one we are super happy to finally be addressing. In this LGBT Travel Guide, we will delve into the LGBT rights in Asia, as well as how to prepare as an LGBT traveller.
After spending 18 months travelling throughout this colourful continent, we can tell you that it hasn’t always been fun and rainbows. Coming from the UK where, for the most part, we can be completely open about our sexuality; it was peculiar to suddenly visit countries where homosexuality was a taboo; or worse, against the law.
Many ask us how we deal with this. Why would we want to travel to these countries if we can’t be ourselves? We look at it this way. ALL cultures have beliefs and traditions. Do we agree with all of them? Of course not. That doesn’t mean that we boycott those countries completely. At the end of the day, we travel to open our minds, and appreciating that there are other ways of life is the first step.
With this in mind, we have now spent almost two consecutive years in Asia. In that time, we have visited gay-friendly cities; travelled off the beaten path; and spent time in countries where homosexuality is criminalised. Guess what? We had a great time in all of them.
Visiting Joshua Tree National Park is a great addition to a vacation to Palm Springs or Southern California in general. It’s a very unique National Park and visiting is a very different experience compared with Yellowstone or Yosemite. I’d sooner relate it to visiting the Everglades than any other Park. There are tons of things to do on a Joshua Tree day trip, but you need to know what to do before you just show up.
Before arriving at Joshua Tree we’d done some research around hiking and unique features of the park. We didn’t fully understand the layout though and had to adjust our plans to be able to experience the best of a Joshua Tree day trip. The following guide should help you plan, prep and have an awesome time exploring this fascinating place.
WHAT IS A JOSHUA TREE?
So glad you asked. A Joshua Tree is a member of the yucca or lily tree family. It’s like a giant succulent that grows only in hot, arid climates. They are very rare outside of the deserts of the American Southwest (there’s a small grove in Mexico), but their yucca cousins can be found in deserts all around the world.
The Joshua tree is a rough, pokey plant. It doesn’t get very big, unlike the Sequoias or Redwoods, and it’s rarely grows straight up. Joshua Trees are shaped like Dr. Seuss trees and look a lot like the silhouette of a person jumping out to scare you. They really cool. They don’t bloom every year, but when they do it is amazing and since it’s so rare, if you get the chance to visit when they’re blooming, you’ll be one of the few people on Earth that experience it.
You might think that packing for a gay cruise is like packing for any other cruise, however, it’s quite different indeed!
Our first cruise experience was with Celebrity Cruises and although this was not a ‘gay cruise’, it was very gay friendly and you can read more about it here. We loved the experience and as a result booked ourselves on to an Atlantis gay cruise to the Caribbean for the following year!
However, for our first Atlantis gay cruise our packing list is significantly different. Having talked to many avid Atlantis cruisers, there are many items to pack that we had never thought about in the slightest! Take a look at our list ‘What to pack for a gay cruise’ below and see if you agree.
Given the advancements in technology and low cost airfare, it’s never been a better time to travel to your dream destinations and capture the beauty of the world with your trusty camera.
Believe it or not, most smartphones now boast cameras that could go head to head with high-quality photography equipment released just a few short years ago.
You no longer need to lug around and wish losing bags upon bags of photography equipment because you can just carry it all in your pocket. But on that note, where are the best places for travel photography where you can capture picturesque landscapes?
With its fjords and mountainous landscapes, this Scandinavian country offers photogenic landscapes that could be mistaken for beautiful fantasy-scapes straight out of a medieval novel.
You can travel just a half hour outside of any major city in Norway and your eyes will be in for a feast of staggering peaks, quaint villages nestled in mountain valleys, wide expanses of ice and snow, and alpine forests.
Do you enjoy ‘non-traditional sexual relationships’? Then mind where you travel. Over the last two decades, same-sex marriage and legal protection for the LGBTI community has become commonplace throughout many countries. But that has only widened the gulf with other parts of the world, where homosexuality remains illegal, criminal and in some cases even punishable by death.
This map was published by the Australian company Travel Insurance Direct as a risk guide for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex tourists and travellers.
Coded in the colours of the rainbow flag, the map ranks countries from places with the broadest legal recognition and protection (purple) to those where the law is used to prosecute rather than protect LGBTI people (red).
We first met the Broadway actress Tovah Feldshuh in Ft. Lauderdale in 2007 where she was portraying Katharine Hepburn in our friend Matthew Lombardo’s “TEA AT FIVE”. In March of 2015 she hiked Mount Kilimanjaro with her son. She said that she was inspired after the 2014 death of her mother at the age of 104, and her own athletic role in Pippin in which she had to swing on a trapeze.
“I really do feel we’re only in this body once,” she said. “I just want enough money to buy experience. I can forego a dress, but the idea of taking a trip and trekking Mount Kilimanjaro or going on the Trans-Siberian railroad or tracking lemurs in Madagascar — these things are very exciting to me. To see the world until I leave my own body. It’s now or not at all.”
And of course we all know what Auntie Mame said about life, “Yes! Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” And what a life she lived and she knew how to live life well. There were few dull moments in her life.
Unfortunately we know way too many people who live very boring lives, doing the same thing day in and day out, month after month and year after year, without traveling or seeing new things and experiencing how other people live.
Whether you want to take a cruise or hike up a mountain or ride the rapids on the river, or visit a large city or visit the forests or ocean, there are literally hundreds of things that you can do here in the United States.
A cross country driving trip is always extremely interesting, visiting the sights and sounds of the land along the way. Forget all the chain restaurants when you travel and try the local ones. Eat different things that you don’t normally do, from real southern cooking in the South or Cajun food in New Orleans to New England Lobsters, to Boston Baked Beans to Barbeque and grits. In Florida we have tried Alligator burgers and in New Mexico we have tried calf cheeks tacos. Perhaps they are something that we would not enjoy on a regular basis but we did enjoy trying them. We have dined with American Indians on their reservations as well.
We have been rafting down the Colorado River, climbed many mountains and discovered interesting underground caves and went on a boat ride thru the Everglades. For those who cannot afford to travel all around the country, just enjoy your own State. Google your State and visit their websites to see what your State offers. For instance, http://www.travelok.com/ gives a listing of dozens and dozens of things to do and see in that State.
So if you can only travel close to where you live and only have a couple or three days, you can still get away from your ‘regular life” and enjoy new and interesting things. You are never too old or young to travel. We are fortunate and we have been traveling with a str8 couple in their 80’s for the past two years and have driven in 17 States and are ready next month to drive with them out to California. We will be stopping everywhere to see everything and even still be sleeping in a Wigwam Motel.
So don’t be one of those people who Auntie Mame says is starving to death. Make your life something special, just for you!
TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married).
Jennifer McCreath has a fear of flying of a different sort: a fear she won’t be allowed on board. McCreath, a 43-year-old transgender woman in St. John’s, N.L., takes issue with a federal regulation that prohibits airlines from transporting anyone who “does not appear to be of the gender indicated on the identification presented.”
Doing away with the regulation is a cause the federal NDP has been pushing for five years, and one for which Justin Trudeau expressed support before becoming prime minister. It’s also one the federal Liberal government should be all over, given its self-proclaimed reputation as the party of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, McCreath said in an interview Wednesday.
“It all comes back to the notion of equality,” said McCreath, who described having to wait for two hours in a holding area before a flight to the United States in 2011, when she was in the process of changing the gender on her birth certificate. The Canadian regulation, she said, gives officials too much power in cases where someone doesn’t look like the gender indicated on their identification.
OutOfOffice.com is giving you the chance to win a two-night stay at the beautiful five-star Edinburgh hotel Nira Caledonia. Located on the cobbled streets of New Town, this romantic boutique property combines the luxury of a top five-star with the intimacy and peace of a cosy townhouse. The 28-bedroom hotel features stunning original cornicing and plasterwork. An intimate restaurant is lit by the soft glow of a chandelier, while the striking architecture on the street opposite is visible through original sash windows. A successful blend of Georgian period features and contemporary furnishings characterises the decor throughout the property. This, together with a home-from-home ambience, defines the very essence of Nira Caledonia. The prize includes: Two-night stay in a Petite Double room, complimentary upgrade, early check-in and late check out, welcome drink upon arrival, full Scottish Breakfast each morning, a three-course dinner for two people including a bottle of house wine at Blackwood’s Bar & Grill and a Silver Whisky Barrel ride at The Scotch Whisky Experience.
Let’s be honest, we’ve all dreamt of making the most fabulous entrance into work. This week, at least Londoners will see that dream come true, as they can drop the Tube or buse and take unicorn cabs to work instead. Yes, you read that right. Gay Rainbow Unicorn-drawn carriages. Taking you to work. Thats a fabulous entrance if we’ve ever seen one. And it’s as fabulous(ly gay) as it sounds: two horses, decked with rainbow manes and horns, draw a white coach, complete with rainbow pattern on the side.