Gone are the days when travel meant suffering fools in overcrowded tour buses with a hangover and no clue where you left your passport. For more than a decade, travel has been trending towards a sophisticated mix of unique and inspiring experiences curated for you – the traveller – by professional travel advisors and ground operators that genuinely care about the people and the places they introduce you to. And that’s where I come in…
LGBTQI travel is something I’ve been passionate about since I started in the travel industry. It’s a bit of a hard category to define or explain to outsiders: mainly because there are no outsiders in LGBTQI travel. I’ve been on everything from high-end river cruises and sweaty mountain hikes with my friends; boyfriends; lovers; on my own and with my mum.
Travel to me doesn’t mean flying 20 hours from Melbourne to experience exactly the same things I do at home. In fact, my own travel interests and values mean I tend to spend my holidays about as far out of my comfort zone as I possibly can. (I’ve just moved back from a year in Chile learning Spanish) I want to meet locals in every country I visit: in cafes, local stores, in rice paddies and when I’m broken down on the side of the road in my hire car.
The people I travel alongside, though, is something I’m happy to be picky about. At the end of the day, I want to travel with people who share similar values and attitudes to me; and who I know will respect the people we meet and the places we visit as much as I do. Let’s face it, there are plenty of places left in the world where we’ve got a long, long way to go in terms of honouring and accepting members of the LGBTIQ community: I don’t want to be stuck on a cruise with 100 people who have a long way to go, too.
Instead, it’s my job to help travellers navigate the sensitive and often frustrating (and unspoken!) rules of different countries, cities and spaces around the world; and to seek out the people and places where they can enjoy the carefree and authentic experiences we all deserve. From Sitges in Spain; Recoleta in Argentina; Tel Aviv; Chelsea; Soho and San Fran: wherever your interests take you; there’s an LGBTQI travel option for you.
My latest project, for example, is a fly/cruise package we’ve put together through Vietnam and Cambodia with Brand G cruises: an all-gay, all-inclusive river cruise operator with a penchant for the finer things in life. (Yep, I’ll take a killer cocktail list and a fine fusion meal any day of the week.) Our tour escort, Anthony Broomhead, is a frequent and loyal traveller with Brand G, and has introduced countless like-minded travellers (including us!) to their relaxed and approachable brand of travel.
In fact, it’s been as big a pleasure getting to know Anthony and the Brand G staff as it has been organising clients’ travel on and around the tour. As far as I’m concerned, the LGBTQI community extends to anyone who supports diversity, acceptance, tolerance and a damn good time. Booking and travelling with companies that stand for all those things, too, is another way of spreading the love: at least that’s why I work for one.
Our brand-new office is now open on High Street in Armadale, just down from Glenferrie Rd. I do a mean Nespresso and an even meaner Tim Tam Slam: come in and chat all things LGBTQI travel with me any day of the week.
Alpha Travel Armadale
1200 High Street, Armadale