About an hour drive from the Cancun International Airport, the State of Yucatan countryside is a gateway to ancient Mayan culture and a study in how ancestral traditions are kept alive by the current generation. It also may be one of Mexico’s best kept tourism secrets, though that is soon about to change.
The State of Yucatan is one of three states that occupy the Yucatan Peninsula. Though American visitors are most familiar with the Mexican Caribbean stretch between Cancun and Tulum (which is in the State of Quintana Roo), the neighboring State of Yucatan is readying for its prime-time debut.
The new President of Mexico, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office in December 2018, largely campaigned on creating the Mayan Train that would transport visitors from the tourist-saturated areas (the aforementioned Cancun, Tulum, etc.) to less-discovered gems. The proposed 913 miles of track are scheduled to be functioning by 2023. Though the ambitious project is not without its controversies, one thing is certain: it will alter tourism in the region.
Don’t wait. Currently, the best way to explore the Yucatan State is on a road trip that can include archeological wonders, complex cultures and unspoiled natural habitats. As Mexico’s second busiest airport (after Mexico City), Cancun is an easy direct flight from many U.S. cities; then drive inland…
Read more about my travels through the Yucatan State of Mexico inTravel Squire.
Today is National Coming Out Day. And yes, I know you know.
I want to first thank all my loved ones (and even my new friends who I may only know through social media) for tuning in to my zany, gay travel adventures. I have now been an out gay man longer than I was a closeted boy and young person. And yes, that means I’m old.
I believe it is essential that I continue to be visible. I believe it is essential that we continue to be vigilant.
As I share this happy picture of me—a very out and proud gay man—at Stonewall during this summer’s World Pride celebration in New York City, I am both elated by my privilege of living my life so openly in this amazing city (there are still 72 countries where homosexuality is illegal) and devastated by the state of current affairs in the United States.
Just this week, the Supreme Court heard three cases that can ultimately decide if LGBTQ+ employees are protected from discrimination in the workplace. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion.
Does that include sexual orientation or gender identity according to the federal laws of the United States? The Supreme Court decision is expected by June 2020.
The Trump Administration argued that Title VII does not cover sexual orientation or gender identify. It has also stacked federal courts throughout the country and appointed two judges to the Supreme Court to shift our nation’s Judicial Branch toward a conservative, potentially discriminatory power dynamic.
If it hasn’t sunk in, this affects me. This affects my boyfriend of 13 years. This affects my best friends. This affects the diverse members of my LGBTQ+ community.
And unless you’ve managed to live a sad, gray life without ever interacting with an LGBTQ+ person, this will affect a person you love.
So, if you have voted for socially conservative candidates in local, state and national races, I want you to know that you have voted against me, a person you may even love and “support.”
I am happy to be the smiley, rainbow-clad image in your mind when you weigh making these life-changing decisions at the ballot box. Or you can choose some other brother, sister, son, daughter, cousin, Pilates instructor, colorist or beloved cater waiter. But I am coming out to let you know that I—we—need your support and need that support to be stronger than niceties at our next social gathering.
I hope I can count on you. Happy National Coming Out Day.
Is the Dominican Republic ready for its gay close-up? It’s a slow zoom, increasingly coming into focus.
Last month, the CHIC Punta Cana, the all-inclusive resort (or “all-exclusive” as the brand boasts) hosted the second annual Caribbean Pride. For one week, the expansive resort turns into an adult playground packed with pool parties, drag shows, culinary workshops, and a slew of fitness activities—all geared toward the LGBTQ traveler…
Learn more about Caribbean Pride and how the Dominican Republic is emerging as a gay travel destination, by reading the rest of my article, published in EDGE Media Network.
There’s a gay-party-in-a-can giving us a rainbow of reasons to celebrate beyond Pride. This summer, House Wine is honoring LGBTQ equality with the Limited-Edition Rainbow Rosé Bubbles cans, available until August 31. The colorful cans are fantastic for summer day drinking. They are fruity and effervescent, just like you. And like you, they’re more than just pretty. Standing behind their “Everyone’s Welcome in Our House” motto, House Wine is donating $2 per case to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). So you have multiple reasons to drink up this summer.
The 375mL Limited-Edition Rainbow Rosé Bubbles cans are priced at $5.99/can and are equivalent to half a bottle of wine. They are available at wine stores throughout the country or you can order 6-packs from the online store.
The Traveling IQ vault is packed with travel photos that have never seen the light of day. They’re lonely and want to say hello.
Here’s a little photo tour of East London, from my November 2011 visit.
East London has undergone a dramatic change over the last decade. The once isolated area beyond the Tower of London, is now home to trendy shops, cafes, art galleries and open-air markets.
During my visit last year, I explored the area with my trusted “insider” Urban Gentry guide and stayed for the grand opening of the Aloft London Excel Hotel–all as the city was prepping to host the London 2012 Olympic Games.
OK, this post is way overdue. I was extremely honored in March to receive the “Awesome Blog Content” award from Mark, the Mancunian blogger of the vibes, with whom I share a love of cats, travel, photography and the Kinsey scale, among many other things. Mark lives in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, England–a city that I’m dying to visit–and gives great blog.
Now to accept this award, the rules mandate that I describe myself or my blog using every letter of the alphabet and pass on the award to six fellow bloggers–easier said than done considering all the fantastic blogs I read and all the letters that compose the English alphabet. But I could not let his opportunity pass without 1) thanking Mark and 2) paying this award forward to a few of the fabulous people that touch my world-wide-webbed world. So here we go, the following is a bit stream of consciousness… some words are adjectives, some nouns, etc., but they all describe me, or the me I tell myself I am, or Traveling IQ or what it strives to be… or they are things I just really like… such as margaritas… I really like margaritas… they are like limeade with a built-in self esteem booster.
And now for my favorite part of this project. Six really cool people (in no particular order) who I hope will intrigue you as much as they have me over the last few years:
*EdSalvato.com: Ed Salvato has, as stated on his website, “spent the last 14 years in the world of LGBT travel and tourism on just every angle you can imagine: editorial, marketing, communications, product development, sponsorships, events and more.” The man juggles multiple gay travel balls better than anyone I know (insert joke here). He was one of the first editors that ever published my work and he’s one of the best, most professional communicators I’ve encountered in this crazy business.
*Carlos Melia Blog: Carlos Melia is pure travel porn, in every possible way. Not only is he extremely handsome and features prominently in many of his pictures, but this former Mr. Gay International (no joke!) is also constantly traveling to–and tirelessly posting from–the most fabulous destinations imaginable. The man is a traveling machine. Though it’s difficult not to envy his life at times (and his Mr. Gayness), I greatly admire his incredible work ethic (and, oh yeah, his Mr. Gayness too).
*The Butterfly Jar: This Tumblr blog highlights the versatile and beautiful work of NY-based photographer Chasi Annexy. Chasi is a kick ass photographer of people, travel, lifestyle, performance and all-around awesomeness (her official website is chasiannexyphotography.com). As the photographer of Salseek.com she captures the beauty, sexiness and flair of salsa dancers; as a travel and documentary photographer she manages to create infinitely intriguing photos of people in both exceptional and mundane settings. I’ve also been fortunate to take a writing class with Chasi and can tell you 1) she’s a fantastic writer and 2) her hips don’t lie… even when visiting a tea garden outside of Darjeeling.
*Voyage Addicted: Or “Adiccion a Viajar” is the travel blog of Jose Ferri of Valencia, Spain. Jose works with Valencia Guias and was the fabulous guide who took me on the walking tour of Centro Historico that I describe in my Washington Post article. He also, in a short time, became a great new friend and took it upon himself to show me a Valencia that I would’ve never found on my own. He writes about his fantastic travels and not only allows me to discover beautiful new places but also forces me to practice my Spanish.
*PhotoBotos.com: Created by brothers Charlie and Tom, this photography website uploads a new image daily with a detailed description. Photographers will appreciate all the technical jargon; I love the beautiful pictures. I first discovered this site when they posted “Go Your Own Road” by Swedish photographer Erik Johansson, and have been hooked ever since.
*Humans of New York: According to the website, “Humans of New York began as one man’s effort to construct a photographic census of the city of New York.” And boy do we have some colorful characters in NYC! This site captures New Yorkers from all walks of life and is a constant reminder of just how special this city truly is. Brandon’s captions are also witty, funny, and offer an insightful glimpse into the people that make New York… well, New York. If you like the photographs, I suggest “liking” the Facebook page as he posts photos even more frequently on Facebook.
(And while we’re on the subject of Facebook, I would be forever grateful if you visited Traveling IQ on Facebook and perhaps “liked” me too. Thank you!)