The following travel chat encompasses the travelling lifestyle of lesbian couple Fabia and Gabi in the light of their sexuality. Gabi, who works as a doula, couldn't be there for the interview as she had to rush to the hospital when an expecting mother went into labour. We talked to Fabia who let us into their world full of travel, respect for contrasting viewpoints, urge for equality and, most importantly, love!
How would you like to describe your travelling self in a nutshell?
My first international trip was in 1996. A long time ago! I was 20 and spent 3 months travelling around Europe. And then I never stopped. It is what I love the most in life (after Gabi, of course). Gabi started working with me and soon we fell in love. Two years later we got married and started the blog in 2014. Gabi and I organize custom LGBT tours in and around Barcelona. I think we bring about a distinct feminine viewpoint to the tours we do and that's what sets them apart.
Does being a part of the LGBTQIA + community enrich your travel experience or make it somewhat difficult to get by?
Both. Sometimes it is difficult that we are not welcomed everywhere. Our first trip together was to Egypt, where it is a crime to be LGBT. We had to book separate beds and put them together to sleep and in the morning separate them again. We could not kiss or do anything that would give away about us being a couple. We had to lie every time people asked why we were travelling together. We said we were cousins. It was not nice, especially because we are very loving and kiss all the time. And I believe it also enriches the experience because we are always searching for people and activities related to the community and we get to know wonderful people and places. We become more and more open-minded and tolerant with all the differences.
Do you like to label yourself as an ‘LGBTQIA+’ traveller?
Yes! We are very proud to be lesbians and we believe it is important to give as much visibility as possible. So we always carry the rainbow flag with us and make sure we spread love.
Which are your favourite destinations to travel to - places you think cater extensively to the community?
Spain is a great place! That’s why we chose to live here. Barcelona and Madrid have so much to do and the acceptance is huge. Even in the smaller cities, we can find many bars, like in Santiago de Compostela and Granada. We were not expecting so many bars and clubs. And the people are very friendly. Paris is also fantastic. The greatest number of lesbian bars we have seen! In South America, It'll definitely be Uruguay and Argentina. Uruguay has many laws to guarantee rights and equality for LGBT+s. We were very impressed.
Are there LQBTQIA+travellers you look up to? Would you like to mention a few of them?
Yes! Rafael Leick from @ViajaBi. He is Brazilian like us and does a great job. @v_colorido, also Brazilian. And of course @nomadicboys, @RaviRndTheWorld, @MegCale, @twobadtourists and so many others. Always tuned on @IGLTA and its members. We would like to see more lesbians. There’s a lot of gays bloggers and influencers, but not many lesbians. Or trans, bi... we need more people sharing their points of view.
What laws concerning the LGBTQIA+ community should change and can change across the world, in your opinion?
There’s so much to change yet! In many countries, it is still a crime to be LGBT, even punishable by death. And in many countries where the laws have been changed, the violence and homophobia continue to persist on a macro level. We need laws to guarantee equal rights for all and make homophobia a crime and also more campaigns and projects to increase acceptance. Everyone should have the right to get married and adopt children who can take both parents' names. And above all, everyone should be able to live without being afraid and with support from family, friends and society as a whole.
Have you faced discrimination because of your sexual orientation while travelling?
Never violence, only non-friendly looks and questions like: are you sure you want a double bed and not 2 single beds? Or are you mother and daughter? Then again we avoid countries where we know we would have problems being ourselves.
Do you often find gay bars to meet fellow queers while travelling? Which have been some of the best gay bars you have been to?
As lesbians, it is hard. We usually do not feel very comfortable. We love a bar called Atame here in Barcelona. It’s super friendly, be ut the bartenders or the customers. Recently I had been to Las Vegas and liked the Quadz Bar. The crowd was charming and so very diverse. And right next to it, Piranha was also quite cool. It's a shame that good lesbian bars are so few in number. Here in Barcelona we have Carita Bonita and Nenis Party. And some other parties happening every now and then.
Which Pride event have you enjoyed the most till date? And which such event do you intend to check off your bucket list as soon as possible?
Difficult one! Pride in São Paulo, my hometown, is insane. The biggest in the world. And the Brazilians are super happy and friendly people. Pride in São Paulo is like a crazy party. I like it here in Barcelona because there are so many families participating every year. We have been planning to go to Pride Amsterdam but haven't been able to plan it till now. And we would love to be a part of WorldPride NYC this year, to celebrate 50 years of Stonewall.
Okay, so moving away from travel a little. When did you first discover about your sexuality?
I am pansexual, I was married to a man before. Gabi was my lesbian relationship, I was nearly 40 when I met her. For me, my sexuality has never been a problem.
Has it ever been a problem for your friends and family? I only ask because I am from India and I know a lot of people here who won't come out of the closet in the fear of their hurting their families' feelings!
My father passed away 10 years ago. If he was alive I am sure I would have problems... with my friends, it was okay because most of my friends were very open minded. I worked in arts and culture, so luckily everyone was friendly and accepting. It was difficult for my mother in the beginning. The night I told her I was dating Gabi she cried for hours. She was afraid of what people would think. With time she realized she was the only one who was worried about it. And then things got better. Gabi’s parents are young and take it very well. Her brother is also gay. But her grandparents did not go to our wedding. They treat me very well, but I guess the wedding was too much. I can imagine how things are difficult in India... one must be brave to come out of the closet
I am glad to know that people important to you and Gabi have come to accept it with love and happiness. Hopefully people will get inspired by the likes of you to be more accepting and tolerant!
Hopefully! Step by step we will change that. We made a documentary about same-sex marriage in Brazil with interviews and it follows our wedding preparations as well. It’s on YouTube with subtitles in English, Spanish, French and German.
Last but not least, why do you think gay travel matters?
We need to encourage people to travel more because it’s the best way to learn about differences and to respect them. But we, the community members, need to be able to travel safe. The work you do is important, to spread information and knowledge so people can travel the world with confidence.
Reach out to us on Twitter!