The best way to know the world and its people is through taking the effort to travel through it. True to this feeling of wandering, discovering and learning this way; the Gay Explorer was born when Borja Matheu left his job and decided to travel the world. What sets this explorer apart though, is how he chooses to learn. By going on dates!
True to his fascinating method- Borja travels to the destinations and goes on dates in the destination to discover it in the best way possible.
Gaysi caught up with him while he hops around on his travels and here’s what he has to say on travel and doing things you love.
Q. Tell us how close the idea of traveling is to you.
Travel is part of my DNA. I started traveling at a very young age, just when I was about to turn 2 years old. My first trip was a very long one where I was onboard a cruise ship for two months. My parents love to travel and had been exploring the world for a while. So, when I was born, the only option was for me to tag along. They had a gay, fabulous and traveller baby boy!
Q. How did the idea of being a gay explorer going on dates in different places occur to you?
The LGBTQ+ component has been present in my life since the beginning as I’m a gay man raised by a gay family (yes, I’ve got two moms!). I knew I was very lucky and that my family would accept me no matter what. I also knew that not everyone was in that position and that many members of the community felt scared and rejected.
When I decided to take a sabbatical to travel, I also decided to do something to inspire and empower the community. I had identified digital marketing and public speaking as my strengths and suddenly the idea of creating a documentary series came to live. I would be able to reach a broad audience and share vast amounts of information in a concise and entertaining manner. Therefore, The Gay Explorer aims to make viewers feel proud of who they are and to explore destinations while raising awareness of issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community featuring unique individuals. The values are to inspire, empower and entertain.
Q. What made you choose the places you chose?
The two main factors that affected my itinerary where: places I always wanted to go and the places I had never been to. I wanted to prepare a trip where each destination would be a discovery and where I would leave having learnt something new.
Q. Tell us about a funny incident from your travels.
I filmed the documentary series in 7 cities but I did have some off time where I went to explore other destinations. One that was not planned but ended up happening was Bali. During an amazing night out in Silom 4, Bangkok’s gay district, we decided that the best thing to do next morning at 10AM would be to jump on a 4-hour flight to go to Bali. So, we booked our flights and hotel at 5AM that same night and went to bed. A few hours later, we receive a wakeup call from the hotel saying that we had requested to be woken up as we needed to take a flight. We had completely forgotten and miraculously we were able to pack our room, go to the airport and board in a span of 2 hours! Pro Tip: Never plan your next holiday while partying.
Q. What have your travels taught you about the LGBTQ+ community beyond Spain?
What has surprised me the most is that Spain is way more progressive than what we think. I’ve grown being used to the fact that same-sex marriage is legal (we were the fourth country in the world to pass the law!), seeing LGBTQ+ couples on the street, celebrating pride etc. but with my travels, it’s been excruciating yet inspiring to learn and meet people from countries where being homosexual is illegal, gets you jailed or even killed. Reality is that there’s a lot to be done but it’s heart-warming to see how progressively the LGBTQ+ rights are moving in the right direction and how willingly everyone in the community wants to help and share love.
Q. Where is the gay explorer going next?
Plans are still in the making, but I’m surely treating myself to some relaxing time on the Spanish Mediterranean coast followed by a trip to London. Other locations that are being mapped out are California, India, Thailand and The Philippines. More to come on that one!
Q. What are your plans after this project?
The Gay Explorer has just launched season 1 of the documentary series. The first season is composed of 7 captivating episodes taking place in 4 different continents. The pick-up is great and I’m sure we will see a second season coming. Also, The Gay Explorer is not only a destination explorer, there are many things to explore in this world so expect some new content branching out of the channel!
You can find The Gay Explorer on Youtube: