Let's meet the Nomadic Boys, Stefan and Sebastien, a gay couple travelling the world and recording their adventures since November 2013.
Their travel website has since translated into a brand that has grown exponentially over the past year, particularly among the LGBT community.
We asked them a few questions, here is what they told us.
Could you briefly introduce yourself and your website Nomadic Boys to our readers?
Stefan, 33 is a former lawyer born and raised in North London to Greek parents. Sebastien, 33, is an IT geek, originally from Lyon, France and moved to London. London is where we met in February 2009 and have been together since.
We first set eyes on each other on Tuesday 24th February 2009 at the GAY bar in Soho, London. Sebastien was meeting friends to discuss moving to Spain to start a new life and Stefan was meeting a friend to chat about a career change. We were too shy to speak to one another and it was Stefan’s friend who helped break the ice. The rest is history.
When were you first bitten by the travel bug? Who was the first to suggest to leave all behind and start your (neverending) journey?
Stefan was 18 when he started travelling – inter-railing in Europe and then backpacking in South America. Sebastien left the family nest at the same age but travelled around Europe staying in places more long term until he found himself in London where he met Stefan.
Over the 6 years of our relationship, we have travelled extensively and also moved in and lived together. We figured if we can survive that, then surely we can survive travelling together long term.
Stefan will argue he was the true inspiration for leaving it all behind. Sebastien, of course, insists it was him…
We'd like to ask you about your first big trip?
Whether you felt the same nerves that most people do? Or whether you just had a care free feeling of wanting to embrace the world?
Our first big trip together was in 2014/2015 when we spent 17 months travelling around Asia. We’d been planning and saving for it for over 2 years. So when the time came, we were dead excited and the adrenaline just took over.
At the same time we were working on the blog, which over the course of the 17 months started to grow significantly and quickly became our baby.
We definitely traveller in Asia with a (carefully planned) care free feeling of wanting to embrace the world, but always with the weight of the blog on our shoulders which stopped it ever getting boring or tiresome.
As a gay couple travelling the world, do you find it's better to be open about it when immersing yourself in different cultures? How much do you "modify" yourself in order to avoid (unfortunately sometimes) unpleasant situations created by merely being gay?
We started our big trip in June 2014 with the Trans-Siberian in Russia. You will no doubt have heard about the treatment of gays in Russia in the Western press. Naturally, we were terrified, so we were so careful and avoided any gay life in Moscow. We regret this as it’s really not the case. Well it is, but it’s no different then any other Eastern European country or South Asian country coming to terms with its LGBT community.
We don’t normally wave rainbow flags or hold hands walking down the street in London, so didn’t feel the inclination to do so abroad. People either are savvy enough to work it out or if not, they just assume we’re brothers. We just played up on this in countries where gay is illegal (like Sri Lanka, India, the Maldives, Malaysia etc). If they want to know about it and embrace it they will ask. If they don’t want to know and have issues about homosexuality, they won’t dare broach the subject and in those scenarios, we certainly won’t entertain it.
What kind of travellers are you and what type of activities do you enjoy the most on your travels?
We have always enjoyed adventure travel. We love the underwater world most of all and enjoy scuba diving and snorkelling – in tropical waters. This is why Southeast Asia is so appealing.
We also love our food and always make every effort to do as many cooking classes in every place we visit and pick up as many recipes as we can.
One of people's biggest fears when travelling, is being ignorant to cultural norms and offending people. Has there ever been a situation where you've broken a cultural norm?
In Malaysia, some locals are more Muslim then others. In Kuching, our friend very kindly took us to his home to meet his family. Stefan (coming from a Greek background) is used to greeting people with a warm hug. Sebastien (French) is used to several kisses on the cheek.
So imagine us meeting our friend’s sister all covered up in her burka, not allowed to touch any men (except family members) to be greeted by Stefan giving her what he thought was a welcoming embrace…
Luckily the family had a sense of humour and laughed it off, but if you’re a European in Malaysia, never touch a woman wearing a burka!
If you could make up a travel word, what would it be?
#Feedme (Stefan). #CalmDownGreedyStefan (Sebastien)
When travelling around the world, do you ever stay in hostels? What's the primary things you look for when staying in one?
Hostels are excellent value for money. Dorms we tried and dismissed in Moscow early on – it’s weird to sleep in separate beds. Plus the price of 2 dorm beds is usually the same or more than the cost of a double room.
We look at what the review say about the WiFi, as this is important for maintaining our blog. And, proximity to a nearby park or gym to work out.
If you wanted to inspire someone to travel, what would you tell them? In other words, what advise or tips you give someone who really wants to travel, but who doesn't think its possible?
Just do it!
If it’s something you really want to do, then you will make it happen. They’ll always be an excuse not to. It took us 2 years to properly save up and plan for our big Asia trip.
We travel slowly and for long periods of time, which ends up being much cheaper and effective as you discover a place better and find it less tiring then whizzing around trying to pack it all in.
Famous last Nomadic Boys words...? :)
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