Kirstie and Christine, the queer couple behind Instagram's @OnAirplaneMode__ handle (and an associated blog) have a motto: “Travel. Hustle. Repeat.” Their equation for success has fueled their adventures around the world.
Although Kristie was already itching to leave New York indefinitely, she says, when they first met Christine had a full-time career she wasn’t ready to walk away from.
“We both had many conversations on how to compromise and remain together long term,” Kristie tells Out Traveler. “We did small trips in between for a week or two but were always wanderlusting for more. We decided to hunker down and save every single penny for what we expected to be one of the most adventurous trips of our lives. After about a year of working double jobs and exhaustingly long work weeks, we finally saved up enough money to go on our trip.”
That first trip was only supposed to last three months, but the couple kept extending it just a little longer. When it was finally over, the couple had been on the road for nearly nine months and had visited 12 Southeast Asian countries.
On the way, they found their calling. “About four months into our trip, we stumbled across a new passion—photography,” Christine explains. “We started taking creative photos of our adventures to try and show just how beautiful this world is. As we started posting more and more, we realized we were getting messages from other LGBTQ people seeking travel advice.”
They point out that being queer or trans is actually a violation of the law in over 71 countries around the world today. “This leaves a scary stigma for LGBTQ travelers who only want to follow their passion for adventure,” Christine says.
The couple, who will soon become contributors to Out Traveler, says they are sharing their story, “in hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams of adventure, all while celebrating who they are and whom they love. Even throughout all of the countries we have been through we realize that regardless of culture, religion, or sexuality, the biggest commonality we have is love."