We asked seven of our friends across the LGBTQ spectrum to tell us about the way they travel, and even find escape closer to home.
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When it comes to LGBTQ folks, we often see images and stories of loud and glittered parties, political activism, or highly curated social media profiles. But LGBTQ folks’ lives also exist in quiet moments they give to themselves—especially when nobody is watching. We asked seven of our friends across the LGBTQ spectrum to share more about what “getting away” and rest mean to them, whether they travel or choose to create their escape closer to home.
Name: Jacenne C
Self ID: Hopeful romantic, imperfect human, and constantly evolving to be a better version of herself
What it means to get away, and to rest: Jacenne has been to over 40 countries and happily shared pictures with elephants and farm animals, in several baths, and among great works of art. “Travel makes my heart feel alive,” Jacenne says. But the need to re-center and breathe comes no matter where you are. “I’m usually headed for a bath with eucalyptus oil and lavender chamomile candles—whether at home or on a journey elsewhere. My body gets tense when I have a lot on my mind,” she says. When looking to relax, no matter what country Jacenne is in, she says, “It’s a simple thing, but a few deep breaths can really make a difference … and having some comfort food close by isn’t a bad idea either.”
Name: Nico C
Self ID: Queer, Colombian-born, US-based
What it means to get away: How to get away when always on the go was a challenge for Nico because of a busy travel schedule for work and family that lives abroad. “This allowed me the real luck of traveling constantly, although rarely in a way that felt truly my own. I usually save my vacation time to visit my folks, so it’s incredibly important to ground myself to things that are ‘in transit,’” Nico says. Renting a car offers Nico the most relief when traveling. “During the pandemic, it’s been hard to acclimate to stillness,” Nico says, “which helped me realize that relaxation was never really about stillness or motion, but rather, agency. Sometimes I’ll still turn my living room into a rental car, blasting music and singing while pretending to zoom down a highway, ‘getting away’ just because I can.”
Name: Taylor W
Self ID: Black Queer GNC Woman, educator, DJ, $ex werker, blogger, and PhD student
What it means to rest: Taylor counts enjoying their birthday in a milk bath amongst chosen family at a NYC penthouse as a particularly memorable restful experience. “I loved feeling on top of the world,” Taylor says. “The feeling of being queer and lavish was exactly what I needed!” It is Taylor’s community that holds them accountable for prioritizing rest and having grace with themselves. This is especially necessary when holding multiple identities that enforce additional labor in our society. “I center my life around Black Joy: doing things that bring me joy and help to create a world/space where Black people can be happy without feeling guilt!”
Name: Federico P
Self ID: Pansexual, son of Cuban immigrants, after-school arts educator
What it means to relax: Federico grew up in Miami, a place many people consider a getaway. But for him, it’s home. After his parents left Cuba during the Revolution, they made a concerted effort to not let their culture slip away. “Even after 28 years, I feel that upbringing as clearly as when I was three years old by my Abuelo’s mango tree,” Federico says. Because of where and how he grew up, he has found that the biggest challenge to relaxing is in not postponing it until he can find that perfect moment. “If you wait ’til you can go on that dream trip, you might find yourself wholly exhausted from the day-in, day-out life needed to sustain yourself in late stage capitalism before you ever get to book the destination,” he says. His advice: Find a moment in each day, whether for an hour or less, that you can do something for yourself. Relax on your own time in whatever way brings respite and comfort.
Name: Nicole S
Self ID: Human, woman, transgender woman, disabled, amputee, vegan, daughter, and recruiter
What it means to get away: Nicole, like many, heavily relies on her smartphone for both her work and social life, especially throughout the pandemic. “Something I have learned over the past couple of years,” she says, “is the importance of tuning out the noise of the world by disconnecting from my phone” [with no-phone days]. “It doesn’t help that many of the apps we use are designed to play on our emotional and physical state. It was scary at first but has made it easier with tricks like using navigation on airplane mode. This practice, has ultimately brought me so much relief!”
Name: Nyala M
Self ID: Sister, aunt, friend, artist, filmmaker, and writer
What it means to get away: Nyala has traveled the world more figuratively through school, work, and long-lasting friendships overseas. “When I travel, it’s been with someone else who is super familiar with the place we are going,” she says. The opportunity to get a local lens offers joy, gratitude, and something that can’t be read about. At the same time, Nyala loves just the opposite of a local guide. Every time she travels, she makes a point to go exploring alone. “I don’t think it’s really a getaway if you don’t get lost,” she says.
Name: Kris P
Self ID: Lesbian
What it means to relax: When Kris was younger, she struggled with the word lesbian. “The world was a dangerous place as soon as I settled into that identity in my 20s,” she says. [I was forced to question] “what kinds of wars you might start before holding your loved one’s hand.” This anxiety shifted when she met her wife. “Watching the way she moved through the world with such strength in her identity made me learn to love that label,” Kris says. “I can’t imagine wanting to be called anything else.” Consequently, Kris identifies as a homebody when not attending a queer event or something outdoors. “Relaxation for me means either being alone or being surrounded by the community.” Like many LGBTQ folks, avoiding code-switching in a cis-het society is vital to Kris’ relaxation.