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Travel Experts: Manny Velasquez-Paredes

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.

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