Our relaunch of the print edition has been a long time coming, and we initially planned to release it last year — before the pandemic hit the travel industry like disaster dominos. Like everyone else, we were forced to retreat and hunker down. But a surprising thing happened during lockdown. Rather than turning away from travel content, our readership grew as the queer community sought to escape their homes and see the world — even if for just a few moments via what we came to call virtual travel. Paradoxically in 2021, there’s a greater thirst for Out Traveler than at any time in the last 10 years.
This year, LGBTQ+ travelers have led the way in getting back out there, many of us eager to reconnect with queer friends and the broader LGBTQ+ community. Our identities have long been one of the drivers of how we travel, as we seek out people like us and celebrate those aspects of ourselves that others still want to drive back into the closet.
But as the Out Traveler team was putting this issue together, we also witnessed the rise of the Delta variant, which has since swept the globe, once again causing closures and travel disruptions.
And yet, I still want to welcome you back. Back to Out Traveler, and back to travel. Because we will venture out again. Far flung places and unknown cultures beckon us. LGBTQ+ people are global and we’re driven to connect with our communities far from our own. The founders of VACAYA argue that queer and trans travelers can change the world simply by being out and sharing their stories when they are on the go.
It’s true that travel itself has been dramatically altered during this period, but we will find new and different ways to discover and share the world. One of those new modes is via TikTok, the video sharing, social networking app changing tourism. Our cover stars, Nicky Champa and Pierre Boo, are two of TikTok’s rising stars and their 22 million mostly straight fans adore their queer love and globe trekking lifestyle. (Their new YouTube series takes them to Switzerland, France, and Italy.)
I’m excited that we are also bringing you the latest adventures of Will & James, winners of The Amazing Race.
After the past 18 months, we see how deeply interconnected our world is, even more so within the LGBTQ+ community. I first worked with writer Robin Lowey 25 years ago in San Francisco at Girlfriends, the queer women’s magazine I cofounded. She was a natural to pen our piece on the OG of lesbian travel influencers, Mariah Hanson.
Contributor Kathy Belge co-authored a long-running relationship advice column for Curve magazine (which I also once wrote for) but the one-time Airbnb exec is now a full-time road warrior. Kathy wrote this issue’s Road Map about meeting other lesbians while living the #vanlife.
Kathy urged me to stop by P’town Essentials and say hello to her friend, owner Laura (that’s her below), while I was visiting Provincetown this summer.
Interacting with other LGBTQ+ folks can bring us surprising insights. Meeting Captain Kendall (below) of Moment Sailing there left me reflecting on how rarely tour operators, guides, and proprietors are trans or nonbinary.
As the first out transgender editor in chief of a major travel magazine, I hope to be a part of changing the industry to better reflect us all. Trans and nonbinary tourists have long been like ghosts: there but not seen. But #outtravelers come in all genders, shapes, sizes, religions, abilities, and ethnicities. It’s time we were all seen for who we are!
Out exploring our world,
Editor in Chief
P.S. Find me at [email protected], especially if you’re an #outtraveler too!