Five years ago I decided to start a blog and my original intent was to present my life for the world to see as a response to all the questions people kept asking me about gay marriage. Marriage equality had become the law of the land in the US and we were thrilled about it. At the time, it seemed as though I was inundated with questions and, frankly, I became a bit tired of answering the same things over and over. I thought it would be a good idea to simply use my life as a prompt and write about it. It seemed to me this would answer everyone’s questions and I could make it my occupation. Thus, My Normal Gay Life was born.
But as I began to write about certain topics, I realized my heart was just not in it. I knew topics about the day-to-day life of a married gay couple were important when it came to the normalization process but I simply did not enjoy writing about it. And honestly, I wondered if anyone really cared about our trials, troubles, successes, and all that goes with being married. What I learned is people really do care and need to hear about our lives. Even today there are loads of people who don’t feel they can live their most authentic lives and that’s why all of this matters. But I wanted to ensure what I wrote was genuine and conveyed my joy for life. In other words, I needed to illustrate my most authentic life through the content I created and I hoped this would help and inspire other LGBT+ people. That’s when I decided to focus on gay travel.
Travel is such a big and important part our life together as a married couple and for many years we’ve experienced the joy of adventure. I decided to become a representative for the LGBT+ community within the greater travel industry and create tons of content. For the last five years, I’ve solely focused on travel topics and I wouldn’t trade the experience for the world. I’ve, for the most part, not taken very many sponsored trips and have refused payment time and time again. My philosophy regarding My Normal Gay Life as a travel blog is that I wanted to maintain its independence and not create a situation where I am beholden to any person, company, or organization. In this way, I have been able to maintain my own identity through content creation and those who read this blog or follow me on Instagram understand I am an extremely authentic human being. What you see is what you get with me and I am proud of that fact.
But just as life changes, so to must this blog and the content I create. More on that later….
There is a saying that goes something like; “When you die, you won’t remember all your possessions and wealth, you’ll think of the experiences you’ve had and the people you’ve loved and who have loved you.” I’m sure I just butchered that saying but you get the gist. I unequivocally agree with this statement. During my time as a travel blogger, I’ve traveled many thousands of miles, seen incredible sights, experienced history, and met incredible people who I love. Every one of those moments are moments I cherish, whether it was trekking in the Galapagos Islands, cruising a Parisian bathhouse, driving across the United Kingdom, or exploring ancient sites in Israel. Of course, much of travel is down time and sometimes those moments are just as special like relaxing on a beach, reading a book in a hotel room, grocery shopping in a foreign country, traveling by train. And we certainly can’t forget the other stuff like getting sick from food or water, being robbed, arguing with my husband, romantic dinners, taking walks through parks, learning to cook, missing flights, and all the rest.
Every single one of those moments come together to create the cacophony of my life and I love it.
But I think the most important factor of all of this is the amount of growth I’ve achieved since I began. When I started, I was afraid to do something so risky. I mean, starting a travel blog isn’t exactly a recipe for success. At the beginning, I simply wanted to make money from it all. Then I realized I didn’t necessarily need to do that with My Normal Gay Life. The moment I made this realization was the moment I liberated myself from the disingenuous chains that tie down so many other bloggers, influencers, and content creators. I freed myself from the need for approval and in turn allowed myself to be a more authentic person. Don’t get me wrong…I am not saying all bloggers are disingenuous. I know many who are authentic and make a living doing it. And I also realize my ability to create content as an occupation without the worry of making a living from it is an exercise in privilege. But I think this occupation has become saturated with content creators who are not genuine and will do and say anything to make a buck…even if that means perhaps betraying what they claim to care for or causing more harm than good to the LGBT+ community…their community.
My travels further challenged me to grow and become a better person by exposing me to other ways of life and other ways of seeing the world and the issues we face. I’ve become slightly more patient and try to understand where people are coming from in a given situation. Now, that doesn’t mean I will tolerate anything or anyone that directly or indirectly supports those who would cause harm to my communities. That is to say, I will 100% always call out racism, transphobia, homophobia, xenophobia, and misogyny no matter what the circumstance. I will never humor those perspectives. I believe travel strengthened my resolve in these matters and helped me evolve into a stronger individual who is fine going against the status quo.
And the travels are certainly not ending because there is still plenty of growth and mental evolution ahead.
Disruptions to Life
Now, life has a tendency to ebb and flow. One day everything is going great and then the next day it seems everything is dried up and there’s no tide to be seen. Currently, it would seem I am caught in an ebb. I love to travel and I love writing about it but the constant need to focus on travel topics has begun to wear on me after 5 years. I’ve grown accustomed to the idea that every trip is technically a work trip and I can always learn enough about a place I am visiting to create new blog posts and other content. But I am no longer certain that’s the mentality I wish to proceed with from this point forward. I miss traveling for the sake of travel…for the sake of adventure…for the pleasure of it all. It’s a feeling that reared its head a year or so ago and I’ve struggled with it. On the one hand, I enjoy being part of a travel blogging community. On the other I really don’t like the ugliness that comes with the community. I have many travel content creator friends but they are a small drop in the larger bucket of this industry and it’s an industry that is often cold, detached, and simply not genuine. To me, it seems the majority don’t stand for anything unless it is accompanied by a dollar sign and that’s just not something I can get behind. Even people I admired at the beginning of this journey for being authentic seem to have sold out at this point. I’ve tried to be different, successfully, and I’ve found my tribe who I consider the most authentic out there but I am not certain it’s necessary that I focus only on travel for that sense of belonging.
Then there is the whole COVID19 and global pandemic issue to deal with too. Most people are not traveling and will not travel for the foreseeable future. Every time a content creator talks to me about how things will go back to normal, I can’t help but think they are blind with optimism. Things are definitely not going to go back to normal and even if they do to some degree, it will never be the way it was before. Right now, we aren’t traveling anywhere because it’s simply not safe to do so and we’d rather not risk exposing ourselves as well as those we love who are most vulnerable. Alfred’s father is not in the most optimal of health situations and we love him very much. There’s no way I think travel is worth the risk of causing him harm. I believe this pandemic has disrupted the traveling world to a higher degree than most would like to admit and I think we will see the demise of many travel blogs as a result.
Don’t worry…I’ll still produce travel content but to a different degree. Stick with me here!
When this global pandemic began, I became very sick and was forced to stay home (and yes, I did contract COVID19). My health improved over the course of 4 weeks and now I am back at 100%. But the world is still stuck in a state of limbo because this virus is not under control and is still spreading, especially in the United States. As a result, I am forced to stay home for the first time in 5 years. At first I wasn’t keen about the prospects of my trips going from multiple I planned out to zero. But now that I’ve remained stationary for a bit, I’ve rather enjoy it. It’s been a lot of fun to remodel our garden together and make our house the home we always dreamed it could be. I realized I don’t mind being home and, in fact, I really like being home. There is so much to appreciate about your own space in the world and I plan to focus a lot more on home and other aspects of my life.
That is not to say I will no longer travel at all. In fact, when this pandemic is over I expect to travel quite a bit more. But I will likely reduce the duration of my trips to 10 days maximum verses taking month-long or multiple month-long trips. Travel will always be part of my life and as long as I am able to travel then you can count on the best information I can provide about the places I visit. I just have a lot to be home for and I’m embracing all of it.
What to Expect
With all of this being said, I’ve decide to expand into other areas and create content surrounding the various facets of my life. I’m planning to launch two new businesses in the next two years, one of which is a houseplant shop. I have a deep love for plants in general and am the proud father of many houseplants and every where I travel, I manage to visit a plant shop or two. Now, I’m taking everything I’ve learned from those experiences and applying them to my own business. So, you can expect content around that as well. I want to show you the other parts of MY Normal Gay Life. Future topics that will appear on the blog and my social media channels include cooking demos, relationship tips, stories about us, reflections on life, home projects, and of course posts about my business endeavors.
Most importantly, I invite you all to join me or continue following along this adventure I call life. I will do what I do regardless of the blog but I create this content about My Normal Gay Life for all of you. I can’t tell you the number of times people have contacted me and thanked me for being a voice, a representative, an advocate, and for standing up for what is right. I want to keep being that for those of you who view me this way. I want to inspire all of you to keep living your normal regardless of sexual orientation, race, identity, or any other factor as long as it doesn’t cause harm to people. And I want to continue being a living example of the phrase “It gets better” because it really does.
How has your life changed recently?
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