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ISSUE #22 | September 2016

The World’s Top LGBTQ Travel Experts Raw, Wild & Uncensored!

TRAVEL HEELS


Connexting CONTRIBUTORS

Connextions Magazine Issue 21: #Proud2Bme analyses the meaning and implications of freedom of religion and bathroom-laws. We take a behind the scenes look at a NOH8 photo shoot in Baltimore. Experience the world’s most expensive restaurant in Ibiza, as well as Gay Polo in The Palm Beaches and we visit 4 hotels in Los Angeles, and cook 5 fishes, all while experiencing a New York state of mind through innocent eyes.

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Manny Velasquez-Paredes

(NLGJA Excellence in Travel Writing Winner)

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Xioger Sandoval FEATURED WRITER David Duran CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Lilly Chris Ross Christianson H. Luiz Martinez Carlos Mayorga David Perry Ali Polizzi JJ Vega Manny Velasquez-Paredes Sarah Stanley-Evan

Cover Photo by: Ross Christianson Location: Guigui Beach, Gran Canaria What happens when 11 Gay Travel Experts get together? Lots of fun and unforgettable memories. Connextions Magazine Travel Lite Expert, Ross Christianson, was invited to take part of this experience and among one of their adventures was a visit to Guigui Beach in Gran Canaria.

Read Connextions Magazine online: ConnextionsMagazine.com Write to us: Have a question or comment regarding this issue or future issues of Connextions Magazine? We would love to hear from you! E-mail responses and press releases are always welcomed.

Guigui is known around the world for its beauty and privacy. It’s a must visit place for nudists and nature lovers who take the 5 kilometers (a bit over 3 miles) hike to the beach for a few days of easy going relaxation and fun.

mvp@connextionsmagazine.com All submissions become the property of Connextions Magazine.

Read Gran Canaria article on page 10.

The views and opinions stated throughout this magazine are not necessarily the opinions of staff at Connextions Magazine. Connextions Magazine, LLC publishing mailing address: PO Box 242 Calverton, NY 11933 Connextions Magazine and Connextions Magazine en Español will not knowingly publish or advertise text which is fraudulent or misleading. The publisher reserves the right to edit, limit, revise, or reject any text without cause. Connextions Magazine assumes no financial responsibility for typographical errors. If any errors are found, please notify Connextions Magazine immediately. Materials in this publication may not be reproduced in any form without written permission from the publisher. ISSN 2160-4347 (print) ISSN 2160-4355 (online)

Find us, Follow us, Like us, Tweet us, Pin us, Share us on all Social Media sites @ConnextionsMag #ConnextionsMag

Connextions Magazine, the Travel & Lifestyle magazine for the LGBTQ Traveler since 2010, is a proud member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, Gay European Tourism Association & National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, as well The travel Media Sponsor of HRC Greater New York.

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Letter from the Editor

LIVE | TRAVEL | CONNECT

Connextions Magazine issue #22: Travel Heels takes a closer look at the World’s Top LGBTQ Travel Experts. We reached out to Travel Writers and Bloggers and interviewed them for a very special inside look at their lives, how they became experts in their field and how the rest of us can learn from their stories. We also take a closer look at Gran Canaria in Spain, which is the second most populous island of the Canary Islands, with a population of over 847,000 people as of 2015, which constitutes approximately 40% of the population of the archipelago. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, it has become a great vacation place for LGBTQ travelers, because of its scenery, culture, beauty, and food. The island had no clue what to expect when 11 Gay Travel Writers and Bloggers were invited by the gay bungalows resort, Paso Chico, to spend a week there and experience all they have to offer. Friendships and unforgettable memories were created. Our LGBTQ Family participates in one of the most popular getaways for people of all ages, where vacationers can enjoy food by Top Chefs, play on the water slides, catch an IMAX movie, exercise, play in the casino, or relax at the spa - all without ever having to drive or look for a parking space. Last issue we launched with some really cool features taking advantage of new technological advances and we continue to break ground. Don’t forget to share us and follow us on all social media channels under our handle @ConnextionsMag. MVP

Editor In Chief

ConnextionsMagazine.com

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Contents September 2016 LIVE

The World’s Top LGBTQ Travel Experts Experts from around the world share their secrets David Duran 16 High Heels Abroad 20 Globetrotter Girls 24 David Perry 30 My Normal Gay Life 34 Nomadic Boys 40 Travels of Adam 44 LGBTQ Family: Manny Velasquez-Paredes 50 Out And Around 56 The Scruffy Italian Traveller 60 H.Luiz Martinez 64

TRAVEL

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Gran Canaria: 1 Big Gay Adventure 11 Gay Travel Experts in 1 Island

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5 Reasons Why We Love Gay Bungalows The Paso Chico Story

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The World’s Most Popular Getaway LGBTQ Family vacation

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CONNECT

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Letter To My Dad 38 Pure and raw sentiments as Son confronts his Dad Lyon Hart NYC Singer, Songwriter debuts new song

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Victor Loo alias Vitoria Victor If I Were A Boy photo shoot

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The Travel Secrets of The World’s Top LGBTQ Travel Experts 5


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Capturing Your Love

Gran Canaria Photo by: Ross Christianson - HighConnextions Heels Abroad Magazine 88 Connextions Magazine | | Deluxe Deluxe Life Life | | December December 2015 2015


1 ISLAND 11 GAY TRAVEL EXPERTS 1 BIG GAY ADVENTURE


Written & photos by: Ross Christianson Ross’ biggest desires are to learn more everyday and to teach people how to make their dreams come true. Residing in Minneapolis, MN, Ross seeks to discover the world and show everyone else how easy it is, especially on a tight budget. Whether traveling or not, he is fun loving, outgoing, optimistic, adventurous, and a risk taker. Some of his favorite memories include skiing in the Austrian Alps, scuba diving in Thailand, and hitch hiking in Colorado. Ross has traveled to 25 countries thus far and cannot wait to experience what comes next!

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ran Canaria is one of Europe’s most popular getaways, particularly for those coming from Northern Europe in the winter, as well as for gay travelers year round. The relaxed, open-minded, and vibrant atmosphere helps to make Gran Canaria, which is part of the Canary Island chain located west of the Moroccan coast, so appealing for gay travelers. Here you get fun, sun, and natural beauty. Whether you are looking to escape life and find a private beach, bask in the sun, or drink

Travel: Gran Canaria

wine on a patio, you will find something to tickle your fancy.

I recently had the privilege of taking off on a Gran Canaria vacation with some fellow travel bloggers, including My Normal Gay Life, Nomadic Boys, Two Bad Tourists, Dream Euro Trip, Gastro Gays, and Engineer on the Road. I must also give a shout out to Connextions Magazine, Paso Chico, and the Gran Canaria Board of Tourism for making this trip possible! Check all these guys out to get a peek at their experiences with our action packed week together. Here are come of the sights I recommend you check out while planning your trip to Gran Canaria! For travelers looking to get away from it all, I would recommend going from Puerto de Mogan in the south to Guigui beach, a secluded beach on the west side of the island. Normally it would take 4 hours each way to hike to this beach. Luckily, www.canariasgay.com will take you and a group of up to 10 friends there for just €95, although this rate decreases if you bring a large group. If you are looking for a trip that is not gay-oriented, www.veleroaventura.com also offers excursions.


This trip includes the boat ride, a transfer to the port if you are located in the south portion of the island, paella on the beach, tapas on the boat, drinks all day long, and insurance. The scene at the beach had us all immediately captivated with its sheer cliffs, dark sand beaches, waves pushing into shore, and not another person in sight. Trust me, this was one of those locations that are difficult to leave when the time comes. This trip took me to a level of happiness and serenity that you can only find in nature. I highly recommend checking this out if you are on the island and I promise you will not regret it. Now let’s take it from sea level to one of the highest points on the island! Traveling to RoqueNublo, the second highest point on the island at 1800m, is in my opinion the best way to experience the natural magnificence of Gran Canaria. There are various ways to get there. Tour companies, including www.canariasgay.com, will take you. You could also rent a car and drive up yourself. Hell, we even saw people biking to the top, whichever method you choose, make sure to stop at the various viewing platforms that give you different perspectives on the island. Each one has a character of its own. Gran Canaria has five sub climates on the island. By making your way to the top, you will get to experience seeing each of these sub climates as you scale the island. Once you arrive to the parking lot at the top, it is just a short 20 minutes to RoqueNublo. The view at the end of the hike is just sheer beauty. You can see villages cascading down the island, neighboring Canary Island Tenerife in the distance, and water for as far as the eye can see. You don’t want to miss this. While there may be sand dunes at the coast, and rocky mountains at the top of the island, in between you’ll find a beautiful and lush landscape that has the perfect weather for wineries. I have to tell you, the Bodega las Berrazales tour was the epitome of treating myself. This was like an oasis of all of my favorite things being grown at once. They grow anything from bananas to coffee to grapes to papaya, and all with a mountainous landscape in the background. After our tour of the winery, we were given some samples of their wines. They have a whole variety of wines to choose from and there is something for everyone. For just €6 you get to try three types of wine with cheese, Serrano ham, coffee, and cake. They will also show you how to

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make mojo sauce, the traditional sauce of the island. Bring extra cash, because you are certainly going to want to buy some wine bottles to take home with you. After all this exploring, it’s time to treat yourself! Whether you are looking for food, shopping, or just a nice stroll, Calle Triana is a guaranteed good time. This street has all of the major brands that you’d look for on a typical shopping spree. I struggled real hard to not drop every dime I have on this street. All I could think was, “let’s get some shoes!” The options are just endless! There are also plenty of patios to sit on and enjoy the atmosphere along with a cocktail, meal, or dessert. Be sure to check out the side streets off of Calle Triana as well! Since it is so close to the old city, you can also plan to head to other nearby attractions. Some of these include the Casa de Colón museum, Mercado de Vegueta, which is the oldest market in the city, and Catedral de Santa Ana. Luckily there is no shortage of great places to eat on Gran Canaria! If anything, the hardest part about eating will be deciding where to ConnextionsMagazine.com

go. One of my favorite places we ate at was Casa Montesdeoca, located dangerously close to Calle Triana. Here you can get a perfectly prepared and beautifully presented multiple course lunch, which includes wine and dessert, for just €25. My personal favorite from this meal was the octopus prepared with apple and leek. Another experience one cannot miss while in Gran Canaria is tapas! There is nothing better than sitting out on a patio with tapas coming one after the other and a cerveza to wash it down. My recommendation is anything seafood. Let us not forget paella… beautiful, aromatic, and delicious paella. My recommendation is to avoid touristy locations, apparently if you end up in a tourist trap, you will get less meat, more rice, and lower quality ingredients. For a more authentic interpretation, go off the beaten track. Whether you are exploring the terrain, relaxing on the beach, or shopping, you will find your happy place. I encourage you to go on an excursion to this beautiful, wild, and serene island. The beaches, mountains, wineries, shops, and restaurants are there everyday. The only thing missing is you!

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THE WORLD’S TOP LGBTQ TRAVEL EXPERTS OPEN UP AND SHARE THEIR SECRETS! We searched far and near for the TOP LGBTQ Travel Writers and Bloggers and we captured a magical and unforgettable moment in time. These interviews aim to shine a light on the experts’ backgrounds and secrets to provide you with their travel knowledge. Capitoline Temple in Volubilis, Morocco Photo by: David Perry

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Capturing Your Love David Duran

Connextions Magazine catches up with Gay Travel Expert, David Duran, or Double D as our Editor lovingly calls him. David is getting ready to attend a press conference at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa. Besides being a Gay Travel Expert and Featured Writer for our magazine and many others, David also writes about HIV issues and is in South Africa representing three national publications. Connextions Magazine (CM): Tell our readers about your background and what it was like growing up being your fabulous-self? David Duran (DD): I am Latino, from a Cuban mother and a Bolivian father, and thanks to my work, I’ve been able to travel to both countries to explore where I came from. Growing up in Southern California, in Orange Country, a well-to-do conservative region, I grew up having pretty much everything I needed. My family was always able to

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provide for us and give us opportunities that others may not have experienced. We began traveling overseas when my sister and I were young and I started traveling to South America to visit family in Bolivia at age 11, traveling alone I might add, which possibly led to my addiction to being up in the air. I came out around the age of 20 to a few close friends and came out to my family about a year later. Thinking back now, that seems like so long ago and I can’t even begin to think about how different of a man I am now compared to then. CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? DD: I’ve always had the travel bug and have loved exploring my own country and then the world. I didn’t really plan on being a travel writer. I was working as a news reporter and also writing about entertainment and health topics when it kind of

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Travel Experts: David Duran

all just came together for me and I was fortunate enough to make it all work out. It wasn’t until 2012 that I shifted focus from news reporting to become a travel writer, and that came to be when I was asked to go on a press trip and I met other travel writers who guided me and gave me the courage to ditch my then current gig to freelance travel write full time. Of course, in the start when I decided to quit my full time job and focus on freelancing, I had so many doubts and fears but luckily, I was well connected within the publishing world due to my current work, so I already had a lot of the contacts established and the credibility as a journalist and writer. CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? DD: Where haven’t I been? Kidding, I still feel like I haven’t seen as much as I’d like to. I think my

country count is in the high 50’s right now and by the end of this year, I will have been to all 7 continents, as I bring in the New Year on a small ship in Antarctica. I have too many favorites spots on earth but if I had to list a few, they would be Maui, Czech Republic, Cuba and Australia. CM: What is your process of picking the places that you will visit? DD: I am fortunate in my career to now be able to decide where I want to go. I’m inundated with options each week and wonderful offers that I have to sadly decline due to over scheduling. At the start of each year, I try and map out my plans for the year and prefer to book at least 4 months in advance. This year, my goal was to go further and take longer trips vs. taking loads of smaller trips. CM: Where do you call home? DD: That’s a loaded question. I currently live between Phoenix, LA and NYC but really, my mail


Travel Experts: David Duran

should be sent to the airport, as that’s where I truly spend most of my time.

CM: As a gay traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? DD: Depending on where you are going, take the time to learn about the destination and the laws. It’s easy to get caught up in our American privilege, but each destination is different and the laws that protect us here at home, do not apply overseas. I always just say that it’s best to respect differences and adapt to where you are, while still being you. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? DD: I’ve learned to be a solo traveler, and I am not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. Every now and then, I bring friends or family with me on trips and I love that because it’s fun to share my experiences with others, but mostly, I prefer to be alone. CM: Besides your passport, what is the one thing you always take with you on your adventures? DD: Sleeping pills? I know that sounds awful, but with all the time zone changes I encounter each week, regulating my sleep is vital. That being said, I only use over the counter pills, so stop judging me. CM: Name any awards/nominations/accolades/ mentions received. DD: My mom tells me I am amazing, does that count? Last year, I was awarded “best content producer” by the Tourism of Argentina and a few weeks ago, my Instagram account was featured as a top account to follow by NEXT Magazine. I don’t really focus on all that stuff as it’s not my main intention with my work, instead I prefer to tell stories, and allow others to live through my words and hopefully inspire people to travel. CM: Do you consider travel-writing your career? DD: Absolutely, travel writing and writing, is my

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career. I don’t know many people that do this full time and those of us who do, are mostly insane because it’s a constant hustle, but I love it. CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? DD: There are so many places that I am dying to get to and I will. Right now, I am fascinated with Iran and Russia. Both places are literally the worst for LGBT travelers, but something about the news writer in me gets me excited about being in forbidden lands. CM: If you couldn’t travel what would you do? DD: Dream of traveling? I can’t imagine a life without constant exploration, so I would most likely be miserable in some type of desk job. CM: Any words of wisdom for people looking to follow in your steps? DD: Know how to write. People always tell me they wish they could have my job and want to do what I do, and I always quickly follow up by asking, “how much do you love to write, and are you any good?” It’s very easy to get lost in photos and social media posts I make and think that my life is all about traveling, but then quickly forget that beyond that, I am writing on airplanes, in hotel rooms and am constantly corresponding back and forth securing trips, setting up experiences and hunting down paychecks. If you have ever wanted to travel or experience a destination, do it. I think at times that people are too concerned about taking risks and spending money on travel, but if you do it right, what you get out of it will last a lifetime. Connext with David Duran: David’s online portfolio: https://mrdavidduran.contently.com/ Follow David on social media channels: @MrDavidDuran

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“I always knew I wanted to travel but never imagined I could do it for a living.� David Duran


Capturing Your Love High Heels

Abroad

While sipping on a glass of Rose, Connextions Magazine Travel Lite Expert, Ross Christianson, put his glass to the side for a few minutes to sit down and tell us all about his High Heels Abroad project! Connextions Magazine (CM): What’s your ethnic background? Ross Christianson (RC): My family’s ethnic background is a whole slew of European countries. Primarily English, German, Swiss, some Polish, and beyond. CM: Tell us a bit about yourself. RC: I grew up in a small town called Cornell in Wisconsin, USA. There were only 1,400 people in Cornell, and the nearest city of 50,000 was an hour away. It was at least a couple hours to anything larger than that. Living in a small and rural town was fun growing up. There are definitely a lot of things to do outside and it is a nature lover’s paradise. I appreciate what the area has to offer,

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but I am more of a city type. In terms of growing up in a rural area as a young gay person, it was very crippling. I had never met an openly gay person until I had gone off to university. As a result, I didn’t even come out to myself until I was 20 years old! Crazy right!? Well now here I am all these years later strutting around the world in heels and I think it is safe to say I have come a long way since. (He flashes the biggest smile full of pride!) I came out on Spring Break during my first year of university. I was driving home to my parent’s house and came to a point where I had to choose between either continue to suppress and mentally harm myself or accept who I truly am inside. It all seems kind of silly now to have lied to myself and those around me for all that time. I think growing up in a small town had a lot to do with that.

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Travel Experts: High Heels Abroad CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? RC: I started traveling internationally through my alma mater, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. I was part of the 300 member marching Blugold Marching Band, which went on bi-annual international trips. I went on three trips with the marching band. The first two were to Europe and the third trip was to Japan and Southeast Asia. I also spent a semester studying abroad in Graz, Austria. After all of this traveling I had successfully caught the travel bug, and there really is no cure. After university, I went on a trip of my own to Europe to retrace steps and see some new sights. While on this trip I had the intention to start writing, but no outlet. Seemingly by fate, I was connected with Manny (Editor In Chief) from Connextions Magazine and he has been there all along the way helping me get on my travel writing heels.

CM: Ross, you know that I think you are amazing and I feel like a very Proud Papa Bear, so explain to us how did High Heels Abroad come about. RC: When I came up with High Heels Abroad, I felt like nothing has ever made more sense to me. It was absolutely what I have always wanted. I have always had the pieces to the puzzle, but this was the first time that I put the puzzle together. I immediately was racking my brain for ideas, built my website, and here we are today. CM: And the world needs High Heel’s point of view! So tell us, where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? RC: I have traveled to nearly 30 countries up to this point, spanning 3 continents. I have many favorite spots on earth for different reasons, but I think right now I would say that if I could go back to one place, it would be the beaches of Thailand. I generally pick where I want to visit based off a


Travel Experts: High Heels Abroad

few factors: places where I know people, places I have never been, places I can fly to cheaply, places that are in season for travel, etc. There are many factors, but I think this can be one of the most exciting parts of the trip planning process.

CM: Where do you call home? RC: Well, I will always call my parent’s house home, but Minneapolis is my other home for the moment. I am moving to Chicago in September, so that’s where I will be when you are reading this! CM: As a gay traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? RC: Gays always find a way to have fun. Be smart, be wise, be safe, and ALWAYS push your boundaries. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? RC: I like to travel alone, hopping around to visit friends. I think it is easier. I am a very autonomous person, and I like making decisions on my own. When I go to Europe, I have three friends that I HAVE to visit in order to feel right. This last time around, visiting them led me to Jerusalem, Valencia, and

London. Never forget your camera! It’s a must. CM: Do you consider travel-writing your career? RC: Serving is how I make money, and travel writing is my joy. I would love to see travel writing take a bigger part of my career as the years go by. CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? RC: Machu Picchu. I have only heard amazing things and I know I would feel completely overwhelmed by just being there. CM: If you couldn’t travel what would you do? RC: Be a drag queen, duh! CM: Any words of wisdom for people looking to follow in your steps? RC: Oh my gosh, do what you want and have fun! Money is the only obstacle. Make it work baby and don’t fuck it up! Connext with High Heels Abroad: Website: HighHeelsAbroad.com Instagram & Facebook: @HighHeelsAbroad


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Capturing Your Love Globetrotter

Girls

We connext with Dani Heinrich co-creator of Globetrotter Girls while she’s working on an article about Cannes. Connextions Magazine (CM): What’s your ethnic background? Globetrotter Girls (GG): I was born and raised in Germany. I grew up in East Germany – behind a wall, literally. I remember how trapped my mother used to feel. She started traveling around Europe as soon as the wall came down and infested me with the travel bug while I was still in kid. The younger years, in East Germany, were pretty dull, but once the wall came down, all of a sudden there were things like video games, movies, MTV, youth magazines, fashionable clothes, exotic fruits, ethnic food...so many things that we didn’t have access to before and that made the lives of me and my friends so much more exciting. CM: When did you come out?

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GG: I came out when I was 19. I tried to date a few boys, but never truly enjoyed it. At 19, I fell in love with a girl, and whoom, all of a sudden I knew what being in love meant. CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? GG: I was 29 when I decided to quit my corporate job and travel the world with my girlfriend at the time. She suggested we’d start a blog to showcase her writing and my photography – little did we know back then how many people’s lives we’d end up influencing with our travel stories. I wanted to see the world, as simple as that. My job in London restricted me two weeks’ vacation at a time (albeit five weeks in total, much more than most Americans get), and there was just no point to get on a plane to India or South America for such a short amount of time. I wanted to see so many places – Machu Picchu, Angkor Wat, the Thai islands, the National Parks in the southwest

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of the US, Mayan ruins across Central America… It started off with the idea to take a 1-year sabbatical to go travel. I loved traveling so much that one year turned into two, two into three..and now I’ve been nomadic for over 6 years! My biggest worry in the beginning was how we would get from place to place, especially after leaving the U.S., where we had started our travels. How would we traverse Mexico and Central America. But once you start you realize that public transportation networks exist everywhere and that there are so many travelers out there, doing exactly what you’re doing. This path was never planned – the idea to quit my job to go travel was a pretty spontaneous one. I was 29, felt unsettled, needed a break from my stressful job and felt like I hadn’t seen much of the world yet. In the UK it is quite common to take a career break around the age I was at, and I was

incredibly lucky that my boss at the time supported my decision. CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? GG: I’ve been to roughly 60 countries. I traveled around Europe, Asia, South and North America. The entire African continent as well as Australia and New Zealand are still missing, but I enjoy taking my time, I’m not in a rush. My favorite countries are Thailand, Cambodia, Guatemala and Mexico. But I also love Italy, Colombia and Sri Lanka. I guess it’s hard to pick a favorite place – I love so many places I’ve visited, and all for different reasons. India for the food, for example, Thailand for the beaches, Guatemala for the culture, Cambodia for the people. The list is long! In short: I follow the sun. However, somehow I ended up visiting Sweden in the thick of winter, so I guess it’s not always entirely true. I usually tend to spend the winter months in warmer regions though, like Latin


Travel Experts: Globetrotter Girls

America or South East Asia.

CM: Where do you call home? GG: New York City is where I’ve spent the most time in the past 6.5 years, and where my biggest social circle is. So I guess that’s what it’s closest to an actual home. However, I haven’t had a permanent address since February 2010. CM: As a Lesbian traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? GG: Don’t be afraid. People are much more open-minded than you think. I’ve seen more same-sex PDAs in Mexico than in New York for example. The transgender culture in Thailand is miles ahead of most Western countries. Yes, there are still countries where homosexuality is illegal, but most countries are pretty accepting of same-sex couples. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? GG: I love to share – especially when I am experiencing something truly mind-blowing, like swimming with sharks, a sunset on top of a volcano, a jungle trek or climbing a glacier. So ideally, I travel with a significant other, but I also enjoy traveling with friends. CM: Besides your passport, what is the one thing you always take with you on your adventures? GG: My iPhone. It’s what I use to share my adventures with others via Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and Facebook… I can’t see myself traveling without it! CM: Do you consider travel-writing your career? GG: Travel writing would be my dream career. My website Globetrottergirls is always featured in several Top 100 Travel Bloggers listings. I was featured in Lonely Planet as an LGBT traveler. I was featured in Germany’s biggest women’s magazine, among other publications, but until I haven’t been published in a major travel publication, I wouldn’t dare calling myself that.

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I would prefer the term travel influencer, and mainly I’m a travel blogger of course. Making this into a successful career takes a lot of persistence, patience and stamina though, and I am proud to see how far I’ve come with it, considering I’d never even read a blog before we launched Globetrottergirls, or written a travel article. CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? GG: Africa – I am itching to go to Kenya, South Africa, Namibia, Egypt and Morocco, but I know that while I’m there, I’ll want to see the rest of the continent, too! I hope I’ll make it there soon. CM: If you couldn’t travel what would you do? GG: I would run a food blog and organize supper clubs (dining out of my own living room), ideally in New York City. Or I would run photography or food or street art tours… or all of the above. CM: Any words of wisdom for people looking to follow in your steps? GG: Just do it! I always say if I can do it, anyone can. Follow your dreams – life is too short to live a life that’s not fulfilling us. Traveling the world has been the most rewarding experience of my life. It changed my perspective on so many things, opened my horizon, opened me to dozens of new cultures, traditions, foods and customs. It changed my relationship to ‘materialism’ – now I am collecting experiences rather than things and find it so much more rewarding. Traveling enriches your life in more ways than you could possibly imagine. If you’re thinking about traveling the world, don’t wait much longer. Trust me, you won’t regret it! Connext with GlobetrotterGirls: Website: http://globetrottergirls.com Instagram: @globetrottergirls Facebook: @GlobetrottergirlsFanpage Snapchat: @mariposa2711

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“This path was never planned – the idea to quit my job to go travel was a pretty spontaneous one. I was 29, felt unsettled, needed a break from my stressful job and felt like I hadn’t seen much of the world yet.” Dani GlobeTrotterGirls Connextions Magazine - | TheHeinrich, Parent-HOOD! | June 2015


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Capturing Your Love David Perry

While finishing an article about Alec Mapa “America’s Favorite Gaysian!” on his journey to fatherhood with his husband, Jamie Hebert for Gayswithkids.com, Travel Writer David Perry sits with Connextions Magazine for a discussion about his life. Connextions Magazine (CM): What’s your ethnic background? David Perry (DP): Mutt. (As he flashes his signature sweet, yet flirtatious smile) My mom is part Scottish, and can trace her history back to 1066. That story is a roller-coaster ride through Northern European geopolitics. My dad’s side is equally rollicking, coming from a long line of Portuguese whalers who slept their way across the Pacific before putting down roots -- ahem -- in Honolulu. I tell people I have my father’s Portuguese skeleton wrapped up in my mother’s Scottish skin. CM: What was it like growing up for you?

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DP: I was the case-study of the unpopular, bullied, socially-inept kid. I was so far down the high school totem pole I don’t even think I registered. I knew I was gay at age 4, knew what a death-knell it would be in late-80’s Kennett Square, PA, and so for all of my teens I presented myself as sexless. I remember people being stunned when I showed up for prom with a date! The cat was out of the bag by the time the 10-year reunion rolled around, but everybody was again stunned to find out I was gay. I really had that sexless thing down pat. And I was voted “Most Changed!” Going from a scrawny runt to a body-builder probably had something to do with that, too. CM: So when did “the cat” come out? DP: That was actually a painfully prolonged period between the ages of 21 to 25. My brother couldn’t have cared less. My mom was another story. See, my father was gay and closeted to EVERYBODY. But he was a Baby Boomer. You grew up, went

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Travel Experts: David Perry to college, married a nice girl, got a house in the suburbs -- it’s just what the pre-Stonewall generation did. He followed that recipe to a T, was absolutely miserable, and took it out on anybody he could target. By the time the Sexual Revolution and Stonewall came around, he was already married and my brother had already been born. He was trapped. When my parents got divorced (finally), there was acrimony and venom for everybody! And I’ll be damned if as soon as my father became a free man, he didn’t go out and contract HIV and die of AIDS two years later. His life was a disaster, and it spread like a cancer to the rest of the family. My brother completely unspool when my father died. My mom had no reason to like gay men at all, because a gay man had for all practical intents and purposes shot her life to hell. I knew that if I came out to her, the anger and frustration she had towards my father would refocus on me. And I was right. That’s why I came out to her only after I was all the way over in Japan teaching English. I wanted a safe distance. She and I are chums now, almost ridiculously so, but there was a lousy 10 years to get through. We all come out on our own time, I get that. But if you think there’s no harm in staying a closet-case, boy, do I have a story for you... CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? DP: I was born in Japan and had lived in Iran before first grade. The travel bug bit me early. Travel became my professional “thing” about five years ago. I love traveling! It keeps my brain flexible. I’d live out of a suitcase if I could. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be some far corner of the globe; it can be anywhere. I just got back from New Haven, CT, which is hardly exotic, but I had a great time. Writing about travel makes good business sense, however. For a freelance journalist, it pays, literally, to be a generalist. The more I write, the more moolah I make. Travel, news, style, products, you name it, I’ll cover it. ConnextionsMagazine.com

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Travel Experts: David Perry

CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? DP: Twenty-eight countries and most of the American states. I have yet to hit Australia, South America, and Antarctica, but give me time! It’s a fool’s game for me to pick favorites, because every place has its unique pluses. But Wales and Morocco vie for the top spot. Originally, I traveled to get paid! But here’s the thing about travel writing: It is always good news. After a while, you just get tired of seeing/hearing/reading how awful things are. I am well aware of the negatives. But I have seen some of the most amazing people, cities, and landscapes on Earth. It is that beauty I like to focus on. Turns out, I was so good at the travel-writing thing that websites and publications began to publish me.

the hoo-ha I was going to do with all these extra images when along came Instagram and Twitter! I’ve furthered my “brand” thanks to inundating social media with pictures.

CM: Where do you call home? DP: New York City, baby! When you are a travel writer, it pays to be near a major airport.

CM: Any words of wisdom for people looking to follow in your steps? DP: Anybody with a computer and an opinion can call themselves a writer, so you MUST be a standout to begin with. Even before you find a market or publication, or even your “voice,” your spelling must be perfect, your grammar spot-on, your prose sparkling and show-me-don’t-tell-me. And I don’t just mean in an article, but in all social media, which you will be engaged in for at least three hours, all combined, a day. A travel writer is also expected to take photos, so get a semi-pro (at least) camera that takes high-res images and maybe take a class on composing a good shot. The modern travel writer is a jack of all trades: you have to find a location, successfully pitch it, write the piece, and provide A-class photos all at the same time. Every place is a destination to some place else, so don’t get to hung up over the fact you are going to the local farm festival and not on safari.

CM: As a gay traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? DP: RESEARCH. I am all for the romance and adventure of “winging it,” but LGBTQs have a different set of rules to play by anywhere outside the West. If you are going to London, get down with your gay self! But if Marrakech or Jakarta does it for you, it really pays to check out the lay of the land before you set foot on it. Even European locations like Poland or Czechia can get hairy. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? DP: Usually alone, or with one other person. There is less room to argue over where to go, or how long to stay in a particular spot. CM: Besides your passport, what is the one thing you always take with you on your adventures? DP: My DSLR camera. You can take 1000 photos of location, send 50 to a publication, and they use five. I end up with a ton of photos that never make it into a magazine or website. I was wondering what

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CM: Do you consider travel-writing your career? DP: I tell people I am a freelance journalist. Travel is one part of that. The best part! Certainly the most conspicuous. CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? DP: I’d love to do the Silk Road, from Xian to Istanbul. Camel or car, doesn’t matter. CM: If you couldn’t travel what would you do? DP: Probably want to travel! Maybe photography. Something creative.

Connext with David Perry:

His blog is perrytrails.wordpress.com Twitter: @GhastEald Instagram, Facebook, & Tumblr: @PerryTrails

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“I love traveling! It keeps my brain flexible. I’d live out of a suitcase if I could.” David Perry


Capturing Your Love My Normal Gay

Being a multitasker has its benefits. For example, we catch up with Jose Ramon Harvey of My Normal Gay Life and have a chat while he’s working on a number of projects, such as processing photos from his recent Barcelona trip, arranging some things for his upcoming trip to Ecuador, and sort of reading the latest news on his Facebook feed! Connextions Magazine (CM): What’s your ethnic background? Jose Ramon Harvey (JRH): I am American, for better or worst. However, my mother is of Irish descent and my father is of Mexican descent. CM: Tell us a bit about yourself. JRH: My childhood was not that fun, to be honest. I kind of had to start acting like an adult at a very young age, because my family was very poor and I am the oldest of my siblings. My father was actually a terrible man…very abusive. So I made sure that my brother and sister were always taken

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Life

care of while my parents worked. I came out when I was 18 years old during my freshman year of college. I came out to my family soon after that. I can definitely tell you that I never thought I would be where I am at this very moment. CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? JRH: Well, I decided to travel the world at a very young age mostly because I knew there had to be better places than my childhood home located in rural, North Carolina. Traveling the world came first though. When I met my (now) husband, we sort of decided travel is and was a priority for us. So we travel as much as we can. About a year ago, I decided I wanted to present it to the world and My Normal Gay Life blog was born just a little over a year ago. Well, I came up with the idea for my blog because Alfred and I were about to be married. I thought it

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Travel Experts: My Normal Gay Life

would be cool to show the world what a married gay couple’s life looks like in an effort to sort of demonstrate “our normalcy.” Really, a lot of people have questions about how gay relationships and gay marriages work. There isn’t too much difference between gay and heterosexual relationships, except we are a bit more fabulous, (he mischievously laughs). Anyway, I came up with the idea in response to the questions I kept getting asked. Travel just happened to be a big part of it.

When I started the blog I felt a great deal of fear because I decided to write the blog as an open book so to speak…not censoring even the more intimate aspects. I was afraid how people would accept it. But I still went ahead with my plans and I write about whatever happens to come to mind specifically involving travel. Though, as you can see from the blog, it isn’t all about travel. The focus is my life…travel is just a big part of it. I also felt a

bit worried about how other travel bloggers would see my blog. Would they not take me serious etc? But I’ve come to know quite a few travel bloggers and, for the most part, they’re fantastic people, extremely talented, and treat me with respect. In my mind, I thought, “what if the blog really takes off? How cool would that be?” And here we are... This is kind of funny but I was afraid of WordPress. It just seems like a behemoth of a program and was quite overwhelming. After a few days figuring it out, I have it under control. Another thing that I thought might be a limitation was my unwillingness to spend 6 months or longer in another country. I love my home, and dog, and husband (not in that order)…and being away from them for so long would drive me nuts. But I’ve learned that my blog and my audience doesn’t really require me being away that long. CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do


Travel Experts: My Normal Gay Life

you have a favorite spot on earth? JRH: Alright, so my travel experience is rather small compared to many of my fellow travel bloggers as of now…mostly because I never put much effort into heading out to too many new locations. But that is about to change. My husband and I have agreed the blog is something worth pursuing so starting next year I am upping my travel game. As of now, I’ve traveled extensively though the US (it’s a huge country) having visited just about all 50 states. I’ve also been to Mexico (Puerto Vallarta and Monterrey as well as some border towns), Canada (Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto, Banff), Italy (Rome, Vatican City), France ( Paris and Grenoble), Switzerland (Geneva, Zurich), Ireland (Road tripped across the country), Spain (Canary Islands & Barcelona)…My favorite cities so far are Barcelona and Zurich.

CM: Where do you call home? JRH: Home for me is Raleigh, NC. I love living here… so affordable and great weather. CM: As a gay traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? JRH: Some gay people and some gay bloggers might disagree, but I think it’s important to be yourself no matter what. However, you have to do this within reason. When we travel, we are visiting someone else’s home and we must abide by their rules whether we believe in those rules or not. That being said, safety is key. Local laws and customs can be against LGBT people in many countries, but that’s no reason to not experience that culture. Just be reasonable…and careful. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? JRH: I feel like it’s a little of both. When I travel alone, I have more time to think and sometimes that’s not necessarily a good thing. But I also can explore the way I’d like to explore and not worry about what anyone else wants to do. That’s always fun. The mind has the time to really process things without

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too many distractions and being alone can offer a whole different perspective. However, traveling with other people is pretty great because you look out for one another and share in the adventure. My favorite person to travel with is my husband. We just have a pretty good dynamic when we head out into the world together. Traveling with a larger group can be fun too because it’s like a big party! CM: Besides your passport, what is the one thing you always take with you on your adventures? JRH: My phone. I’m a blogger and I need to have my phone on me to be able to instantly update all my social media accounts like SnapChat, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. My phone also provides me with a camera, quick translation and information look up, the ability to call for help and has a tracker on it, a notebook…ya know, normal phone stuff these days. It’s invaluable. But the next thing I always take with me on adventures is my Nikon. CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? JRH: There is an entire world out there and I think it’s all worth exploring. We are about to visit the Galapagos Islands which is pretty high up on our travel list. Other than that, if I have to specific, I REALLY want to visit Mongolia. CM: If you couldn’t travel what would you do? JRH: If I were not currently blogging, I would probably work for the UN or the Department of State. That’s what my education has trained me to do. I would work for an NGO such USAID or UNICEF; the UN for the World Food Program, International Fund for Agricultural Development, or the Food and Agriculture Organization; or the Department of State. Connext with My Normal Gay Life: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & Snapchat: @MyNormalGayLife

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“I thought it would be cool to show the world what a married gay couple’s life looks like in an effort to sort of demonstrate our normalcy.” Jose Ramon Harvey


Letter To My Dad

Sebastian Duque is part of the Connextions Magazine family and he wrote this letter to his father. He asked us to publish it in the hopes that it will help others in similar situations to realize that no matter what life throws your way, YOU ARE NOT ALONE and YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE PEOPLE WHO LOVE YOU! Dad, it is a nice day for a walk in NYC. Hearing children in the park, the voices of tomorrow, the cars rushing up 10th Avenue not honking their way up as they normally would, which represent the chaos of a crowded city with more of some things and less of others. No fire trucks rushing to respond to an emergency, and no rain in sight. It is a nice day for a walk in NYC. I too try to rush up 10th Avenue. Although I only have a very short two-block walk, I am concerned about making it home since with every step I take as I carry my work bag, I feel how my shoulders weigh more and my legs begin to weaken announcing they cannot hold the load I carry. My arms feel cold and I cannot move them anymore because my stiffed neck is paralyzing my body under the summer heat of the city that is as wonderful as it is cruel. As I walk, I replay your hurtful words in my mind. How very calmly you were able to express yourself about the way I live my life and judging the kind of person that I am. I have worked hard to be the person I am today dad, perhaps so you would feel free of responsibility or burden and can enjoy your life feeling proud of who I am. I know your life has been harsh and full of sacrifices, and I share that silent pain because I only have the utmost gratitude for everything you were able to do for me, despite of how lonely you were and how hard you had to work. Images of the people I love come to mind, and I feel the presence of the ones who left us too early as they fill my head with joyous moments. Your words begin to fade away and I begin to feel the love I am so grateful for, and also worked so hard for; the love from the rest of my family, the love from my friends, and the love from that special person who chose to love me back. And this is when I realized it…this is when I realized THAT this is what marks the difference between moving ahead with a heavy heart and weak legs even though every step of the way feels like stones are thrown at me as a punishment during a blizzard I did not get to prepare for…the difference between wanting to share more time with these people instead of taking one last breath and giving up. Dad, I have a good, happy, and healthy life. You helped me build a strong foundation that would help me navigate these moments of incredible sadness and to go through the world with my head held high and an open heart, even though with every fiber of my body I fight the urge to curl-up in a corner and let my sadness take over me. I cannot tell you what you want to hear, because I know better than to manipulate. I cannot speak your language, because I know better than to hide behind a book. I cannot share your pain, because I know better than to numb my own heart. I am not just a “maricon” dad, as you called me. I am a human being with emotions and dreams, just like you, as much as you may recent that. It is nice out in NYC today dad, and I feel at peace with myself. I hope you can say the same for that is the only thing I can wish for you. Your Son, Sebastian

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The Photographer’s Portrait

LET’S STAND WITH AMERICA’S NEXT GENERATION, SO THEY CAN STAND ON THEIR OWN. In America, it is estimated that up to 1.6 million youth are homeless each year. Up to 40% of them identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT). Yet, just 7% of the general youth population identifies as LGBT. The True Colors Fund is working to reduce that disproportionate percentage from 40% to none. Visit www.truecolorsfund.org to learn how you can make a difference.

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Capturing YourBoys Love Nomadic

We catch up with the Nomadic Boys during a very rare downtime for them. They are getting ready for a Latin America trip and are spending some time with their families, for Stefan it’s London and Sebastien in Lyon. Stefan is Greek born and raised in London and Sebastien is French. And this traveling pair will be heading to Argentina and take part in the G360 Conference in Buenos Aires, which will be the start of their 18 months trip across the continent. Connextions Magazine (CM): We know you guys have a great sense of humor and a loving relationship, can you tell us a bit more that we may not yet know about yourselves. Nomadic Boys (NB): I (Stefan) grew up in a very religious, traditional Greek Cypriot environment where homosexuality is seen as a huge sin, so I was extremely repressed until I was 20, when there was a Brazilian boy in the bath tub in Earls Court on Valentine’s Day and the rest is history. For

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Sebastien his family is far more open minded and accepting. He was a naughty boy from a much younger age, about 14! (Stefan says with a proud smile) CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? NB: We have always loved traveling. Sebastien left France at an early age and moved to London. I did a lot of independent traveling in my younger years, inter railing in Europe and then backpacking in South America. Throughout our relationship of 7 years, we’ve really enjoyed traveling but craved for something more long terms. So after many years of planning and saving, we left everything in London in 2014 and traveled around Asia for 18 months. We decided to visit Asia because of the food. It turned into one massive food orgy across the continent. When you truly want something, there are never

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any limitations. In our case, we had moved in together in our London flat and had very secure 9-5 jobs. We had “settled down,� but eventually grew bored with this and were always craving to travel extensively and develop a way of working online so we could be based everywhere. Sebastien is the IT geek and works extensively with SEO, so as long as he has internet, he can be based anywhere. I am a lawyer qualified in England, so my skills set are not as transferable. However the Nomadic Boys blog has enabled us to develop a new means of making a living, as long as there is internet access.

We are gay couple, Stefan and Sebastien, and we have been traveling the world together since 2014 after leaving our lives in London. We created our blog as a platform to record our romantic adventures, write about the different gay scenes and of course, our culinary discoveries. As a result, over the past 2 years, our blog gained a

great deal of popularity, particularly in the gay community. We started to collaborate with hotel brands, tourism boards and speak at conferences to promote gay travel. CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? NB: I have been to almost 70 and to every continent except Antarctica. That is his dream and top of his bucket list. My favorite will always be my home city, London, as a proud Londoner. But otherwise Barcelona and Buenos Aires. I also love the Philippines a lot – island paradise everywhere and amazing scuba diving. Sebastien has been to almost 50 countries in North America, Europe and Asia. He has not yet been to Antarctica either, Africa nor Latin America, so our big trip there will be a first for him. Sebastien was blown away by the scenery in Nepal and Mongolia and loved the underwater world of the Komodo National Park in Indonesia.


Travel Experts: Nomadic Boys

We both love traveling and craved to do it long term. We grew to love this style of traveling, whereby you base yourself somewhere long term in a place where you can not only live and work, but visit at the same time. Traveling this way, for us, is also better on the budget and allows you to truly see a place instead of just passing through it.

CM: As gay travelers, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? NB: Do not avoid visiting a place simply because of anti-gay laws. We feel strongly that this is an unproductive way of thinking. The best thing is to get out to places like the Maldives, Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc. Obviously we don’t go there waving rainbow flags – we’re respectful and conservative about public displays of affection, as are the general population in such countries. But actually going there and making it a point to seek out the LGBT businesses, you are really supporting them. Not only are you an inspiration as a happy out gay man, but the money you spend helps support them in a society which is likely to be quite hostile towards them. By boycotting such countries “why should I spend my money in a country that wants to throw me in jail” these local businesses are actually the ones who will suffer from this way of thinking. Tourism money goes to them, not the government who makes the anti-gay laws. Also, checking into a hotel in say Penang, the hotel staff with who you have to explain you do not in fact want a double bed will start to learn what “gay” truly is and see that we are not what their society perceives us to be. This form of education will slowly filter down back to their friends and family. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? NB: We are both extroverts and love being around people. We absolutely adore being with each other and even more so with a group of friends.

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Everyone needs their me time once in a while, but for us not too much me-time! For every place we visit, we like to make local gay friends to experience the culture and gay scene from their perspective. We also try wherever possible to seek out and support local LGBT businesses, which is particularly important in countries with anti-gay laws in place. CM: Do you consider travel-writing your career? NB: Nomadic Boys has grown exponentially over the past few years to become more than our career – it’s our baby. But it’s not just about travel writing. Having a successful blog requires you to also be a SEO expert, savvy editor, extremely skilled networker, creative with your graphics and lots of IT knowledge needed as well. The key to it being successful is passion. We loved our 9-5 office jobs before, but they were just a comfortable way of existing to get the bills paid. We weren’t passionate about them and got bored of them. Our Nomadic Boys blog is our baby which we nurture and have loved watching it evolve over the past few years. Nomadic Boys has now evolved to become our full time job…well, more than that – it is one of the best things to have come out from our relationship. CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? NB: For Sebastien it’s a road trip across the States. For me, on the other hand, I dream of a fairy tale wedding ceremony in Antarctica with the penguins. CM: If you couldn’t travel what would you do? NB: I would teach and Sebastien would apply to be one of Beyonce’s dancers. Connext with Nomadic Boys: Our Blog: http://nomadicboys.com Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest: @nomadicboys Youtube: channel/UC99ODSH8UaA1JAIrQmxXTig

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Capturing Love Travels Your of Adam

Adam Groffman took a leap of faith in 2010 when he decided to quit his 9-5 in Boston and venture out on a trip around the world. Connextions Magazine (CM): Tell us a bit about yourself. Adam Groffman (AG): I grew up in Texas – in a suburb of Dallas-Fort Worth. At the time, I really didn’t enjoy living in Texas – my family had come from New England but I lived most of my life in Texas…and I just never felt that I fit in there. So when I turned 18 and was going to college, my plan was to go as far away as possible and that’s

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how I ended up in Boston. These days, I return to Texas pretty regularly to visit family and friends, and the place has grown on me as I’ve seen Dallas change to a more open and friendly place. CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? AG: In 2009, I was working full-time and with my two weeks holiday, I just never had the time to take any real holidays – so when a friend suggested going to Iceland for the weekend, I jumped at the opportunity. We didn’t have holiday time so literally left after work on Friday and returned

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Travel Experts: Travels of Adam

Monday on the Labor Day holiday weekend.

The whirlwind trip really opened my eyes to how much more of the world there was, so I vowed to travel more. I started saving my money and planned to get an international job transfer through my company as a book designer. I spent 9 months saving and trying to get a job abroad, but ultimately I realized if I wanted to go abroad – I was going to have to just dive right in and do it. I quit my job and left to travel the world with a backpack, $20,000 in savings and a willingness to try new things. I read Rolf Potts’ book Vagabonding before traveling and that helped to settle a lot of my fears. It also helped that both my dad and my older sister had taken similar gap years when they were each my age – we’ve always been a family travelers and even though I wasn’t expecting

to do the same, somehow I found myself on the same path. CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? AG: I’ve traveled a bit around the USA, but living in Europe for the past 5 years, I’ve done a lot more traveling over here. On my 15-month trip around the world, I visited Spain, Morocco, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, India, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam before returning to Europe for a summer of travel before settling in Berlin, Germany. I’d be crazy to say Berlin isn’t my favorite place – I came here on a Eurotrip just planning to stay for a week, and five years later…. Well I’m still here! Adam loves Berlin so much, that besides making it his home, he created this great gay guide: http://travelsofadam.com/city-guides/ berlin


Travel Experts: Travels of Adam I find travel inspiration everywhere – in movies, books, magazines – but mostly from what I hear from friends or others. I came to Berlin for the first time after several people I’d met told me what a great city was – and they were right! Money is also a big factor in choosing where I travel – whether it’s cheap and easy to get to. But to be a ‘full-time’ traveler was never a part of the plan! Even now, I try to stay grounded and settled in Berlin with the frequent getaway. CM: As a gay traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? AG: Traveling as a gay guy doesn’t have to be hard or scary – there are always other LGBT travelers out there, or LGBT locals, it’s just a matter of finding them. For more of my tips, check out my gay travel tips on NomadicMatt.com. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? AG: There are advantages and disadvantages of both and I tend to travel any which way I can. Usually I’m traveling solo or on the occasional trip with my boyfriend, but a holiday with a group of friends is also a lot of fun – I do it all!

Travels of Adam is the largest LGBT travel blog on the internet, with over 200,000 visitors each month and almost 20,000 email subscribers who receive each blog update. The site has been online since 2009. Travels of Adam has been named one of the 10 best websites for 2016 (2016, WirtschaftsWoche), one of the 7 best travelers to follow on Instagram (2014, Yahoo! Travel), was a finalist for the Best LGBT Blog (2013, Bloggies Award) and syndicates select content to additional news sites. Adam’s popular series of hipster city guides are globally recognized as a top resource for “hipster holidays” (2015, World Travel Market study). The website has been featured in The Guardian, Metro Newspapers (UK, USA), AFAR.com, Buzzfeed, The Scotsman, Wired Magazine, YNet News, Men’s Health Magazine, Business Insider, Vogue Magazine (Italia), Cosmopolitan Magazine (Slovenia), ELLE Magazine (España), Conde Nast Traveller (España), The Huffington Post and Die Berliner Zeitung among many others.

CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? AG: I haven’t traveled much of Latin America and that’s a region of the world I really want to explore more!

CM: Any words of wisdom for people looking to follow in your steps? AG: Traveling is one of the most rewarding life experiences – it can open your eyes to new things and new places, but you also get to learn and discover more about our world. It’s a really fantastic experience and while money can and sometimes is an issue for traveling, it’s also about the mindset. If you want to travel, find a way – it’s not as hard or scary as it might seem.

CM: Do you consider Travel Writing your career? AG: Yes – with the Travels of Adam audience so large and varied, I’ve managed to make a living out of blogging. I also work as a freelance writer contributing stories to other publications about Germany, LGBT travel, festivals and city destinations around the world.

Connext with Travels of Adam: I’m most silly on Twitter and most… hmmm... graphic… on Snapchat Blog: http://travelsofadam.com/blog Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat: @travelsofadam YouTube.com/user/travelsofadam

CM: Besides your passport, what is the one thing you always take with you on your adventures? AG: My phone! I’m pretty addicted to Twitter

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Capturing Your Love

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The Photographer’s Portrait

Your What, When & Where For NYC LGBTQ Events, Arts, Entertainment, Culture & More!

NYCUpAndOut.com ConnextionsMagazine.com

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Capturing Your Love

Manny Velasquez-Paredes LGBTQ Family

“We went in as individuals and came out as a family unit,” is what our Editor In Chief, Manny Velasquez-Paredes says about the recent adoption of their two kids, who are now 6 and 8. Manny and his soon to be husband, Jose, met in 2004 and started traveling the world together. In 2011, the couple became Domestic Partners right before New York, where the couple resides, approved Marriage Equality, and started to plan their wedding, only to put plans on hold because they welcomed 2 children into their lives. At the time, the kids were 13 months old and 3 years old. Since then, Manny has been sharing his travel stories with Connextions Magazine, The Handsome Father and other magazines as an LGBTQ Family.

information that is helpful,” says MVP, as he is known.

“We have many different circumstances and issues that different-sex couples do not face and there are others issues that all parents face equally. So it is important for our community to understand those differences and hopefully we are providing

Connextions Magazine (CM): What is your ethnic background? Manny Velasquez-Paredes (MVP): I am a mutt! I was born in Peru, from my birth father’s side I have Chinese and Peruvian blood and on my mother’s

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We believe he is providing great information and the Association of LGBTQ Journalists NLGJA agrees with us, as they recently announced he will be receiving the 2016 Excellence in Travel Writing Award, which will be awarded on September 8 - 11 at the National Convention & LGBT Media Summit taking place in South Beach, Florida. The Excellence in Journalism Awards reward innovative and quality work done by journalists covering LGBT issues, and this is the first year the Travel category has been recognized, so we are extremely proud of our Editor!

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side I have Italian and Spaniard blood.

CM: What was it like growing up for you? MVP: I left Peru as a child, I was only 9 when my birth father committed suicide and my mother decided to travel to the United States to take us away from all of that drama. She remarried when I was about 12 or 13 and her new husband became my Dad. During my early years, my mother was always there, as my birth father was basically non-existent in my life. So I learned to be a man and father thanks to my Mom and Dad. Coming out was an interesting time for me. One day, I was leaving my job and my boyfriend at the time, came to pick me up so we could go out to dinner and clubbing. So, of course I had to go home to shower and change, so he came along for the ride – oh boy! I walked into my parents’ house, where I was renting a room at the time, and my boyfriend came in with me. He knew I was still

in the closet, so I introduced him as a “friend.” My mother didn’t buy it. The next day, she called me at work crying and asked me who that man was who came to the house. So in essence, she outed me! I went home to face the music and ended up coming out, a couple of weeks later my mom dealt with her issues and we were back to our normal-loving relationship. As a matter of fact, my mom told me that my dad is the one who stepped in on my behalf to help her overcome any issues she may have faced. After that, we went to gay clubs together and she would even try to set me up with other guys after my boyfriend and I broke up and she helped me to rebuild my confidence. I am a proud mama’s-boy, she still helps me from heaven when I need her. CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? MVP: I traveled on a plane for the first time when I was 9. My mom took my sister and me to the US.


Travel Experts: LGBTQ Family

I didn’t have a chance to get on a plane again until I was in my early 20s when I went to Puerto Rico to visit my best friend. It was through him that I learned to love the travel experience, he had moved to different countries several times during his life. Eventually, I started writing for a local magazine in Florida, where I lived and when I moved to New York in 2003, I started to focus on my career and put writing aside. Eventually the itch to write and travel were bugging me so when I met Jose in 2004, I remember our first Christmas together I gave him a plane ticket to Las Vegas, which we used on our first Valentine’s Day. 12 years later, and countless of countries and continents later, we are still traveling the world, only we now do it with our children. We’ve been traveling with our kids since they joined our lives in 2011 and I’ve been documenting our experiences for Connextions Magazine, The Handsome Father blog and other magazines. I remember when we were single, we would seek out gay-friendly and romantic places. Jose loves history and I love photography, so we would seek places that had a lot of history attached to them, which was good for him and I would of course, photograph these places. But once we became parents, we traded the romantic dinners and gay clubs for family-friendly restaurants and kid-friendly adventures. We are big kids at heart, so it’s cool for us too. CM: As an LGBTQ traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? MVP: I am a firm believer in always being yourself, but always be aware of your surroundings. Try to tap into your intuition and try to feel out the locals and see whether or not it’s a welcoming place. The use of dating apps to meet locals is a great idea, it’s not just for hooking up. Just be careful when meeting others, make sure it’s in public places and that someone knows where you are at all times, have friends check-in on you even if virtually. ConnextionsMagazine.com

CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? MVP: I have traveled alone and with others. I remember when I was younger I traveled to Europe on my own and it was such a growing and maturing time for me, because I was able to get “lost” and live the adventures. I had very little connection with friends and family back home, but I did that on purpose. My mother had just passed away and it was my “get-away” from reality, so I needed to be alone with my thoughts and feelings and to feel completely alone, in order to realize that I was strong enough to make it on my own. I remember not having anyone to talk to in France because I didn’t know anyone, thankfully I speak some French, and I was able to get around. When I went to Italy, I relied on friends to get me around and communicate. Years later, I went back to France and London, but this time was to study and it was a much different experience. Now, traveling without my family is unthinkable. As a Travel Writer, I get invited to lots of places to visit and it’s great because sometimes they want my family to experience all of the events, so my kids have been traveling since they were very young and hopefully it’s something they’ll continue to enjoy as they grow up. CM: Name any awards received. MVP: I feel I am blessed. I love what I do and to be recognized for it is just icing on the cake. Connextions Magazine has received several awards and I am extremely thrilled of everything we have accomplished in such a hard industry. Publishing is considered by many to be a “dying” trade, I hope not! Hopefully, we are just morphing into other venues, and trying to utilize all of the technical advances we have available. For example, we are now using videos in our magazine, which is a huge step forward for the digital publishing industry. We have been recognized for our diversity and inclusion efforts, which is a dream, because we are one of the very few gay media outlets who

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Travel Experts: Manny Velasquez-Paredes

are covering the entire LGBTQ community. Most gay media outlets focus on one segment of our population, usually the 18-25 gay male, party crowd, which is perfectly fine, but we are so much more than just group. We cover people of all ages, different “tribes,” we even cover LGBTQ families. It’s really what sets us apart.

CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet visited? MVP: I love the Olympics, and was not able to go to Brazil for the Summer Olympics, but would love to go to Korea maybe for the 2018 Winter Olympics or Tokyo for the Summer 2020 Olympics. That would just be heaven for me.

Personally, I was just awarded the NLGJA Excellence in Travel Writing award, which is simply amazing. I mean, I travel – live new adventures and report on them, and I am getting acknowledged for that – it’s a dream job.

Connext with our LGBTQ Family: Website: http://ConnextionsMagazine.com Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Moovz, YouTube, GPlus, LinkedIn, Snapchat: @ConnextionsMag

Connextions Magazine readers receive savings of up to $1000 off cabins 54

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Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols The Photographer’s Portrait Out and Around

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Capturing Your Love

Jenni Chang and Lisa Dazols met in 2007 on a seven-day bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The AIDS Life Cycle as this event is called occurs yearly to raise money to combat HIV/AIDS. Jenni’s parents are natives of Taiwan, and Jenni is from Illinois. Lisa’s mother was born in the Philippines and then immigrated to the US at the tender age of 9. Her father is French-Italian. Jenni says she wanted to travel around the world for a long time, and when the couple started dating she knew she had found “the right partner for the journey. I don’t remember this, but she tells me that I asked her to travel the world with me after the fourth date! But rather than spend a year being tourists, we wanted to use our trip to make a difference in the world. We started Out and Around to strengthen our LGBT community by sharing our experience of world travel as a lesbian couple while meeting queer individuals across the globe.” ConnextionsMagazine.com

They actually decided to travel the world in the search of the “Supergays,” which is the term they created for members of the LGBTQ community who are doing extraordinary things in their community regardless of their gay-friendly environments, or lack thereof. Supergays may be directly involved in community organizations, or they may be using their influence in politics, health, arts, entertainment, or business to raise awareness and make progress on gay issues. The couple quit their jobs to travel the world and record their trips. At first, their web videos were meant to tell the stories of the “Supergays.” 120 hours of footage featuring 55 interviews later, had taken a life of its own and became the documentary: Out and Around, which was presented by LOGO in August 2015. Connextions Magazine (CM): Where in the world have you traveled? Out And Around (O&A): We traveled to 15

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Travel Experts: Out And Around

countries in one year: Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Cambodia, Taiwan, China, India, Nepal, Tanzania, Kenya, Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Peru. Our favorite place was probably Boracay, where Jenni proposed to Lisa.

Connextions Magazine (CM): How did you go about the process of picking the places to visit? O&A: We used four criteria to chose our itinerary… Places where the LGBT movement is just starting to take shape. We were interested in documenting queer life in societies where LGBT awareness is still nascent. Our goal was to find the brave souls who are leading the charge for gay rights and tell their stories. Places where we speak the language. Luckily for us, Lisa is fluent in Spanish and Jenni is fluent in Chinese, and we both of course speak English. Places where our dollar stretches far. This meant

we traveled almost exclusively in developing countries. Places where we have existing personal connections. We returned to a few places where we already had friendships from previous travels. We also visit places where we have family, such as Australia, the Philippines and Taiwan. Jenni and Lisa were named Top Significant Queer Women of 2012. Jenni was also named a “Hero of the 500s” by Fortune Magazine. The couple’s TED talk has also been viewed over 1.3 million times. And their documentary Out and Around, which has been featured in movie festivals around the world, can now be purchased or downloaded through their website, where you can also learn more about the couple and the newest member of their family, their daughter Charlie, who was born in March 2016. www.OutandAround.com


The Photographer’s Portrait

United States - United Kingdom - Canada - Brazil - Germany - Kenya - Indonesia - China - Russia - France - Japan - Italy - Netherlands - Australia - Spain - South Korea - Mexico - Turkey - India - Philippines - South Africa - Pa-

Thank You

kistan - Malaysia - Poland - Argentina - Belgium - Sweden - Finland - Norway - Denmark - Israel - Taiwan - Singapore - Thailand - Portugal - Ukraine - Algeria - Ireland - Austria - Switzerland - Vietnam Puerto Rico - VenezuBecause of- YOU

ela - Romania - Bangladesh - Czech Republic - Egypt Connextions Magazine

Colombia Greece -&Peru - Estonia -Magazine Hong Kong - Saudi the -Travel Lifestyle Arabia - Slovenia - United Arab Emirates - Chile - Latvia continues to celebrate

the LGBTQ Traveler!

- Yemen - Sri Lanka - Nigeria - New Zealand - Hungary - Iran - Lebanon - Morocco - Qatar - Serbia - Bulgaria Côte d’Ivoire - Dominican Republic - Ecuador - Jordan

We are your connextions to travel and new adventures. Kuwait - Macedonia - Oman - Slovakia - Syria - Tunisia We are your connextions - Bosnia & Herzegovina - Bahrain - Costa Rica - Cyprus to over 350,000 readers - Georgia - Guatemala - Croatia - Sudan - Trinidad & To135 countries. bago - Uruguayin - Albania - Angola - Bolivia - Botswana We are your social media- Mozam- Jamaica - Cambodia - aLibya - Martinique connextions to 20,000 bique - Namibia - Paraguay - SenegalFollowers - Uganda - Kosoand -ranked among the - Belarus vo - Afghanistan Aruba - Barbados - Bermuda - BelizeTop - Cuba - Djibouti - Ethiopia - Fiji - Grenada 5% of Social Media Users.- Guin- French Polynesia - Turks & Caicos Islands - Bahamas -

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Capturing Your Love The Scruffy Italian

Connextions Magazine catches up with Scruffy Gios, of The Scruffy Italian Traveller, while he’s updating his social media sites, which is a must-do for any serious blogger. And this Italian born, sexy traveller loves to flaunt his beard and quite often flaunts more than just his beard and sexy smile! Connextions Magazine (CM): Tell our readers about your background and what it was like growing up being your fabulous-self? Scruffy Gios (SG): I had a good upbringing, not too difficult to be honest. Although, even aware of my homosexuality since I was a kid, I chose to hide it as long as I lived with my parents… I come from a not too small city, in Southern Italy, and at that time there was still some stigma connected to the gay lifestyle. No big drama in my decision, though. As soon as I left my parents’

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home and moved out, to study university in Padua (I was 18) in northern Italy, I started joining gay associations and going to gay bars and clubs. It was time not to hide anymore: not long after that, going back home for Christmas, I decided to come out to the whole family! And I don’t regret it at all! CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? SG: A couple of years ago, I happened to lose my job in London. I felt like this was really an opportunity to finally do what I like the most: travel full time and tell it all to the world through my blog! The best decision of my life. I have always loved traveling, and I have always done it. But, as an employee, it is not easy to find the time to do it as much as you would love to! So, when I had some money and I had the opportunity to do so, I embraced it as a new challenge I could not say NO to! I have always been adventurous, and the

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idea of doing something new, although somehow scary, has always been very exciting to me!

CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? SG: I have traveled extensively through Europe, Northern America, and Southeast Asia, a bit of Africa: 4 continents, God knows how many countries (around 40 in total I think). My favorite spot on earth so far is Gili Air, a tiny island in Indonesia‌ I could spend months there, despite the Monsoons! CM: What is your process of picking the places that you will visit? SG: I am not much of a planner, I have to admit. I choose to visit a broad area (Southeast Asia for example) and, once there, I go with the flow: ask for suggestions from fellow travelers, fellow travel bloggers, the locals‌ I feel this is the best way to travel like a local. My curiosity has always been

my main driver. I have always loved to travel and discover new cultures, different ways of living and thinking. CM: Where do you call home? SG: Puglia, the heel of the boot of Italy. It is where I am from, and where I spend most of my time when I am not traveling. CM: As a gay traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? SG: Do some research before deciding where to travel to, be aware of the tolerance towards homosexuality to make sure you are safe. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? SG: I am a solo traveler by definition! CM: Besides your passport, what is the one thing you always take with you on your adventures? SG: The selfie stick, my phone/camera of course!


CM: Do you consider travel-writing your career? SG: I consider myself as a pretty successful Digital Marketer. I have done it for years as full time job… then I decided to change the product: I decided to market MYSELF as a Gay Traveller. So far so good (flashing that sexy smile). CM: Is there anywhere you would like to visit, that you haven’t yet had a chance to visit? SG: So many places I would love to see… I will pick three big cities that are really at the top of my bucket list, which I have not been to yet, because I haven’t been neither to Australia nor South America yet! Buenos Aires: I want to feel really like Evita Peron! Rio De Janeiro: where are all the hot Cariocas? I hope I can find a few hot ones to show me around and take me to Ipanema Beach! Sydney: I want to wake up on Bondi Beach! CM: If you couldn’t travel what would you do?

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SG: I would open a chiringuito and live by the beach anyway! CM: Any words of wisdom for people looking to follow in your steps? SG: Be curious, open minded, and flexible! No plan is set in stone when you travel. Follow your instinct and you will be successful. If you want to take the best selfie of your life head to Ko Nang Yuan, one of the most beautiful places on earth! Ko Nang Yuan is a set of three tiny islands in the Thai Gulf, easily reachable by long-tail boat from Ko Tao, the famous viewpoint is located on the smallest of the three islands: 20 minutes hike (must wear sneakers before venturing to the top) and you can snap the most beautiful selfies of your life! Connext with The Scruffy Italian Traveller: Blog: http://thescruffyitaliantraveller.com Follow on Instagram and Twitter: @gios981 Facebook: @thescruffyitaliantraveller

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“I consider myself as a pretty successful Digital Marketer. I have done it for years as full time job… then I decided to change the product: I decided to market MYSELF as a Gay Traveller.” Scruffy Gios


Capturing Your Love H.LUIZ MARTINEZ

Connextions Magazine spends some quality time in between travels with one of our most delicious writers, H.Luiz Martinez, of H.Luiz Presents and his extra yummy recipes and bi-travel adventures bilingual to clarify. Connextions Magazine (CM): Tell our readers about your background and what it was like growing up being your delicious-self? H.Luiz Martinez (HLM): I was born in New Jersey, USA, but I’m 50% Puerto Rican, 25% Italian and 25% African American. Growing up was very interesting! I grew up in a predominately Caucasian neighborhood. I mean, It was my family and a family from Spain (who were considered and treated as if they were White anyway) among the Westwoods, McKinney’s, Donahue’s and Kristofferson’s. The Police used to stop us in front of our beautiful house and ask, “what are you doing in this neighborhood?” As a

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child, racism and self-hate becomes ingrained in one’s psyche, oftentimes without one realizing it. I remember telling my Mami that I didn’t want ugly rice (Spanish rice) but I wanted pretty rice (white rice) with my dinner. I’m not sure my family made a connection with my ugly/pretty rice logic, but it was directly correlated to what I was dealing with in my day to day. I was very attracted to girls and was sexually active with them at an early age. Of course they were White because that’s who I went to school with, but when I got to high school, all these Latinas were all over me! (Laughs as if reminding himself of a special incident that no one should know about.) However, my steady girlfriend was a Caucasian girl. It wasn’t until I was 17 years old or so that I started to feel attracted to other guys. The first guy I ever kissed, I ended up in a relationship with for almost 4 years. However, my parents were

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confused when I told them because they had caught me with girls in my room dozens of times before.

Once I accepted who I was, a Beautiful Gay Latino Male, I was awesome! I imagine it was harder on my family, but I grew up pretty okay. I felt that I was gay a few months shy of my 18th birthday. I came out to my family a few months after that, but I wasn’t completely out (workplace, other family members and other friends), until I was about 25 years old. CM: When did you decide to travel the world and present it to others? HLM: I’ve been traveling for a long time. I always felt empowered and called on to help LGBT & Latino Communities in the United States, however I didn’t merge my activism and love for travel until about 5 years ago. I figured out how to present my travels to audiences while serving my communities

and other impoverished groups while visiting other countries. While traveling with my Partner and on a few media tours, I came to understand just how good I had it being a gay man born and living in the United States. Now I’m not saying that our country is perfect- especially for LGBT& Latin communities, but when you contrast that to the Caribbean, you see just how lucky we are. So, to help others, teach what I know, share what learn and spread joy where I could, became “the mission” or the cause. I felt very excited to do the most that I could. I have a very large active audience so I have to mention that they have helped me help others as well. CM: Where in the world have you traveled and do you have a favorite spot on earth? HLM: I have traveled to many countries among 3 continents, but lately it has been frequent travels


to the Caribbean including the Lesser Antilles. My favorite spot on Earth is still my own home, other than that I’d have to say that Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Saint Maarten are among my favorites. CM: Where do you call home? HLM: My wonderful home is in Jersey City, New Jersey, just 12 minutes from New York City. CM: What is your process of picking the places that you will visit? HLM: We just go where we want, sometimes it’s the same exact place, other times it’s somewhere new. I can write and share my stories from anywhere I visit and I can interact & ACT with groups while I’m there. Maybe that’s my process. CM: As a gay traveler, what is the most important piece of advice for other gay travelers? HLM: Your rights as an American, differ from your rights as a Foreigner when traveling, even more so as a gay traveler. Be yourself but get to know the cultural attitudes and your rights as a tourist. I always say register and check in to the US Embassy website https://www.usembassy.gov/ and click on the country you are traveling to so that in case of an emergency, such as a natural disaster, they know who is visiting and can check on you. They also have travel warnings and other news or information that is so helpful to travelers. CM: Do you prefer to travel alone or with others? HLM: I prefer to travel with my Partner of 18 beautiful

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years, but I travel about 15 times a year and so it’s not always possible for him to accompany me. CM: Besides your passport, what is the one thing you always take with you on your adventures? HLM: I am a Social Media Influencer, so my phone is EVERYTHING when traveling. CM: Do you consider travel-writing your career? HLM: It’s definitely my most-fun career! I always say that I have about 3 careers and 4 jobs. I’m the Social Media Manager of 2 companies and 1 organization. I also have my own Social Media PR Firm and I serve as Consultant to many hotel brands in the Caribbean. This year, I’ve soft-launched a travel company “H. Luiz Presents… Holiday” where I host groups and setup travel excursions, gastro tours and hotel stays. CM: If you couldn’t travel, what would you do? HLM: The backup plan has always been to be a University Professor of Psychology. CM: Any words of wisdom for people looking to follow in your steps? HLM: Make sure your relationship, can handle it. The fastest way to get to “know a people” is to share in their food. Luckily, travel & food are the 2 niches that drive my passion for people & culture. Connext with H.Luiz Martinez: Website: http://hluizpresents.com Follow on Instagram, YouTube, Twitter & Facebook: @hluizpresents

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5Reasons Why We Love Gay Bungalows

PASO CHICO


Travel: Paso Chico Written & photos by: Ross Christianson

P

aso Chico is a small resort for gay men only, featuring six Bungalows on the one and only Gran Canaria! Located conveniently close to many destinations and hot spots on the island, this resort is sure to give you the best experience you can find. Thanks to the Gran Canaria Tourism Board and Paso Chico, my fellow travel writers and I were able to stay the week at this fabulous resort. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite reasons to stay at Paso Chico when visiting Gran Canaria.

1. Size Matters! You will certainly have the time of your life at Paso Chico regardless of the size of your group or

the time of the year. For the solo or small group travelers, Paso Chico’s size will make it easy for you to get to know your neighbors. As a person who frequently travels alone, this is something that I appreciate. On the flip side, Paso Chico would be a fabulous destination for a large group of friends. Since there are six bungalows, the resort can easily accommodate a group of up to 12 of your closest friends. Just imagine the shenanigans you could get into if you had the resort all to yourselves! Gran Canaria is a year round destination since the weather is always sunny and warm. In fact, Gran Canaria is a common destination for Northern European travelers looking to get away from the winter weather and enjoy fun in the sun. Carnival Season and Pride season are a perfect time to visit Gran Canaria. The island has two Pride festivals: one in May and one in November. Both festivals are conveniently located across the street from Paso Chico at the Yumbo Center.


2. The Men of Paso Chico! Paso Chico Owners, Markus and Thomas are super helpful, easily available, and uber friendly the entire time we stayed at Paso Chico. They made sure that our group was able to find the way from the airport, that we were able find our way back at the end of our stay, and that we were well taken care of with everything in between. If at any point we had questions or concerns, they were there to assist. This is the benefit of staying at such a small resort with such kind and helpful owners. Thank you Thomas and Markus, we heart you!

3. The Big P’s: Private Pool Party! After a long and strenuous day in the sun exploring various beaches, wineries, and mountaintops, nothing quite hits the spot like coming home to your pool with all of your buddies and sipping on drinks out of watermelons (BYOW). The lush area around the pool is the perfect setting to unwind. We all spent many nights laying out in our private pool and talked about the day, shared stories from back home, and of course gossiped. If you are traveling in groups, you have the luxury of getting the whole pool to yourselves. However if you are traveling alone or with a small number of people, this would be a great place to make some new friends with other guests. Travel Heels

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September 2016


4. The Nips and Tucks! Paso Chico has been getting a major facelift since Markus and Thomas took over! Much of it has already been accomplished, including renovating the bungalows. I was able to enjoy this newly designed room and I could really see the hard work they put, including redoing and redecorating all of the rooms, getting new beds and linens, renewing the crockery and cutlery, and expanding to add a reception area. When you go on vacation all the way to Gran Canaria you deserve a polished experience, and that is what you will getat Paso Chico.

5. Location, Location, Location! The 3 most important factors that positively or negatively affect your vacation: location, location, and location. And in this case, it’s a win! You are just steps from everything you need, including beaches, gay bars, grocery stores, restaurants, liquor stores, and more. The Yumbo Center across the street will become your spot very quickly, especially since it is right across the street, and it houses countless gay bars. My favorite part of the scene here is the drag shows, which will surely entertain you. A wide array of dining and drinking possibilities, as well as an assortment of clothing shops, assorted travel necessities, and groceries can be found at the Yumbo. Some other must-see spots include the main beach of Playa del Ingles, the Dunes of Maspalomas, or the popular clothing-optional gay beach located at Kiosk No. 7. Thanks to its great location, you will find it very easy to find and do what you want. ConnextionsMagazine.com


Connect: Lyon Hart

L

yon Hart is a singer and songwriter based in New York City. With a knack for captivating melodies and heartfelt lyrics, Hart has caught attention of many in the music industry and is quickly making a name for himself as a highly sought-after featured vocalist and solo artist. His new video single, “Falling for You” features stunning, fast-paced visual cuts and mesmerizing modern dance following two men in a downward spiraling relationship fraught with violence and deception. It speaks to the nearly universal experience of staying with someone toxic even after they’ve broken your heart. Directed by Matt VanDaniker and James Manzello and choreographed by the video’s two stars, Lonnie Poupard, Jr. and Kile Hotchkiss, the video was shot in part at a former rope factory warehouse in the industrial district of the Brooklyn waterfront. An out gay artist, Lyon Hart has been featured as a vocalist on numerous tracks from some of the biggest rising names in dance music and in 2015, released his debut pop EP, “With or Without Me”, featuring four original songs. As a songwriter, he’s written for numerous indie pop artists including “One Tree Hill” and “Dexter” star Bethany Joy Lenz, Erin Willett (The Voice, Biggest Loser) and many more. You can watch the “Falling for You” music video on YouTube and stay up to date with Lyon Hart’s upcoming music and shows on his website: www.LyonHartMusic.com. Facebook.com/LyonHartOfficial Twitter & Instagram @LyonHartMusic

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Photo Credit: Lonnie Poupard Jr. FALLING FOR YOU Music Video Credits Director: Matt VanDaniker Assistant Director: James Manzello Director of Photography/Colorist: Zak Ray Gaffer: Ryan Albahary Sound Design: Julienne Guffain Makeup: Melissa Roth Special Thanks: Colin Miller Choreography: Kile Hotchkiss & Lonnie Poupard Jr. Shot at Ruby Bird Studio http://www.rubybirdstudio.com Copyright (C) 2016 Trah Noyl Music

Click to view video “Falling for You” by Lyon Hart


Capturing Your Love

Title: Rebel - If I Were a Boy Photographer: Brian Hodges FGI Photography http://www.fgiphoto.com Assistant: Kacy Layne Wilson Accessories Designer: Designhype http://designhypeinc.com MUAH: Juel Bergholm http://salonjuel.com Model: Victoria Victor www.istyle4life.com www.facebook.com/victorloovictoriavictor

74 74 Stylist: Victor Loo

Connextions Connextions Magazine Magazine | | Deluxe Deluxe Life Life | | December December 2015 2015


Connect: If I Were a Boy VICTOR LOO ALIAS VICTORIA VICTOR

ACTOR, ADVOCATE, ARTISTE, AUTHOR, FASHIONISTA, MODEL, SINGER, AND SOCIALITE

Besides modeling, Victor Loo, alias Victoria Victor also does social work, and is a firm believer of advocating for social justice and vulnerable communities. Photographer Brian Hodges was in Seattle, and connected with Victoria Victor for a John Lennon inspired editorial series, titled Rebel: If I Were a Boy. Loo does not identify with a gender identity and believes that gender is fluid. Originally from Singapore, Loo traveled to the United States with just a backpack. Always a risk taker, Loo is not afraid to push the envelope. An individual who lives by 3 Ds – Dedication, Devotion, and Determination – Loo is always a vibrant person, and a vegetarian who believes in sustainability and wellness. As a social advocate, Loo has received multiple awards, and was nominated and selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Health Resources Services Administration’s Center for Integrated Health Solutions as 1 of the 20 leaders out of more than 300 applicants to address health disparities, and for this opportunity, Loo is using the platform to advocate for immigrants, refugees, and LGBTQIA. In 2016, Loo is recognized again as a 1 of the 15 leaders in the country to be part of National Council for Behavioral Health’s Healthy Youth Leadership Institute. As an artiste and model, Loo can be found on the runway, and featured on magazines’ covers, and multiple editorial/fashion magazines. Loo says “beneath my small frame, I aspire to do big things!” Loo says, “fashion, makeup, and hairstyles are shifting year by year. However, every positive change in yourself or society is always fashionable.”

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“As an Asian androgynous/ genderless model, my goal is to defy gender binary, and challenge societal norms.:� Victor Loo, alias Victoria Victor


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Manny Velasquez-Paredes

here in the world can you play sports like basketball, volleyball, enjoy a spa day, or eat different types of food at luxurious restaurants, play in the casinos, or watch a stage show, or build-a-bear, participate in Spike TV’s award-winning hit show “Lip Sync Battle,” or slide down some of the tallest water-slides or find a unique suspended cycling experience called SkyRide or experience an IMAX Theatre without having to drive around? Where can you drink, eat and be married without having to worry about any little details? On the sea of course, and to be more precise on the world’s most popular cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line. This writer and my soon to be husband, along with our 2 kids, will be getting maried on November 2016 aboard the Carnival Conquest and we are beyond thrilled, because our honeymoon begins right after! You can help us decide what to do on our honeymoon, just visit our page and help us: http://www.travelersjoy.com/mannyandjose

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Travel Heels

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September 2016


The World’s Most Popular Getaway

Carnival Cruise Line, with 25 ships operating 3 to 16 day voyages to The Bahamas, Caribbean, Mexican Riviera, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, New England, Bermuda, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands is the place to be. Embodying Carnival Cruise Line’s motto of Fun For All, All For Fun, the newest addition to the Carnival family, the Carnival Vista offers family members of all ages the ultimate vacation experience. Carnival has long been considered the number one cruise line for families, carrying more than 700,000 children annually and “Carnival Vista builds upon our leadership position in this area with incredible outdoor attractions and engaging indoor spaces specifically designed with families in mind,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. Spectacular Outdoor Spaces Carnival Vista takes cruising to new heights, literally, with SkyRide, a first-of-its-kind aerial attraction. Here, adventure seekers can pedal hanging recumbent-like cycles at speeds of up to 18 miles an hour across an elevated 800-foot-long track, while enjoying panoramic views to the sea 150 feet below.

SportSquare is a fun-tastic all-ages open-air recreation area with a 270-foot-long suspended ropes course, a two-level miniature golf course, a 700-foot-long jogging track, a variety of outdoor fitness equipment, and the new Clubhouse, a modern indoor sports hangout with mini-bowling, ping-pong, sports-themed video games, arcade-style sports games and more. WaterWorks is the largest aqua park in the fleet highlighted by Kaleid-o-Slide, Carnival’s first inner-tube slide. Riders zip down 455 feet of exhilarating corkscrew turns enhanced by music and stunning kaleidoscopic effects. The Twister slide offers 300 feet of high-speed fun, as well as the PowerDrencher, a 300-gallon tipping bucket that’s sure to elicit shrieks from kids of all ages. A ConnextionsMagazine.com

kiddie area with 30 different water spray toys and mini-racing slides is also available for younger cruisers.

On-Board Entertainment Options There are indoor thrills, too, with the cruise industry’s first IMAX Theatre with a three-deck-high screen bringing an immersive cinema experience to sea with the latest Hollywood blockbusters and family favorites, classics and documentaries. The Carnival Multiplex includes Thrill Theater and it’s a multi-dimensional experience where seats move back and forth and side to side and viewers are sprayed with water and bubbles to make them feel like they’re part of the movie. The Warehouse, featuring video and arcade games, is located next door. Families can also enjoy all-ages comedy shows at the Punchliner Comedy Club. New for Carnival Vista is a premium ice cream parlor within the Cherry on Top confection store where patrons can select their favorite ice cream and mix-ins and watch as their frozen creation is made right before their eyes. Family-Friendly Accommodations Exclusive to Carnival Vista is Family Harbor, located within a dedicated family zone aft on Deck 2 with 96 specially designed “family ergonomic” accommodations, including extra-large family suites with 2 bathrooms accommodating up to 5 guests. The Family Harbor Lounge is a secluded space designed as the ultimate family hangout with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks. Carnival Vista also includes Camp Ocean play area where kids ages 2-11 are immersed in the wonders of the sea through a variety of age-appropriate, fun-filled and engaging experiences. Circle “C” and Club O2 are designed for teens 12 to 14, and 5 to 17 year olds respectively.

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Travel Heels  

Connextions Magazine issue #22: Travel Heels takes a closer look at the World’s Top LGBTQ Travel Experts share their secrets: David Duran, H...