Tis the season to reflect on what we’ve done, where we’ve gone, and what we are looking forward to into the new year. As Managing Editor of Instinct Magazine, I’m on the road quite often and am visiting many different locales nationally and internationally. These past couple of years, because of COVID, the economy, and whatever else life has thrown at us, travel has been a blessing to escape the every day OMG of life.
But as we think of the past and the future, where do we desire to revisit and explore more? I could pen a wish of list some places to go, and already have some journeys planned for Switzerland and Alaska in 2023, but in this reflective time of year, I want to revisit and share some of those 2021 and 2022 places that have me aching for a return.
Here’s my list, please share your must revisits with us on social media or in the comments below.
As International Travel is recovering from COVID, we are branching out from our sites on local international travel and setting our eyes on Europe. One such destination we are seeking out is Malta. We were fortunate enough to recently get a taste of Malta through the eyes of our contributing writer Buck Jones, who found Malta calling him and his husband for a great getaway. In his piece Travel Thursday: Malta Is For These Lovers , he shares with us the his take on travel.
When we travel to a foreign or foreign to us destination, do we take the time to learn about the history of where we are at or do we just look for the best bars and where the touring circuit party will be set up? Embracing the culture and learning the history of a destination can only enhance the overall experience. I was recently lucky enough to celebrate our wedding anniversary in a place that is full of history, culture, acceptance, and beauty – Malta.
History, Gay Life, Romance were the topics our writer highlighted as he brought us through his time with his husband on Malta. He closed the piece with …
As for ‘Mdina… it was a truly magical evening. The pink and alabaster tinted palaces and churches shimmered in the dusk of that summer day. Packed together in this tiny walled village, high atop the tallest hill on the island, the buildings seem to each tell a story from its mythic past, and as we dined at a truly marvelous restaurant built on the ancient walls of ‘Mdina, my husband and I toasted each other, paraphrasing Voltaire:
“Nothing is better than a dinner on Malta.”
Not only are our passports ready for Malta because of what Buck Jones shared with us, but also Malta won the competition to host Europe’s biggest gay pride event, EuroPride, in 2023. Malta’s bid, titled Equality from the Heart, was selected as the winner by the European Pride Organizers Association (EPOA) receiving 54% of the vote over bids from Belfast in Northern Ireland and Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The event will be spread out over 10 days from September 7 to 17, 2023 and will include events such as a human rights conference, arts and culture festival, a pride village, a pride march and concert, parties and social gatherings. For more information the ability to look at the Malta’s bid book, head over to the EuroPride website.
We bopped around Mexico so much during the COVID days and had zero issues. For some reason, when traveling in Mexico, we gravitated toward the M’s. Merida, Mexico City, and Punta Mita were the three M’s we got our tourism on. For Mexico and Punta Mita we enjoyed the comforts given by the St Regis brand of hotels in both locations Travel Thursday: Destination Mexico With The Goals Of Indulgence & Tranquility.
When it came time to burst my COVID international travel bubble that had formed over the past too many months, we focused in on The St. Regis and its Mexico locations and thought they were just the ticket. A location in the heart of Mexico City and the prime Pacific Coast resort location of Punta de Mita were to be where we were going to allow ourselves to INDULGE and experience the TRANQUILITY we needed after 2020 and 2021.
The other M, Merida, was a shocker city as I had never heard about the it before. When I came home from my journey, many were like, “oh yeah, doesn’t so and so vacation there each year”, and “you know who bought a home there two years ago.”
As one of the top safest cities in the world I had no problem journeying to the White City and writing about it in Travel Thursday: Merida, Mexico Has The Equation For 2022 Travel Success. I concluded my thoughts on this new-to-me city.
Why go to Merida? Once again, it’s safe, it’s cultural, the people are phenomenally polite, and the exchange rate is very favorable. The flights from America are easy, Mexican customs is simple, the food is delightful, and again, the people are amazing.
South America –
Now once again, for this list, I am highlighting where I’ve been or were other Instinct staff has visited. There are many other destinations out there for us to explore, but for our travel pieces, we like to stick to what we have experienced for ourselves.
Toward the end of the 2021 year, Colombia was on the list of places I was headed. The new to me cities of Cartagena and Medellin left a travel mark on me, a Colombian itch I’ve been looking to get scratched again, soon. No, I didn’t catch anything during my first trip to South America and I didn’t fall in love with another man, but it was all so spot on enjoyable, that I cannot wait to go back again. I covered my amazing time in Medellin in Travel Thursday: Being Out In Colombia Was The Thrill Of The Year.
Working for Instinct Magazine since September 2014, I’ve been fortunate to go on many trips and meet many people. If you asked me right now, what city I’ve visited in the past that I would want to revisit the most, it would be Medellin, the City of Eternal Spring, and here are some reasons why.
We also shared with out readers Travel Thursday: Out in Cartagena, Colombia for the other half of our journey. I have tons of photos in galleries over there as this colonial city was very picturesque. The restaurants, shoppes, historical spots, beaches, and experiences we went to and enjoyed were all gay friendly, positive, smile-inducing things I would do all over again.
We did not do much of the planning for our trip. Next time I go, I will definitely reach out again to our new friends at Out in Colombia as they put together a great list of activities, restaurants, and accommodations for this journey that were very gay friendly and welcoming. There were zero worries about anything. I feel this was one of the best experiences in travel I have had.
On a charge to visit all 50 states before 50, Hawaii was checked off the list and oh what a check that was. We were able to experience Honolulu Pride, an event that last occurred in 2019 and was suspended because of COVID, but was able to return for 2022.
The energy, the variety of participants, the amount of people that were excited to be in as well as watch were great. I met many people along my walk to watch the parade and when saying hello, the conversation went right to pride. “Are you going? We’ll see you there!” And these were all hetero couples and hetero couples with their families. Everyone was exited to have PRIDE back. And I was excited to see all the beautiful happy people. Here’s an Instagram post I did to my personal account of the shots I took during the parade.
We were also able to not only check off the state of Hawai’i on our list, but we were also able to check off a second island of this beautiful state. With some slick planning we were able to hop from Oahu to Maui to explore the Kā‘anapali Beach Resort. Relaxation took upon a new level and we were more than happy to boast, I mean share about it in Enveloped in The Beauty Of Island Life – Hyatt Regency Maui
Our time in Maui was brief, only two nights. When I return to explore more of this island, I know that Kā‘anapali Beach Resort has so much more I need to see and do. And with this great foundation that I have already experienced, a beach that has been visited by royalty throughout history, lodging and dining that are pampering and comfortable, my mastery of the day bed, and a staff and culture that is so welcoming, I will not mind considering one of the other twelve lodging variables as I know Kā‘anapali will deliver yet another vacation that will keep a smile on my face long after I say Aloha.
Including Florida as places I want to explore more is personal as well as controversial. I’ve received many emails about “how dare I” promote such a state with such a horrible LGBTQ+ record. On the same thought, I guess if you have a homophobic relative, I should not talk to you. We should not have mentioned California the years that Prop 8 existed and was law of the west coast. I guess readers would rather have me pack up my home and take my things and my gay vote out of the state and leave it for ‘Merika’s retired republican grandparents y’all send here to live out their last days.
With all that said, Florida is so f-ing gay. And one way to make sure it stays gay is to promote it, to get more people to visit, to move here, to swing it from red back to the purple it was and to blue.
I’ll leave a handful of articles here that make me want to revisit and add onto these Floridian experiences:
For gay travelers, I would say it’s a must check out if you want to be by the restaurants, bars, shops, entertainment and nightlife of Wilton Manors and Fort Lauderdale. Visiting the Cabanas Guesthouse and Spa was great treat and a good staycation for me. I highly recommend this place to my fellow gay travelers as well as locals. I’m not sure I could have picked a better spot to soak in the sun, relax in comfort, and see the sights you can only see at an all-male, clothing-optional guesthouse.
It was great to get out of my home for a mini staycation or my birthday. The 30-mile trip to Miami was what I needed, received, and loved. The laziness of rooftop lounging paired with varied succulent food options and energetic drag entertainment within a five minute walk from my hotel was almost too easy (see map below). I need to look into more of these sanity stays. Thank you Moxy, Palace, Nathan’s, and Eduardo Ricardo from il Pastaiolo for the break I needed.
In my opinion, there are two pods of gayness in Miami. Yes, the gays are everywhere in Southern Florida, but they congregate in two spots when it comes to Miami, and these pods are just a 1.3 mile walk away from each other. The Gaythering is an anchor and the only option in one, but oh what an option. This hotel could turn any small town ‘Merika gay. So, yes, I will go back again to The Hotel Gaythering. Its a place you can go alone, with a friend, with a fb, with a fwb, with a partner, or with all of them. See you there.
Thanks again Island House and your guests, your staff, your existence. You offer a respite from the world, an escape from the norm, a celebration of us. The environment you create for your travelers is one that we all must experience to realize that we all need to be us, to be pampered, and to be happy.
There was my list. For more information on each trip, click on the article titles to go to the original posts. Did you have a place you need to explore more? Please share those destinations with us and fellow readers on social media or in the comments below.