Tag Archives: travel

PRIDE. (Or, Misery, Loneliness, and Dread.)

pride

So, I just got back from my trip to London, and I’m very disappointed to say, it was horrible. And making everything even worse is that now I’m back in New York City and WorldPride is going on, so gays are everywhere.

…Having just read what I wrote above, I think I need to clear something up – I am gay. Not a homophobe.

Let me explain where the problems are coming from,

So, I was in London on a press trip for Pride. It was me and two other reporters from the US. Then, the big part of the trip was the flight back to New York City for pride. On the flight, the 3 of us US reporters were seated amongst 30 gay UK reporters.

The 30 UK reporters all knew each-other. The gay media scene in the UK isn’t that large since the country isn’t that large. So, all the UK guys were sassily cliqued up with who they knew, and didn’t take the time to introduce themselves to any of us.

NYC Gay Pride March 2018

To make it even worse, to celebrate Pride, the plane started playing “gay music” to celebrate. Britney, Madonna, Cher, Ariana – all singers that I really don’t give a shit about. In only a few minutes, the plane stopped functioning like a normal flight. Everyone had gotten up in the aisles to dance, mingle with their friends, and drink.

It was the stereotypical bitchy sass-fest you’d imagine with a group of gay men. The UK reporters loudly gossiped about the bad parties they had gone to, the lame gays they knew who obviously weren’t as cool as them, and bragged about the trips they had gone on (which…HELLO! We were all reporters who had gone places! Who the fuck are you bragging to exactly?)

One of the US reporters found a UK reporter he knew, and gleefully jumped up and ran over to his group to join in on the “fun.” And throughout the entire 8-hour flight – a flight that was supposed to be celebrating pride, equality, and the LGBTQ siblinghood – How many of those reporters do you think ever took the time to introduce themselves to me, or ask who I was… The answer is zero. 

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And that’s the problem with PRIDE in general.  PRIDE has nothing to do with Pride. PRIDE has nothing to do with friendship. PRIDE has nothing to do with equality.

PRIDE is a status symbol. Gays wearing a rainbow shirt is like a straight guy wearing a Patriots jersey. It’s social signaling, saying “I’m on the team.” Attending PRIDE parties is like attending a football game, it’s for fun. Nothing more. There is no moral high ground to PRIDE.

It’s a bunch of people dressing up and partaking in the gay societal norms, snapcahtting, instagramming, and tweeting all along the way…for one reason alone. To say, “I WAS HERE. I DID THIS. I’M COOL. I’M TRENDY. I’M PART OF THIS.” 

New York City Gay Pride Parade 2015

When we landed, they put all the reporters in a bus and took us into Manhattan. In the bus, everyone howled and raved about the flight…

“Did you see….OMG they were so smashed, I was like, Gurl!”

“OMG! It was so nuts. I literally can’t believe it!”

“And OMG…. was like, hogging so much aisle space when he was dancing, I was like, honey, this a cramped space, you need to be more aware, like OMG, right?”

And so on…

All the reporters who had gotten sloppy drunk, were now thrilled to have something new to talk about. AND OF COURSE, when retelling the stories of the sloppiest people, they never included themselves. It was always someone else who was the sloppiest. Someone else who didn’t partake the way they should have, someone else who just didn’t get “how it goes.”

I felt like I was back in high school. I couldn’t believe grown adults were acting like children.

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The band PWR BTTM has a song that says, “When you are queer, you are always 19…” And I think that’s true. It seems like the gays are always so immensely immature. Like they’re always trying to be the popular girl they never got to be when they were young. All that hiding and lying they had to do in their youth explodes when they finally come out as adults, and then, they live forever, trying to be the Regina George they couldn’t be when they had the chance.

I was supposed to cover WorldPride with that group of reporters. In fact, we got put up in a very fancy hotel. And were given swag bags that had some very valuable things inside (like gift cards loaded with $100).

But I just couldn’t handle it. 

LA Pride Parade 2018 (Photo by Chris Tuite)

If any of you have read this blog before, you know that growing up, I was treated like shit. And to spend a weekend surrounded by people like this… people who would gleefully throw someone under the bus if they knew it would give them publicity… I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I was on the verge of crying when I walked into the hotel room. It was gorgeous, on the 16th floor, in downtown Manhattan. The entire room was just stunning, with a bathroom anyone would kill to take even one shower in. I looked through my swag bag… and saw all the expensive things inside. I felt horrible for giving all of this up. The amount of money that must have spent on it made me feel sick, for being privileged enough to just leave it all there.

But then I thought about having to stay there the whole weekend. Stay there with those people. Stay there listening to non-stop gossip about people I didn’t even know. Nonstop social media obsession, snapping pictures of every moment to be seen by their adoring “fans” online. Could I really do it?

The answer was no. When everyone went up to their rooms, I quietly checked out and left.

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And now, here I am. Alone.

This was going to be my first PIRDE. But instead, I’m going hide from it. It’s hard knowing that everyone can find such pleasure and happiness in things that don’t mean anything to me. And it’s even worse that since I’m gay, everyone thinks I’m SUPPOSED to love this.   Everyone talks to me like this is the fucking super bowl for gay people, and want to know how excited I am.

But I’m not. In fact, I hate it. I hate that everyone gets to have fun except me. I hate that once again I’m on the sidelines. I hate that my personality has once again not clicked with yet another group of people. I hate that when you’re gay, society tries to box you in, forcing you to only assimilate with other LGBTQ people. Because I don’t feel that they are my people.

At no point during that flight did i ever feel represented. At no point did I ever feel welcomed. At no point did I ever feel included. Or even wanted. The reality is that gay people are just like straight people – We’re diverse. There is no one lifestyle that we like. So, to assume that all gays want to wear rainbows, listen to Madonna, and get smashed as they gossip like 1950’s housewives is bullshit. And what’s even shittier is that the gays willingly jump into this lifestyle like there’s no other way to live.

 

So, from me to the world, I kindly say, fuck all of you.

~ The Dark Horse

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London Bound (Or, The Excitement of Something Big Ahead)

london

So, in 2 days I’m being flown to London for my next trip as a travel writer. I’m so excited and curious about this diverse and sprawling metropolis. London rivals New York City on the global cities index, being the only two Alpha ++ cities on the planet. A mixture of international traffic, economic fervor, and arts & culture keep these cities on top of the world.

But London will be different than New York…

New York streets look like this:

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Whereas London looks like this:

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Two cities, built very differently. One built up, the other built out.

 

BUT ASIDE FROM ALL THAT…

The main reason for this post is the feeling I have right now. I fully believe that travel has an incredible healing power. Travel can reset your mind, restart your body, and reenergize what’s been lost.

Isn’t it Elsa herself who says, “It’s funny how some distance, makes every thing seem small…” 

Travel is the ultimate cure for whatever ails you… although, perhaps it’s always advisable to see a doctor if something is seriously wrong.

takeoff

 

But does anything compare to the takeoff of an airplane?  Or the anticipation before a trip?

Even if there’s no ocean where I’m going to, before I travel I can always seem to smell the saltwater. Sun seems to radiate from somewhere. Everything shimmers with starbursts and sunbeams. I absolutely love the feeling I get before a trip!

It’s a depression smashing, anxiety exploding, shot of pure positivity.

 

Also… as is tradition on this blog, if there’s ever a city that gets destroyed in a movie, I have to show it.

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Does that not inspire you to hop on a plane?????

Come on people, Adventure awaits! 

 

~ The Dark Horse

Never give up, and never proofread! Unless you’re getting paid…. then proofread, proofread, proofread!)

Visiting Home After Being Gone a While

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So, I’m back in Ohio right now visiting home, and it’s been very pleasant. The memories of how people treated me here are finally fading away as I get older, and I have to admit…I think that now that I finally feel successful…whatever anyone here thinks of me no longer matters.

For example- If someone here wants to hate me for being gay, well… I get paid to travel the world and write stories about it… Tell me Mr. white trash Ohioan, what do you do? Now that I’m happy and now that I feel worthwhile, ignorant trash suddenly seems like nothing more than, well, ignorant trash.

 

Dolly Parton has a song called Home (a very good song in fact)

 

And so much of it makes sense now. There really is no place like home. For better or for worse, there is only town where you grow up (unless you move). But for most of us, there’s only one town where you experience grade school and high school, and all the crap that comes along with it. And whether your experience sucked like mine, or was great like the some prom queen, it leaves a mark inside of you that shapes who you are.

There’s always something powerful about coming back. For me, it’s two-fold. Part of it makes me remember why I ran so far away. This town just isn’t me. It never was. I always wanted the world, I wanted to devote my life to a passion. And that just isn’t how most Ohioans feel. But at the same time, I also appreciate the things here that I can’t have in Manhattan. I love all the tree-lined streets, the quiet nights, the fireflies, the large nearby parks with wandering riverbeds and deers and foxes and squirrels and frogs. I love nature. And that love of nature is a big part of what spurred my love of travel. Coming home is always nice because it refuels my natural side. The side I lose in New York.

In a few weeks I take my next trip for work. I’m off to London!

london

 

I’m very excited! But London is big and sprawling and crowded. It’s the opposite of my hometown (and that will partly make me love it) But, it’s also encouraging me to suck up as much Ohio as I can right now.

I’m going to walk the family dog, ride my bike, sleep with my windows open, and embrace everything Ohio is. Everything I left behind.  Everything I hate. And Everything I still love.

 

~ The Dark Horse

(This was… 60% proofread?)

 

 

 

TRAVEL>>> There Really is Nothing Better

mig

Next month I’m being flown to Mexico to write an article.  This is going to be the first time I’ve been paid to do travel writing. It feels like a complete dream come true!

I honestly don’t have words – what is there to stay that could possibly capture how accomplished I feel?  Growing up, watching the Travel Channel, dreaming of escaping my hometown in Ohio… and now, I somehow have one of those jobs that everyone going up told me wasn’t real.

I’m from trash-bucket Ohio. Once manufacturing died, so did my hometown. The mentality of my hometown isn’t “Work hard, you’ll go places!” Instead it’s, “The world will eat you alive! Ohio isn’t that bad! Do you know what your chances are of actually being successful? You’re just going to wind up back here with your tail between your legs!”

Like they say, misery loves company. 

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And let me make this very clear —–> If you’re the kind of person who enjoys coming home from work everyday and sitting in your Lay-Z-Boy to watch Real Housewives….THAT IS TOTALLY OK! I have nothing against you! The problems arise because most people who live their lives like are also the types to who hate the idea of others doing something else. That hatred is the problem. 

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It almost seems like they are trying to keep others down. Like they don’t want to watch others do more with their life. That is what I hate. You should never have to be surrounded by people who clearly don’t want to see you succeed.

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Ah, but bitches, let me tell you….

Once you escape that cycle, life can get good. It can take a while, and it can be hard (well, it will be hard, unfortunately) After years upon years of having people shit on you, change doesn’t come overnight. The journey to happiness is surely an uphill battle.

 

But it’s totally worth it.

Trust me.

IT IS TOTALLY WORTH IT.

 

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Ah Mexico… on someone else’s dime.  Me, writing the night away.

Oh , god it’s almost orgasmic…

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I may be pushing 30…but I’m finally starting to feel like my life is starting. My life is 1/3 over…and just beginning. But, better late than never, right?

Plus, I remember Steve Carell has that line in Little Miss Sunshine, where he says something like, “Your struggles are what end up making you good writer.”

So hopefully I have lucrative writing career ahead!

Hi ho!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ho

 

 

I’m Getting Paid to go to Mexico!

mex

So, major, major things are happening! 

I moved to NYC recently to start interning, and since moving here, everything is just booming! One of my internships is at a travel magazine. In February I started blogging for them, which turned into writing articles for the website, and I helped edit the last issue, which means my name got printed in the magazine’s Masthead…That’s right, my name…..IN PRINTIN A MAGAZINE! (Can I officially start referring to myself as writer now?  Have I “made it” ? )

And now, I’m working on my first feature article to get published in the print magazine, AND I just found out I’m taking what’s called a press trip to Mexico.

I never knew what a press trip was.

I never knew how much money could be spent by companies. It’s literally mind-boggling.  As someone who has spent my entire life bored out of my mind working in restaurants and retail, working 9 hour days only to have a 30 minute break, just to make 8 dollars an hour…. It’s seriously fucking crazy. Our magazine is sent gifts ALL THE TIME by places and companies wanting us to write about them.

And a press trip is where a tourism company, hotel, or airline, PAYS REPORTERS TO TRAVEL THERE in exchange for having an article written about it.

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So….

I get to travel.

AND GET PAID. 

Is this even real life?

 

People around the world, listen to me. Hard work actually does pay off. I spent so many years thinking I’d be bored and miserable forever. Thinking I wasn’t good enough for a job I loved. Thinking I wasn’t smart enough to make my dreams come true.

I didn’t start grad school until I was 27. I won’t walk and receive my diploma from Harvard until I’m 30.

And up until I got back in school, my life was a raging shitshow (as any of you will know if you’ve been reading my blog before then)

I was a late bloomer. Depression, loneliness, anxiety, self-doubt, and self-hatred controlled my life since I was 10 years old.

…since my life went to hell.

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But you know what, I didn’t give up.  And if any of you out there feel like you’re the outcast, or feel hated, or even if you hate yourself – It can get better. 

Hope is real. And hope can get you through.

And I know it’s hard. I fully understand that believing in yourself, when all you hear your entire life is how shitty you are, is basically fucking impossible. It takes so much strength. So much hardship. So much perseverance.

But it’s so worth it.

You deserve happiness. You deserve success. You deserve it all.

 

So the next time some bitch comes along and tries to put you down, rock some hardcore Miranda Priestly realness…

mex5

 

And remember…

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You’re better than them.  You always were.

 

Travel on my friends,

The Dark Horse

 

(This was written out of passion, not logic! So, no, this wasn’t proofread)

Dispatches From The Far North

nwt

 

Have I ever mentioned that after college I ran away into the woods?

 

LA had worn me down and beaten me to the ground. I was so depressed I could barely stand up most of the time. And then that’s when I discovered American Transcendentalism, and the ideals of running away and escaping capitalist society.

I took Thoreau for his word and ran away.  And now that I’m older and read Thoreau more clearly, I’m pretty fuckin annoyed… because he never actually ran away. He lived on a lake only a few miles from town. He literally would walk home and eat with his family and shit… what a twat.

I on the other hand, during my period of total infatuation with his ideas, really did run away into the middle of nowhere. Where there were no roads. No phones. No sewage systems…

I went to the Northwest Territories, a little north of the Great Slave Lake.

There, I lived in a “cabin” which was really just a plywood box that was covered in arctic tarp. Recently, I found the pictures I took of inside my cabin.

Whenever I’m feeling down, writing and art has always saved me. And so, being up there was no different.  Armed with nothing but sidewalk chalk (why was there sidewalk chalk? I have no idea…) Anyways, armed with sidewalk chalk and bare plywood walls, I got to work.

Here are a few of my derelict masterpieces:

 

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Here, with CHERRY BOOM, I needed color, and I need fun. I went for a retro-Pac Man thing because it was exciting.  It was something that made me feel like I wasn’t completely lost from society. A memento that there was a world full of video games, ice tea, and mattresses that I could return to at some point.

 

 

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This was my manifesto to the world. I wrote this, and then read this to myself every night before going to sleep. It was a way for me to tell myself that I’m not done. I went to the woods to find myself, but the woods wouldn’t be my final resting place.

 

 

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My absolute favorite.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve written these words in my journal, or said this under my breath as I’m about to take on a challenging day. The albatross has always been my spirit animal. They’re so large, so misunderstood, and so solitary, that it’s hard to imagine how they survive. But, against the odds, and against the elements, these birds flourish, even though they can spend months over the open ocean without ever even seeing land. They’re stronger than you’d ever believe. And so, I look to the albatross, flying high, for inspiration.

 

Eye to the sky!

 

~ The Dark Horse