How A Trip Around The World Threatened Our Relationship
Taking a trip around the world should be a romantic experience for any couple in love, shouldn’t it? Well we can’t speak for other couples, but it was no romantic getaway for us, at least some of the time – ok, many times. In fact, it was quite the opposite. We’d never fought so much in the seven years we’ve been together. It’s safe to say that by the end of our trip around the world our relationship was strained and apparently not aging well, so much so that if it had a face it’d look like Michael Douglas.
Gay Backpackers: Out of the Closet or In?
I started writing this post on gay backpacking last year before we began our trip around the world. However, I decided it would be best to post it after our year abroad to share our actual experiences.
Being gay backpackers, Auston and I had talked a little bit before we started traveling about what our plan would be as to whether or not we’d come out to people we meet while traveling. The general consensus was that we’d just have to feel out every situation. So from the beginning, we told everyone that we were friends from college which is how we actually met anyway. We also didn’t wear our wedding rings while abroad just to avoid any unexpected questions.
Return to the USA for Miami Sun and Fun
Ok, it wasn’t so much ‘sun and fun’ as it was rainy and cloudy. When we arrived in Miami we were informed that we had just missed great weather and that apparently we had brought the rain in with us. That was definitely not true since we had just arrived from Brazil where the sun was forcing its bright rays upon us everyday. Unfortunately, Miami was in a bit of a gloom and apparently not happy to welcome us. But like it or not we were coming back to the U.S.!
Londoners, Locals & Lighthouses in La Serena
La Serena is a small city in northern Chile that lays just outside its larger counterpart, Coquimbo. It’s one of the oldest cities in Chile second only to Santiago. After our overnight bus ride from Arica, we arrived at the bus station in La Serena far too early in the morning, but thankfully our hostel beds were ready and waiting. We stayed there two nights just as we did in Arica so that we wouldn’t exhaust ourselves from traveling all the way to Santiago from Puno in Peru.
Backpacking As A Gay Couple
We’ve been traveling the world as a gay couple now for more than 7 months, so we’ve decided to open up and share our experiences about how it’s impacted our relationship. As if we don’t talk enough about ourselves on our own travel blog, we also have to do it on other blogs. Hurray! We already shared our experiences of Gay CouchSurfing for Leave Your Daily Hell. Now, check out what it’s like to Backpack As a Gay Couple on this post we wrote for Waegook Tom. Tom’s been teaching English in South Korea since 2009 and is about to embark on a round-the-world adventure this year. Be sure to explore his travel blog and check out our post to see what it’s like for Two Bad Tourists to travel together…you might even get some good (or bad!) relationship advice along the way!
Meet Issei: Gay in Tokyo, Straight in Osaka
We learned about being gay in Japan from our interview with Issei, a gay student from Osaka, who lives in Tokyo. He was our gracious CouchSurfing host and loves travels as much as we do.
Traveling in Tokyo can be expensive and confusing. It has one of the busiest, most extensive rapid transit systems in the world and while English is seen and spoken often enough, the language barrier is bound to cause a problem at some point. But when you have someone who knows the city helping you out, it becomes much more navigable so you can make the most of your trip. This is why we felt very lucky to have been invited to stay with Issei, a 20 year old Japanese student (on hiatus) living in Tokyo, through CouchSurfing.org.
Gay Couchsurfing Tips and Tricks for LGBT Travelers
Couchsurfing is a global platform that allows you to stay in people’s homes for free, while offering a social experience with your host. Likewise, you can sign up as a host in your own home city and host travelers from around the world. You can even use the platform to find LGBT hosts in most cities around the world. During our round-the-world trip we stayed with at least 10 different Couchsurfing hosts in countries like Germany, Chile and Japan. It was one of the most memorable travel experiences we had and we still keep in touch with many of our past hosts. It’s free to use but for a small one-time fee, you can pay to get your profile verified which will greatly improve your chances of hosts accepting your stay requests. We recommend verifying your profile as it helps to maintain safety and trustworthiness within the platform.
Back in 2012 we published an article on Robert’s Leave Your Daily Hell blog where we shared our take on Gay CouchSurfing in Europe with tips on how to couchsurf and find hosts that are a good fit. We shared our experiences about how we stayed with gay friendly hosts during our 1-year round the world trip. Since then Couchsurfing has upgraded its platform and it’s not as straight forward to find LGBT hosts on the website. A recent follower and fellow traveler pointed this out to us but we hadn’t noticed because we don’t Couchsurf as much now after finishing our round-the-world trip. Though when we’re not whoring our guestroom out on AirBnB, we do still occasionally host travelers (mostly LGBT) in our apartment in Madrid.
Munich Gay Pride Weekend
We had our first couchsurfing stay with an excellent host in Munich during Christopher Street Day (aka Gay Pride). He was also hosting a couple others that weekend and took the time to graciously show us around the city. Traveling can be such a different and unique experience when you have the privilege of staying with a local and enjoying their company. Aside from some rainfall, it was a fantastic weekend. We found the pride parade to be surprisingly better than Madrid’s even though Munich’s Gay Pride event is much smaller.
Here are some photos of the weekend.
The Christopher Street Day Festival in Munich was a blast and we got to eat our first German Bratwurst, while washing it down with a few beers!
Gay Pride in Madrid
We split up from Auston’s family in France to go celebrate Gay Pride in Madrid, as the rest of his family continued on to Paris and London. We arrived in Madrid just in time for Orgullo Madrid, their gay pride festival. We were warned that madrileños have a later schedule than most. But this place takes the cake. Nightlife doesn’t just go until the wee hours of dawn. It straight up passes into the morning. I assume the weekend we were there had to be on overload considering that there was not only Orgullo Madrid, but also the 2012 European Football Championship game of Spain versus Italy.
It was an absolute whirlwind of a weekend and we were happy to do some relaxed sightseeing the days after. We opted out of the traditional hop on/hop off tour bus because it was fairly pricey and instead decided to download a more wallet-friendly Madrid walking tour app. We walked around various points in the city that the app suggested and it had an audio recording about its history. It was so… boring actually. We stopped fairly early and wished we were on a tour bus. :-( But it was worth a shot I guess!
Madrid is an amazing city and I am seriously considering moving my entire family here and settling down. Or possibly ditching them and going solo. I’m still working out the details.
Photos here. Not a lot really because we got caught up in day to day life in Madrid and I don’t regret it!
Waiting for the parade to start
The festival and parade in Madrid in the largest Gay Pride in Spain and is well worth a visit!
We had to go all the way to Madrid. But we found him!
He was at the Gay Pride Parade. Can’t say I’m surprised. I always knew Waldo was gay.