LGBT+ travel.

LGBT+ travel.

Happy Pride month!  The LGBTQIA+ community makes up a large percentage of the travel population but can face singular challenges when traveling. For example, many countries do not recognize same-sex unions, and in some countries, same-sex relationships are considered a crime with significant or severe punishment.  Here are a few things to consider for LGBTQIA+ travel.

History suggests that members of the LGBTQIA+ community are some of the people most willing to travel.  In addition, the LGBTQIA+ community tends to travel more than their non-LGBTQIA+ counterparts.  This reality is partly because the LGBTQIA+ community is often dual income, with no children, and having more discretionary money and time to travel.

With the prevalence of travel in the LGBTQIA+ community, however, there are significant considerations to be made for travel. As recently as 2019, the country of Brunei enacted an Islamic law that makes it legal to flog and stone LGBTQIA+ people to death.  It’s not the only country where LGBTQIA+ individuals can face the death penalty for the simple act of loving someone of the same sex.  Therefore, for members of the LGBTQIA+ community, travel to top destinations is not a simple decision of when and if they have the resources to travel.

Many of the top destinations, such as the Maldives and Dubai, are primarily Muslim countries. In addition, top Caribbean destinations like Jamaica or Dominica have laws and attitudes quite contrary to the LGBTQIA+ community. Therefore, travelers need to be aware of these laws and attitudes before planning their trips.

Simple gestures like hand-holding that heterosexual couples take for granted are not a given for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.  Along with other travel issues, members of this community must consider when or if to show public displays of affection.  Even sharing a bed or using a dating app can be a hazard for members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Therefore, while many may want to travel as we all do, traveling to certain countries for LGBTQIA+ members can lead to the possibility of death for many.  As we wrap up Gay Pride month, I want my readers to be aware that many of the things non-LGBTQIA+ travelers take for granted are not a given for the LGBTQIA+ community.

Have you ever had issues when traveling as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community?  Were you aware of the risks many people unwittingly take when traveling? I’d like to know.

Travel envy.

Travel envy.

Having traveled both professionally and personally, I can certainly attest to the travel envy often directed to me even though unheard and unseen but very present.

As an international flight attendant, my job took me all over the world. It was not uncommon for me to fly to unique destinations such as Paris, London, Buenos Aires, Bermuda, or Madrid within the same month. At the same time, I was still a mother and a wife and had to contend with all that those roles entailed. I quickly learned when trying to establish a relationship in the community, to gloss over my job. Mentioning destinations seem to bring on the envy of travel and I would quickly say “I’m a flight attendant” and change the subject as many seemed to hear my destinations as a brag. I would get responses along the direction of “oh how nice” or “that’s wonderful.”

It was not unheard of to get responses like “what about your kids?” or “how does that work with your husband and kids?” With my explanation that it was just a job like any other, I would inevitably get the response “it must be nice!” To me, that was the code for travel envy. I quickly learned in conversations to say that I was “going to work” or “going on a work trip.” Always conscious to never say a destination.

As an ex-pat in Europe and Asia, there were plenty of opportunities to travel in those areas. Thankfully I had learned from my professional travel experience to not discuss my travel plans in depth when having conversations with family and friends. Here too, the refrain “it must be nice” was also heard.

It was an honor and privilege to be a flight attendant for over twenty years and to fly to so many unique destinations. However, it was also a job and many times after long haul flights, the only part of the city seen was the hotel room. My personal travel was quite different as destinations such as Bali or Bangkok were planned with itineraries and time to complete them all.

I can certainly empathize with the travel envy now that Covid has canceled so many travel plans for me. But I know as long as I travel, there are many others whose dream of travel is unmet. So, I am very careful in discussing my travel plans and limiting or tailoring those discussions to the audience.

Have you ever experienced travel envy? How do you handle it? Does my story strike a chord? I’d love to hear your take.

Marriage, the inner journey.

Marriage, the inner journey.

It’s only fitting today as I celebrate my wedding anniversary, to focus on the journey of marriage.  Although an experienced traveler, I did not pack light for this journey and it came with no travel map.  I was bringing a bundle of past anxieties and hurts, along with two minor children. Having taken this journey before I was aware of turbulence and so I believed I was prepared.

There is no blueprint for the perfect marriage journey. Oftentimes that inner journey is fraught with the perceptions of our family and peers.  At times they are wearing rose colored glasses, but more often they are wearing shades.  It takes a lot of travel to get to a point where you are satisfied with the marriage journey as it is and as you make it.

My marriage journey took me to another continent with two kids, no family, no support and a strong faith in making the journey about me. I was often advised of the perils of  moving away with no family or friends to rely on.  However, I knew that I had taken this journey before with the support of family and friends, to a not so happy landing. This time, I had to take the journey on my own and with the thought that I had the inner strength to survive, even on another continent, and so my journey began.

Today I look back and I am so proud of not doubting myself.  My life is richer for the journey and experience.  I am content to have raised third culture kids (more on another blog post) who are truly culturally aware and diverse.  I have created a marriage that has survived and continues to survive the long distance trials and heartaches.  But, most importantly, I chose to take that inner journey, and although it is continuing, I have weathered the turbulent as well as the smooth cruising altitudes, with a great love I could not have imagined.

How has your inner marriage journey been? Have you reached your destination? I invite you to enjoy the journey, no matter the destination, and share with us the joys and pitfalls of your travel experience.

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