Stefan Arestis and Sebastien Chaneac – a handsome gay couple from London, who back in 2014, uprooted their lives to embark on the adventure of a lifetime.
Stefan (who is Greek Cypriot and born and raised in North London) and Sebastien (who is from Lyon, France) met over twelve years ago have been together ever since. In June 2014, after many years of saving and planning, they quit their jobs (and lives) to jet off to Asia.
Nomadic Boys is their gay travel blog, chronicling their adventures as they travel the world together. We have an exclusive interview with them.
Have you encountered any homophobia during your travels? How careful you are? Isn’t it weird and diminishing the idea of travel which should be freedom?
Overall we have been ok, though we are generally very cautious about PDAs and more often than not, people think we are brothers rather than lovers, so in places with dubious LGBTQ laws, we just go with that to avoid problems. One issue we did have was leaving Beirut airport a few years ago. We were in Lebanon on a project for Nomadic Boys and had posted some gay content online not appreciating that the Internet is heavily regulated in Lebanon (and extremely homophobic). Upon leaving, both of us were pulled aside by the immigration staff and told out of the blue that our names are blacklisted and we should not have been allowed in the country, and will not be allowed to return ever. No formal reason was given, but we put it down to the gay things we had posted online during our trip. We pursued it with our respective embassies afterwards (me in London, Seby in France), but sadly never got to the bottom of it. Afterwards, similar experiences happened to other LGBTQ bloggers leaving Beirut airport. A sad reality of the world we live in that there is still a great deal of work to be done for our LGBTQ community.
What destinations are left on your bucket list?
Ton – but top of the list are Antarctica, New Zealand, Australia and Iceland.
Traveling a lot you, probably, needed to get yourself vaccinated sometimes. How do you see all disputes around the Covid-19 vaccines?
The only dispute we’ve seen to date is when the issue has been politicised and misinformation is spread, leading to a rise in anti-vax sentiment. We just got ours done early asap in the UK and haven’t looked back. Moving forward, the main issue that will arise is how to have an internationally recognized “Vaccine Passport” – we’ve kind of been through this before when the idea of having a “passport” was introduced after WW1 right? The other issue we foresee is the booster shots. After 6 months of the second dose, the efficacy starts to wane and boosters are now becoming the next thing to get. We’ll shortly be due ours.
What apps do you use regularly that make your life easier?
GoogleMaps is the main one. It’s been a lifesaver. We use GoogleDrive to save important documents and sync across all our devices. We’re also big on our social media so Instagram, TikTok and Facebook remain prominent on our phone home screens. Others include XE Currency, AccuWeather, and Notes app.
That time we were almost arrested for being gay in Delhi… How was?
So this happened back in 2014 when India has reintroduced it’s anti-gay law. Today this has been repealed and is unlikely to happen again. Back when it happened, it was the case that the police would target gay places and bully them as a way to illicit a bribe from the club promoter. This is what happened in our case – lights suddenly went out at 1 am when the police arrived and we were all told to leave via the back door quietly and go home while the club owner paid the police their usual weekly cash bribe outside.
Do you work while you travel? Volunteer and earn locally, manage a digital business? I think lots of people ask you how you support your work financially.
We work online which enables us to be “digitally nomadic”. That’s how we afford to travel. Nomadic Boys has become our full-time vocation and we feel very fortunate for this to be our way of living!
We are a European Journal so… Europe… How much did you travel in Europe and what are the most important things you can say about it.
As we are both passionate Europeans, we’ve traveled to almost every place across our continent. We love it and cannot get enough of it. Covid has forced us to travel even more here (not a bad thing!) as America, Asia and Australasia have been closed off till now. The most important thing about Europe is that is you have some of the most impressive places here – rich with culture, and also some of the most gay-friendly places – particularly in the West, Northern and some of Mediterranean Europe. Sadly, Eastern Europe is lagging massively with LGBTQ rights, some even introducing some pretty nasty anti-gay propaganda laws, particularly in places like Russia, Turkey, Poland, Hungary and Lithuania.
You said once about our city: „We never felt more comfortable holding hands in public as we explored Vienna.“ How come?
We found Vienna to be very gay-friendly. We felt comfortable traveling here as a gay couple and loved it. Obviously, as with every city, there will be some parts that you need to be careful in, but for the most part, we found Vienna to be super safe.
What do you think will be the Gay Capital 2022? Or, which is your favorite.
As attention around the Olympic Games 2024 starts to heat up, Paris could start to get a lot of marketing generally. Sydney is hosting WorldPride in 2023, so the build-up to that could lead to becoming a headlining gay capital in 2022. Over here in Europe, we’ve got EuroPride in Belgrade in 2022 – whilst Serbia doesn’t have the best reputation for its LGBTQ rights, it’s always wonderful to see such places getting pink press as at the end of the day, this only serves to aid the local LGBTQ community right?
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