So many of us want to travel, to give up our jobs and spend our lives visiting the most exciting places in the world. But while this is little more than a dream for most of us, there are some who have made it a reality.
Adam Groffman is one of the lucky ones. Raised in the US, after graduating from university in Boston, he jumped straight into a full-time job. Three years later, still at the same job, Groffman spent a long weekend in Iceland, an experience that he says changed his life. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to travel. He gave up his comfortable job and embarked on a year of backpacking, starting his successful gay travel blog Travels Of Adam along the way.
“After that life-changing trip to Iceland, the first place I went on my year of backpacking was Spain,” Groffman says. “I was only going to stay a week or two, but let’s face it: it was Spain. I was there a month! Madrid captured me with its crazy nightlife and I just found it hard to leave—which ended up being a theme for my trip. Just about everywhere I traveled I found it hard to leave.”
Through his travels, Groffman has built a dedicated following on his blog where he shares valuable tips on making the most of the travelling experience. “I remember a yoga instructor in Iceland who had given me all these travel tips before I visited Reykjavik and as social media was becoming more and more popular, I realized I wanted to give something back too. So I started my blog as a place to share my own experiences and travel tips.”
Travelling as a gay man, while mostly full of fun, can have its pitfalls. “When I was backpacking in Asia, staying in hostels every night, it did get to be a bit lonely,” Groffman says. “It wasn’t always very easy to find other gay backpackers. And, really, sometimes you just want a bit of camp—the music, the bars, the boys. So in places where society isn’t quite as open, it can be more difficult to find a scene or even just a friend.” Although Groffman is a keen user of PlanetRomeo during his travels, in some countries, especially where being gay is not accepted, finding a date can be a very difficult task.
For the most part, however, Groffman’s experiences as a gay traveller have been very positive. “I remember my first night time ever visiting Berlin. I’d been here about 6 hours, having arrived from Vietnam that evening, before I found myself in some boy’s bedroom.” Aside from Berlin, one of the world’s gay capitals, Groffman also names New York, London, Barcelona and Tel Aviv as the best destinations for gay tourists. “It’s hard to beat the nightlife in Berlin, the beaches in Tel Aviv and the culture in London,” he says. “The first time I visited Tel Aviv, I was just meant to be backpacking through the Middle East, but instead I found myself enamored so much with the history of the region, the politics and the boys.”
Aside from the cities you’d expect to have a booming gay nightlife, Groffman has found an exciting gay scene in most of the countries he’s visited. “Even smaller destinations like Stockholm and Prague have really great gay scenes,” he says. “The beautiful thing I’ve discovered over the years is that just about any destination can be a gay destination. It’s always about the people you meet and, like we all know, there’s more than often going to be someone gay nearby.”
But now for the important question. Which country has the hottest guys? “Everyone’s got their type, but I’m partial to the Mediterranean and the Middle East,” Groffman says. “The culture is friendly and usually the guys from those countries are a bit more open to meeting with tourists.” So where’s next on Groffman’s list of places to visit? “It’s almost embarrassing, but I’ve never been to South America – that’s on my must-visit list for 2016! In November I went as far south as Costa Rica and had an amazing time visiting the gay bars and clubs in San José and the gay beaches of Manuel Antonio. I can’t wait to explore things a bit further south.”
These days, Groffman is living in Berlin, a city he has come to call home. “It’s a great place to be based as there’s constant movement in the city, other people coming and going and the atmosphere just makes it a great place to live as a freelancer who travels so much.” And though he’s no longer backpacking, Groffman is keen to urge other would-be travellers to take the plunge too. “Traveling is really a unique experience,” he says. “It can be so easy to make fast friends when you’re traveling—someone you meet on a train and suddenly you’re sharing a hotel room together an hour later, sharing all your deepest, darkest secrets. When you open yourself to those experiences, you really connect with people—even if it’s fleeting.”
If you’re a traveller, or are interested in gay travel, be sure to check out Adam’s blog for tips on how to do it right.