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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Scary Gay Friend

Hi all.

My extended pit stop in Albuquerque is winding down and I'm afraid I have once again been bitten by the travel bug. I've only been home for around a month since my last trip and already wanderlust has once again taken its toll on me. I feel I am ready to start exploring once again. I learned a lot of lessons from my first trip. The first ring was a balls out adventure through the western US and far southwestern Canada. I spent only a few days in each spot, and unfortunately, passed a lot of great things along the way making haste to my next destination. I spent a ton of cash. I made a few friends, many of whom suddenly seem not to be returning my phone calls/emails/texts and facebook messages.

This bothers me. A lot. A whole great big bunch in fact. It's caused some of the inner voices in my head to wonder what I said/did/thought/presented/am to cause this.

I'm the type of person who wants a lot of wonderful people in my life. I want people who are supportive of me. People who let me crash at their place when I am in town. People who I can reliably get pictures from when their kids celebrate a new birthday if I cannot attend. I want people to ask me to their home for thanksgiving dinner. I want to be considered a close family friend, a confidant, well..... I want to be one of those people that others think highly enough of to participate in their lives and accompany them through this fantastic blessing of life.

One big point of confusion with me is the difference between how we treat other people and how we expect others to treat us. Before you roll your eyes and expect some rant on how we should follow the golden rule, this blog ain't one of those guilt trips. Please resist the urge to pack your emotional baggage. Instead this blog is on eagerness and how we must be willing to both explore, be genuine, but at the same time not give too much of ourselves away to someone new, be the new acquaintance is a romantic interest or new friend.

I've always wondered how many people are privately pushing me away because they know I am gay. What is it about me that is so scary to so many people? Why do I seem to be able to get along with so many people on the surface yet so many seem to slip away? Why do so many not think highly enough of me to return my messages or communications on a timely basis, or at all.....?

Maybe the road is a much more lonely place than I thought it was going to be.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Goodyear Rule: Rubbers And Gay Men

We've all had the notion of rubbers being super important whenever a relationship exists between two men. We've repeatedly had the notion that using one, preferably many, forms of personal protection to prevent the spread of disease between people to be important. I get all of that. Really. It's important and I am sure many, many people have been spared impediments to their health thanks to their common use.

Sometimes I think that the quality of relationships and the commitment required between us is somehow cheapened by these preventative measures. If I find someone who I really like, at what point can I really drop my defenses and really unite with my partner as my one true mate? Can I ever really, completely offer myself to my partner if I insist on using preventative measures whenever we choose to share ourselves? It seems like continuing to use them for a certain period of time lets a small bit of distrust develop between partners. Distrust, tends to be an extremely destructive force in a relationship. I've seen one tablespoon of distrust be enough to destroy some of the strongest, more beautiful relationships I've ever seen in my life.

On the other hand, we've all heard horror stories about how a friend of a friend trusted their partner, their partner cheated, and both then ended up with a horrible disease and incredibly hurtful relationship on their hands afterwards.

So, when is the best point in time to actually drop your defensive shields with your partner? One month? Six months? A Year? Thanks for your personal emails and comments.

- Brad

Monday, September 13, 2010

Thoughts on Personal Etiquette

September 13, 2010

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Have you noticed how difficult it is to speak, interact, book a date, or simply communicate with *anyone* lately? Have all of these new communication options made us functionally unable to date, have meaningful relationships with a core group of friends and to keep social commitments? What has this done to the dating scene? Can we really successfully meet someone for a date online with these social problems?

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 * * * * My Rant * * * * * * * * * *
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I think something may have physically changed within our brains as human beings thanks to constant communication overload. With work voicemail, work email, work phone, work instant messenger, personal cell phone, personal email, home telephone, Facebook, twitter, google SMS/google voice, Yahoo Instant Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger and dozens of other communication alternatives, each person probably has 12-15 things they need to check on an ongoing basis to continue the flow of communication from their friends and other contacts. On top of this, each website with your bank/credit card company/student loan company/YouTube account/flicker etc that wants to have you log into their website to view a "special message" with a "secure" mailbox instead of using your personal @whatever email address.

With the constant log-ins, medium and website hoping, we have become accustomed to communicating in a style where the timing of conversations has little meaning now. We're accustomed to having a deep, well thought out, extremely brief response that is relevant and (sometimes) adds a lot of value to a conversation. We've also become accustomed to being able to return a message at any time without regard to the amount of time, or recipient urgency, that is required for a response. This has royally messed up our speech patterns. I find myself having meals with my friends where I will simply say something out loud while another person is in the middle of expressing a thought. It's not something I consciously do, but I have become so accustomed to responding with a thought in a chat room while the other party is typing. I now regularly interrupt my friends and start to express my own thoughts on something before they are even finished expressing their current thought. It's so damned rude of me to do and I catch myself doing it constantly.It's also caused any kind of personal etiquette between people with social norms, scheduling, and manors to completely fall to complete disarray. With so many options and the stress of different mediums, It's caused my dating life to completely fall to shit lately. It's caused a great deal of friction between myself and old friends, potential partners, and, honestly - I'm really, really tired of it. Many personal relationships are now failing from this.

I now frequently do not have voicemail messages returned from a plethora of people. My texts are frequently not returned. I refuse to believe people are so busy that they forget to respond to a message that comes to a device that is on their person for the better part of 14 hours per day that they check constantly. I also have people that want to take 45 minutes to text when a simple 5 minute conversation could have solved the problem. I also have people who now have a favorite communication medium. Some people insist I use Facebook to have any type of ongoing conversation or to book social occasions with them. I now have other people who insist on only SMS with cell phones (which I hate). Others, still, insist on a spontaneous call for an event and feel they are so self-important they are better than anyone else and insist on not using a calendar. The irony in all of this is that everyone now has a phone with a calendar function on it. It's just interesting to me how picky we have all become and how hard it now is to book simple social events or get in touch with people. This is stupid. The purpose for all of these mediums was to communicate better and solve interpersonal problems based on previous communication issues. Can we please pick agree on a common standard and not be so self-righteous that we at least look at other mediums and keep our social lives working?

This brings me to dating challenges. I'm looking for someone I have chemistry with and who can communicate well. As you can obviously see from my weekly assault on the English language that my blog sometimes is, I'm obviously not perfect. I'm not a grammar Nazi! The difference between me and your average texter, however, is that I make a sincere effort to have a coherent story or group of thoughts communicated with each of my blog entries. I believe in the use of adjectives. I try to make a compelling argument to get my points across in a succinct and engaging syntax that really describes what I feel. I think describing the intricacies of interpersonal relationships between two men deserves more description than "OMG - Hez hot. WTF is he doin wit him? I want him. LOL". Texting contributes to the destruction of literacy and our language faster than Perez Hilton can spread mind numbingly pointless Hollywood shit-gossip. It just sucks. We have people all over the world with malnutrition, sickness and facing death and I have to hear, frequently via text message/twitterL OMG! Lady Gaga is wearing a meat dress! Who the fuck cares? Honestly!

With these thoughts in mind, I hereby propose the following:

- Manage your affairs with social grace. That means thinking enough of your social circle to keep a calendar and think enough of the people in your life to book an appointment and keep it. If you can't handle something so basic as managing appointments and finances, you aren't worth dating. It shows that you're irresponsible and won't treat and communicate well enough with your partner to have a successful relationship based on trust.
- Texting a new friend or online acquaintance for a date is just tacky. Really tacky. Like lime green shirt with pink dots on top of a pair of Zebra print orange pants tacky. Be enough of a man to call me. I want to hear your voice and get to know your personality and mannerisms through speech. Just because we met online doesn't mean I want to reduce intimacy to text-only basis.
- I realize shit happens in your day, and, on rare occasion you might need to reschedule. As soon as this happens, think enough of the person whom you have an appointment to call them (yes, CALL), apologize, and immediately reschedule. Don't leave an "open appointment" where I have to call you to rebook. Not only does this make you look like an ass that doesn't have his life together, you look flakey and stupid. Not a good position to be in. The gay community seems to be awfully small in a big city. Queens know queens and the royal court LOVES negative gossip. Don't be a dick or it might prevent you from, well.... enjoying dick!
- The phone has, and always will be, the primary communication medium between people. It is still the fastest and most intimate method of communication. If you must text me, consider how long the conversation could go and keep it to less than 3 round trip messages. Otherwise, call.

I can feel the flames coming from this one. Your comments?

- Brad

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Blind Date Rules

August 26, 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

Oh man. This one is huge. 'Why you should always say NO to a blind date' from your best gal friend.

Dear Fruit Flies / Fag Hags / Domestic Partners / Kathy Griffin / Best Girl Friends:
I wanted to thank you for your recent effort at setting me up on a blind date with the one another gay man in your life. It was really nice meeting the man primarily responsible for plastic molding the logo emblems found on most Subaru Forrester wagons made in the 1980's. I found his collection of porcelain cats coupled with a large collection of Pizza grease stained napkins that look like Tony Danza to be absolutely fascinating. I, however, found that his complete lack of etiquette, crude behavior, and episode by episode re-enactments of Joan Rivers "Best Dressed after Emmy's" show reviews in mentally ill chipmunk / Borg (alternating) character to be especially disturbing.

I realize you might think I don't do very well as a gay guy. Your pop culture image crap attitudes on gay men dating at least three men a day month have set the bar really high for me. I suppose meeting one to two men a month on a blind date isn't, in your view, a sufficient number of men for me to find Mr. Right now and you've decided to help out. Thank you. We all deserve to find someone who loves us for us, right?

To protect the innocent, and the interest of bypassing any hurt feelings, I've decided to outline exactly what I am looking for in a partner that might better clarify my blind date expectations and lead to a more harmonious friendship you dumb bitch. To your credit, I realize you didn't have a huge pool of candidates to choose from when picking my blind date target.  Never mind your florist, baker, yoga instructor, plumber, male flight attendant, checkout clerk at Macy's, pizza delivery guy, cell phone salesperson, painter, tech support guy at work and more than half of your former boyfriends (including the one that sorta looks like Ricky Martin and the FINE ASS bodybuilder/craftsmen tools salesperson guy at Sears) are all gay. No, you had to set me up with Mr Subaru that came in second in a Gilbert Godfrey look alike contest (Link) where Gilbert Godfrey and the AFLAC duck were actually competing in the contest. Red Alert!

Part of me desperately wants to believe that you just had to set me up with the one man in your life that just screamed "Need a recovery date" to help him get back in the saddle. No, you set me up with a man who, self-admittedly, hasn't felt the need for human affection since his Siamese cat died in 1993. Rest in peace Whiskers. He demanded I pick him up and take him home from the date. He demanded I pay. It didn't help you got us a reservation at a $300 a plate restaurant where the food rivals the quality of 3 day old moldy KFC chicken and only provides us with about 6 bites and ~218 calories of nourishment after a 4 hour wait *WITH* a reservation. We live in Albuquerque, not San Francisco. This is why you're allowed to wear anything by Ed Hardy for another six months.

As your go-to gay man, I do a lot for you. I take care of your dog when you go out of town. I helped you paint your living room. I let you borrow my Katy Perry Album (Ahem, the FIRST ONE, please return it already.). I tell your friends they look fabulous in clothes they get from Forever 21 despite being well *WELL* over 30. I help you pick out gifts for your friends baby showers. I get you gift cards to the MAC makeup store and then put what you finally buy into Mary Kay bottles so your best friend doesn't suspect you're "make-up cheating" on her. I do the same with your other friend that sells Avon. I put up with your idiot boyfriend constantly asking me to go to Buffalo Wild Wings to "man me up" despite the fact I bench 100 pounds more than he is able to. You call me at 2AM to kill small bugs in your apartment. I live 18 miles from you, and your boyfriend LIVES with you!

So, in the future, please consider the following:
- Just because someone is your one (hopefully not only) other gay friend does NOT mean we are a match. Really. It takes more than liking ding dong to make a couple. Really!
- Setting me up with someone who is actually male helps. That one time you set me up with that hairy Russian girl was simply cruel to us both. I taught Annika how to Makeup-Cheat her Avon lady too. She taught me to bench press and drink more than your boyfriend. It worked out.
- Consider the level of feminine expression in both men. I rank about a 31 / 100 on the fem scale. That means I can change my own car oil but I'm willing to part with the extra $9 to have someone else do it for me. I cannot build my own home. I have no idea what a platform pump is. Look for someone around the same. Just because I am gay doesn't make me a girl with a ding dong.
- Do we share any interests? I'm into Nintendo/Playstation, UFC, Swimming, Dining and have an unhealthy road trip Fetish. Setting me up with a homebody into crafts, QVC and throwing baby showers ain't it. Maybe you could ask this guy to help you shop for gifts in the future.
- Are we physically compatible? I'm looking for someone -/+ 5 years my age. It was mean setting me up with your 14 year old nephew. I helped him with his math homework. Did you know he likes QVC and Joan Rivers?
- Is he an "A" Gay? I like to think of myself as a solid "B+" guy. I do try. An A Gay breeds unicorns that help small children fulfill their wildest fantasies while reducing their parents carbon footprint. I can't do that because I am allergic to rainbow dust and very, very lazy. Sad irony.

and finally.....

- Please give me a chance to decide if I want to date this person before meeting them. A profile online, a facebook page, or even a basic picture will work. Just give me the chance to decide.

I'm off to Buffalo Wild Wings to explain math and feelings to your moron boyfriend. Annika will be joining us to discuss alternative facial hair strategies. Your credit card has a $5000 charge on it from Sears/Craftsmen for me putting up with your shit to get to know the tool guy. Thanks.

- Brad

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Nerd-Gasim! Are HIV+ men todays X-Men(TM)?

August 24, 2010
Location: Tacoma, Washington, United States

Nerd-Gasim! Are HIV+ men todays X-Men(TM)?

I realize some of us in the community might not be familiar with the comic book series that has spawned three Hollywood movies full of absurdly hot, buff, sweaty and hairy men fighting. But, just in case you've been living under a rock, Marvel Comics X-Men series chronicles the story of a group of people undergoing a genetic change that causes them to have super powers that society as a whole fears out of jealousy, inferiority and fear. Rather than embracing these differences, society instead chooses to brand these individuals as dangerous which leads to a constitutional crisis and persecution of these individuals. ( Read more at Cerebro's Guide to the X-Men )

So, that brings me to a sudden realization after browsing the online penis classifieds ( of Seattle and Vancouver. In New Mexico, being HIV+ seems to be a source of great shame for some men. It seems like people go through great pains to hide their status, lie about it, and in many cases pretend like it doesn't exist. Seattle, however, seems to be a cultural leader (shock) and has a very different attitude. It seems HIV+ is the new in crowd. Bareback sex seems to be encouraged and popular. I saw advertisements by 20 somethings advertising they were having "gift giving" (Reference) parties. I saw HIV+ several men online sporting the circle "X" logo for the X-Men ( shown below ).

I guess the ideas of the X-men series really do apply to HIV+ men. The gay community tends to isolate them. Being public about your status seems to prevent you from ever establishing serious relationships with others. It seems like a a huge cross (pun intended) to endure. You have knowledge of death possibly being sooner than originally expected on top of social and sexual isolation. You have your rights taken away, you're treated as a second class citizen, well, you're being treated like a mutant of the gay community. No wonder I see so many HIV+ men sporting the X-Men logo on their chest. I see the affiliation and understanding that comes along with it. I privately wished I was 'Beast' from the X-Men series from marvel comics when I was a kid. I loved how wickedly buff and manly he was (swoon). I also liked how he balanced his awesome strength with intellect and compassion in just about everything he did. He was the very definition of masculinity for me. He proposed a new kind of inner strength - one that could balance our raw feelings of violence and anger with reason and compassion. I suppose having 33 inch arms and killer athletic talent is great too.

But now, it seems like attitudes towards this are changing quickly. HIV/AIDS doesn't seem to be the same death sentence that it was before. They are living longer, healthier lives with better sex, more partners and better community affiliation with other gay men then their negative counterparts do. Is life as a positive gay male really better than being negative? Do positive really live deeper, more meaningful lives becoming by being more appreciative of the time and activities they enjoy? Is the sex better?

I look forward to your comments.

- Brad

Becoming The Best Gay Men We Can Be

August 23, 2010
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia

I find myself in a heated conversation with a new friend today over the reasoning for my trip.

He thinks the only reason I want to travel the world isn't so I can see the world for its unique cultures and ideas, he thinks the real reason for my blog is so I can use it as a crux to experiment and become the ultimate gay man that I, and everyone else really wants to be. We all want to be that "go to" guy that has his career, life and personal affairs in order that bring him joy and happiness far beyond what a traditional lifetime could bring.

I suppose I tend to get annoyed when I get cock slapped by someone so dead on the nail that I feel stupid and incompetent for not having realized it earlier. The truth is, he's right. He's absolutely right. I've been searching for a long time for an opportunity to take me to another city and get out Albuquerque for some time. But - enough with the guilt trip. Who doesn't want to have a really good time? Who doesn't want to have great friends? Who doesn't want to be a sex star in bed? Who doesn't want to have a really interesting career that isn't a McJob that so many of us seem to hate workin at everyday?
That's had me thinking: It's not like every guy I've met was born with his stuff together. It's not like he knew how to have a fabulous, lean, sexy body. He didn't automatically know how to have the most wonderful friends, the most interesting profession and the most exciting personal life ever conceived.  He wasn't born with all of this. These things had to be learned. I'm sure there were often a variety of circumstances where he would have suffered complete, immeasurable setbacks and humiliations along the way of finding himself.

So, with this realization, even though I originally called this the "Big Gay Travel Blog" I think the name should stay. I'm still going to be touring the world, but this time I am going to be doing it with a focus on experimenting with myself and trying to get this sex/money/fun/responsible adult thing down. I really want to meet men that seem to have found some success and learn from their triumphs, and their complete failures. I want to explore the world sexually.... Ask some of the hard, tough and relevant questions that gay men coming of age really need to know. Let's get exploring and talking.

I really look forward to your stories. More to come.

- Brad

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thoughts on Why RideSharing Kicks Ass

August 19, 2010
Location:, Albuquerque / Denver Rideshare Posting

I decided as a part of this world tour I would give ridesharing a solid “college try” as a way of reducing my travel expenses and seeing if this world tour/green movement made any sense. I was terrified at first of sharing my car to commute with someone who I had never met before. I was also fearful I would find someone with poor hygienic habits, someone who delt drugs, or someone who would secretively be an ace murderer. My fears were quickly put to rest by my first ride share acquaintance, Elise.
It turns out Elise was totally awesome. She was a rockin’ hipster girl who was interested in going to Denver for the weekend to see an old flame. She was passionate about veganism, and even more passionate about not pushing her beliefs and choices on others. She loved travel stories. She adored YouTube. She does facebook. She could drive a Corolla like my inner gay-man-woman bitch wanted to drive. She shouted at cars, she drove above the speed limit. She had interesting stories. She believed in hygene – if she had a Penis I might actually consider dating her/him.
IN any case, I found ride sharing to be an easy way to reduce my carbon footprint, make new friends, cut travel expenses, improve safety and generally improve the overall experience of traveling large distances by road. I figure most of the people I meet online are in similar economic and financial circumstances I find myself in. They would most likely end up renting cars, traveling by themselves or purchasing an airline ticket. I figure if those are the options people have without purchasing a ticket, it’s going to be unlikely that they will do anything to restrict their travel options. Further, if they do bring a weapon along, it’s probably  because they are just as afraid of me as I am of them.
I don’t want to leave you all with the impression I will be taken advantage of and that I don’t do due diligence on people I ride along with. I do, but I think anyone seriously considering a world or national road trip should consider this as a great way to inexpensively travel the country. If you couple this approach with couch surfing and preparing your own food along the way it’s possible to save a great deal of cash and have some good friends.

Denver En Route to Seattle.

Location: Somewhere in the Middle of Wyoming on I-25, Between Casper and Cheyenne, I-25
(“Gay Cowboy fantasy Land”)
Well, I’m traveling from Denver to Vancouver. For those of you who have never been to Wyoming, it’s as desolate as a forgotten arctic tundra. Giant planes of nothingness are cut up by small hills of nothingness with the occasional windmill power farm. It’s a lonely and desolate place. But the people here have a sort of toughness that’s tough to describe. I guess it’s the same spirit that keeps Joan Rivers on QVC or spandex on really fat women. Sometimes you just have to make it through the circumstances life deals you, not matter how tough it gets, or, in the case of the spandex, how big of an ass life can be when it sits on you.
I find it hard to visit this place without the feeling that I’m a total pussy. People here endure years with no job, work 18 hours a day mending fences in cold, ice, wind, dirt and rain. I get mad that I have to go to a warm gym filled with attractive, sweaty and muscular men for an hour a day six times a week. Despite this obvious injustice, I have to deal with an ankle injury. So, I’m free to go to the gym and not even work out, I can just stare at the men as long as I want. I find the gaul to even bitch about that too. I don’t have to work, I don’t have to do any kind of hard living. I eat at fine restaurants practically every meal. My biggest complaint is that I’m fat with fairly sizeable man breasts.
So, lesson learned: I need to man up, be ready to embrace this blessing and try a few new things along the way.  But these new things probably won’t be in Wyoming. All 5 of the state residents seemed really nice, and very, very bored.

Denver, Colorado

August 20, 2010
Location: 6th Avenue and Wadsworth, Denver, Colorado, United States

Ah yes, Denver. Where tie die T-shirts never went out of style and you can be just as comfortable smoking pot downtown as you can going to a high powered business meeting. This town really is a special place and I absolutely love it when I get the chance to come up here.
Denver has a lot going for it. It has a huge technical services/IT employment sector at the Denver tech center boasting some of the biggest names in IT. It has a great night life (I’d personally suggest Wranglers or one of the bath houses along Colfax avenue for those who don’t want any challenges getting their kicks). It’s also a sports fan paradise with the Colorado Rockies, the Broncos at Mile High Stadium or some great bud to be found in the areas hundreds of marijuana dispensaries.
I came here hoping to see a different side of the city than I had when I lived in the metro area briefly in 2004. So, I stayed on the West Side of town and found my commute to downtown, Boulder or the tech center to be reasonably speedy and fun. Of particular interest was the downtown nightlife this time around. I had a lot of challenges with Denver when I lived here in 2004. I ever really integrated myself outside of my core group of friends I had before moving into town. I didn’t network very well looking for a job. I got depressed, and, in short, failed miserably trying to really pull anything off.
This time felt different though. I saw lots of old friends and started to see opportunities here. I also started to see that there was lots of old money in town needing services performed…..
…. I think it’s time to move back.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Movers and Shakers in Denver

August 12, 2010
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States

Well, it looks like the journey has officially started. I have a plan, or at least, a bunch of independent dreams in life to start stringing together into one.

First stop on my leg out of the house is in Denver. For my readership outside of the United States, Denver is a megalopolis of about 4 million people halfway between San Francisco and Chicago. The city is known to be a great springboard into the rocky mountains and boasts a simply fantastic quality of life. I also know it as a city that made me put my teeth onto the cement and kicked me in the back of the head when I lived there. Well, not literally, but financially.

I graduated college in 2004. I went to school at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona and got a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. At the time, completely ignorant of the workings of the world and how useless a Bachelors Degree is these days, I left Flagstaff and moved to Denver about three days after I graduated. I moved in with a close friend I had, without a solid job lined up at the time. I figured that Denver was a big city, and I would be able to find steady employment when I moved into Colorado.

A few months passed by. Weeks of looking turned into months. I saw my savings start to disappear and my debt load started to soar. I fell behind on my rent. I started running out of cash for basic commodities. I called my parents and relatives for money. I networked with every person that I knew - I simply wasn't able to find a steady job that provided the funds I needed to subsist. After a bitter, drawn out, four month fight with a personal balance sheet devastated from both college and a failed job search, I returned to New Mexico to live with my parents and I have been here ever since.
The lessons I learned in Denver have made me extremely gun-shy about moving into a new city without a strong balance sheet. It's also made me realize just how stupid I can sometimes be. I know enough about the world to know that having a Rolodex full of powerful and influential people is the strongest asset you can have. Surrounding yourself with people who have a can-do attitude, who work hard and are willing to take risks makes. It also helps if you know people with some cash in their pocket, people who won't stab you in the back every chance they get, and people with some talent that you simply cannot easily articulate at a school or by reading a single book at a chain bookstore/Nicer public library ("McKnowledge" centers).

All of the above seems like a great place to start, but it doesn't really tell me how I go about 'doing' a city. It doesn't tell me how to learn how those people are. It doesn't help me develop the social skills I need to land in a city and obtain an income. It doesn't tell me how to work within "hard business talk" situations and make them effective. It doesn't tell me how to make good friends.

Knowing all of the above, I know I need to articulate this skill set. But how do I do this? Where do I go? Who do I talk to? When do I talk to them? What should I know before walking in the room with these people? What should I wear?

I do have a small hunch on how to get started. The basic idea should be that I need to be interesting to talk to. I need to be able to add social and personal value to these people. I must learn to create interesting spectacles that lead to business and personal relationships. I need to have sex with hot dudes to get their attention. I wonder if Neil Strauss' words of wisdom will work here. If you haven't already checked out this book, you need to stop doing what you are doing this second and read it right now!

Sounds like I have more lessons to learn. Let's see what happens.

- Brad

Saturday, August 7, 2010

New Toys

You know what's great about living in New Mexico?

"Absolutely Nothing?"

Right! Well - ok - something small. Every year during the first or second week in August we have a back-to-school tax free weekend where thousands of items go on sale and are sales tax exempt across the state. For the well off, it's an excuse to double down purchasing nice, expensive items. For the middle class, its an excuse to get a new flat screen, or maybe a new video camera. For the bone crushingly poor, (read: 1/3 of the state on food assistance in some form) you get an extra tortilla, or maybe *a* tortilla!

So, doing my part to help stimulate the local economy I went down to my local Baillo's electronics warehouse, a local Electronics Store outlet. I looked at a plethora of Video Cameras and absolutely fell in love with a nice Sony that was in my price range, recorded in the exact codec and spec I wanted just to find out that it was sold.

I continued and then found a really nice JVC that I liked. Sold out. Then looked at another camera. Sold out. Finally, I looked at another JVC. Two left. One in the box. I ended up picking it up and bringing it home today. Giddy. So now I have something I will be able to record my memories with and upload fascinating, compelling pictures of people (naked men), cultures (exotic naked men) and places (naked men on photo shoot) that I come across in my travels.

It's been a long time since I actually posted a video online of myself doing or working on anything worthwhile (to obtain a relationship with, well, naked men).

More to follow.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Proposition 8 Ruling Reaction

Lately I find my particular brand of politics to be moving closer to the center, but on the whole, I am still left of center on a variety of political issues. On the issue of gay marriage, however, I actually agree with the right wing on a variety of things. I think this is another one of those issues where I am totally and completely ashamed to be a gay man and an American, thought not at the same time and not for the same reasons.

"Wait a minute, you are gay and you agree with the right wing on this issue? You don't think that gay people deserve to get married and have legal protections? What's wrong with you?" you might be thinking. Oh boy. Here we go.

Do I think gay people should be able to get married? Absolutely. Do I think all gay people will make great parents? Hell no. Do I think that some gay couples will do awesome things with kids and others will cause serious, irreparable psychological harm? Yes. Yes I absolutely do.

Do I think some gay couples might be making a serious mistake getting married and may cause more harm than good when adopting kids?Well, in a word, yes. I feel like the gay community does a lot of really stupid things and we generally treat each other rather poorly. We don't really communicate all that well with each other. We regularly treat each other like dirt and are often looking for the quick hook-up instead of a relationship based on trust. We value each other based on our looks and how queeny we can be to each other instead of our personal character. We regularly engage in psychological games with our partners that causes distrust, harms long term relationship potential, and spread disease in the name of better quality sex. You might think that all of these beliefs could be viewed as arguments FOR marriage. I see them as a lack of maturity necessary to bring successful people into the world.

I think relationships take a lot of things to work. I think it takes a fundamental trust between two partners. It's something that takes years to build but is fragile enough to be broken in a few words, actions or deeds. It takes a willingness between partners to watch each other thrive. It takes compromise, humility, respect and a sense of humor. In short, it's a partnership between people who simply "get" each other. I think one reason so many relationships in western cultures fail is because there is a tremendous family pressure to get married. Another reason they fail is because too often people are so excited that someone treats them reasonably well they forget to take the time and effort it takes to build the trust and ground rules necessary to thrive. A third reason, is that we have so few successful and positive gay couples in the national spotlight that we see bringing wonderful people into the world.

With these realizations for relationship and family success in mind, the argument I have against gay marriage is that there is no traditional values framework for gay couples to raise their children. Although I will readily concede that married religious couples often convey values of racism, bigotry, irrational fear and economic dependency on their children, many of them raise children readily capable of being positive net contributors to society. They view work as a privilege, contribute to their local governments, participate in the betterment of their community and ultimately lead to a stronger community and nation. So, at what point between gay partners do we become ready for responsible child bearing? With heterosexual couples, the maturity is often forced with the babies arrival. But with homosexual couples, how do you decide you are ready?

I often think that gay couples legitimately believe that all they need is love and understanding when it comes to the raising of responsible children that meet my above postulate. I often wonder how they go about instilling values in children. There are so many things that parents have to teach their kids. For example: When is it acceptable to physically attack someone else who intends you harm? Do you have the right to defend yourself? How would you defend yourself? What should your child do if they are being physically, emotionally or digitally bullied? When is the right time to have sex? How does your child determine their sexual orientation? When should your child start dating? How trusting should your child be of people? Is it OK for your child to experiment with drugs? How late should your child stay out?

I often think the answers to these questions would be very different from gay parents than it would be for heterosexual, conservative parents. The fact is kids rely on parents to create a framework for decision making that they need to exercise when confronted with challenges that life brings.

In short, I hope proposition 8 is defeated and the gay community reaps the benefits of the marriage. I now hope the community steps up to the plate and brings the responsibility and moral framework needed to produce amazing kids.

- Brad

Monday, August 2, 2010

The Irony and Crisis of the American Gay Fem

August 3, 2010
Location:, Albuquerque Chat Room

Have you noticed the changing attitudes about femininity in gay culture recently? It seems like feelings on femininity break into several schools of thought. I've been wondering if these attitudes are something that are expressed on an international stage or wondering if this is a uniquely American concept. First, a definition: Fem: Noun - A homosexual man who displays female tendencies of personal weakness, chipper disposition, frequently exhibits sassy behavior, wears make-up, and exhibits characteristics of women. See Jack from Will and Grace.

Generally, the gay community's attitudes on fems fall into these schools of thought:

- The ingrained school: This school of thought believes that realizing yourself as a gay man is to fully embrace femininity. It is absolutely, positively OK to be as loud, boisterous and feminine as you want. This means it's totally acceptable to Z-Snap everyone. Shout "Hay girlfriend" to acquaintances and generally be a boisterous gay man. In short, if you aren't fem you aren't gay. Embracing femininity despite being male is what defines us as gay men.

- The maturity school: This school of thought recognizes that many gay men use the feminism mechanism as a counter-culture adaptation in the coming out process. The idea is that at first, using femininity is a way by which men can adapt to the social pressures society places on them. By proceeding through the coming out process, eventually a new, stronger, more masculine, socially strong and mature masculine gay man erupts and comes out. The idea here is that femininity gives the newly gay-aware man an opportunity to explore a new path in a more socially acceptable construct of what being a gay man is as a part of the coming out process (outlined below). Older/More mature gay men recognize this and while they realize it is important, they are somewhat turned off, though accepting of it.

- The Weakness school: This is a tough one. This school of thought sees any form of femininity to be a weakness and is a complete rejection of gay men's culture and values. This school will do absolutely everything it can to socially and personally ostracize any sort of fem culture from the ranks of gay men. This school reasons that "If you're fem, you might as well get a sex change and be straight. The entire point of a gay relationship is a man being in a relationship with a man. Men spit. Men fart. Men fuck. The feelings of this school could be summarized as "man up". (Note that this school is often contemptuous of transgendered individuals and is often viewed by the bisexual and transgendered school as intolerant).

These three points of view are beginning to cause all kinds of hell to break loose in the gay community. Please - allow me to level with you. I think everyone deserves to have a partner who suits them. Everyone deserves someone who is interesting, emotionally positive, healthy and productive in their lives. The interesting notion in all this is that we in the gay community pride ourselves on welcoming people of every background and stripe into the community. Part of this welcoming attitude means that everyone should be allowed to exhibit what is really in their heart and be appreciated for it. That's the entire reason why the community picked the rainbow flag as its motto. We have super masculine men from Henry Rollins (C'mon you aging, angry very gay old man! Come out already...) to Ru Paul as a part of the community. Every person, every stripe as accepted.

So what does this have to do with travel?

You see - overall my gaydar is simply awful. Unless a man walks in with a purple feather leotard carrying a neon sign that says "QUEEN" I simply cannot pick out a gay man from anyone else. Since I personally find strength, strong character and mental fortitude to be extremely important in a partner, I am generally *VERY* turned off by fem gay men. This isn't to say however that all fem moments are bad per se, or that I myself am immune from having the occasional fem moment. On the contrary. Although every gay man of every background is occasionally allowed a fem moment (Think Girlie gitty woot when we found the Wicked musical was coming to Albuquerque). We are generally limited to three instances per week.

This issue with the 'dar is causing some real problems when it comes to meeting men outside of bars or online social networking situations. It's also causing me to question my safety when I travel outside the country and how I can meet men that aren't a part of the club scene. Here in western society we have lots of different categories for men. We have twinks, wolves, otters, cubs, bears, silverbacks, jocks, chubs and everything in between. (Google the definitions if you aren't sure what they mean.) But I wonder if gay men in other cultures find the same things attractive as we do here? How do gay men in other cultures identify as gay men? Are American notions of masculinity and maturing as a gay man found in other cultures?

Lastly.... How do I find a masculine man who isn't a part of the club scene, who isn't fem, who is masculine overseas? Are the rules of attraction the same for men in all cultures?

The Coming Out Process:
- We hide in complete silence and attempt to avoid any undue attention to ourselves
- We first Come Out in a gay explosion (Think fashion, cars, workouts and clothing)
- We experiment with lots of different boys to figure out what we want
- We hold out for "the one"
- We meet someone who is darned close to "the one"
- We turn off "the one" because of our femininity despite wanting masculinity in a relationship
- We do everything to make "the one" work.
- "The One" is totally turned off because "The One" wants the exact opposite of what our newfound fem freedom provides
- We either become very happy, very bitter, or try again.
- The fem fades away. (Or does it?)

Let the comments begin!

Ass in Gear; New Gear In; Sale of 5 speed Gear?

August 2, 2010
Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico

A note to my readership: Please note a few Americans might think "duh" to some of the things that I say on this blog, but keep in mind I have readers from all over the world who have never been to the US and therefore don't understand our lifestyle here.

Things are really starting to look up for this big trip!

A lot of the stressors in my life are starting to go away. This is a time in life where counting my blessings seems to be in order. It seems like my wounds are healing up well from surgery. My pain is well managed. My finances are on track thanks to a kick ass severance package, savings and unemployment insurance. In short: I'm on track to buy the first plane ticket soon.

But, first things first. I finally decided on a backpack. I ended up heading over to instead of buying the bag locally. I realize many people may frown on my decision to purchase the bag instead of (S)upporting a (L)ocally (O)wned (B)usiness, Slob-ing, the purchase. But I found the selection to be a lot nicer online and the overall purchase to be substantially less of a hassle. I bought a High Sierra Compass convertible bag. It has the detachable day pack option I was looking for and also looks rather posh in Blue. ( ) It has the exact options I wanted at a great price, all delivered to my door step. Woot!

So now I have the cash and the bags lined up. Now comes the bigger decisions - deciding what to do with the life I have going for myself here in America. The really, really big decision I am faced with at the moment is if I should sell my car or not. Not many people really understand my relationship with cars and why this is such a big deal for me. It's not that I enjoy working on them or talking about them - I view them as an appliance more than anything. It's that a car represents everything you need in the Western United States society to be upwardly mobile, to be social and to obtain the goods you need for everyday life. We don't really have any sort of mass transit in our area of the country. Our only real practical option to go to shopping centers or leave home is the car. It's not really practical to bike the 25Km one way each day to work, go to the mall, see a friend or to go shopping. When you are in high school you salivate at the fact that one day, you too might be one of the cool kids that had a car. It's been something that I have spent years of my life working for: having a reliable, clean, nearly-new car is a privilege I sacrificed a lot for. So it isn't something I am willing to part with easily.

My poison of choice is a Black 2007 Toyota Corolla "S". I like it because it has all kinds of sporty plastic and stickers tacked on to it that make it appear really fast while being a very simple, 1800cc naturally aspirated car. It gets fabulous gas mileage, 35Mpg highway or 15.3 Km/L. The payments and insurance on the car amount to around $420 a month for me. Which is actually quite manageable if I am working full time.

The problem is that if I sell the car, I end up taking a really big hit financially. Sure, not having a car payment or insurance payments for a year will be nice. But what happens when I come home? I am going to have to find the cash to find a replacement car, assuming I live in the same area of the country after the trip. Then there are issues with obtaining credit for the car since I worked overseas instead of domestically for a year. Then there's the added hassle of trying to find a reliable car at "sub-b" car dealerships. Ugh. It seems like keeping the awesome car I have would be a better solution.

But, on the other end of the spectrum I have issues with keeping the car. Just because I leave the country doesn't mean I won't need to maintain the car I have. It also means car payments have to be made on time, and I have a financial pain in the ass to deal with. When I am drinking myself into a stupor in Europe or having a Safari in Africa, am I really going to want to miss out on the extended tour because cash flow says I have to make a car payment on a car I'm not even using? What happens if I find a gig in Germany, my car payment is due, and I have to wire funds to my own bank account in the US just to make the car payment?

It would be nice if I could lease my car to someone for a year that I trusted, and have my exact same car returned to me in good shape when I return to the US. Maybe I could work on that deal.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Where do I want to go?

July 31, 2010
Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico

I've been trying to sit down and think of all the fantastic places to see and the things I want to do while on my trip. I've decided that the most logical place to start might actually be Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Most people think of Vancouver as the Hong Kong of the west, but what most people don't realize is the city is incredibly proximate to almost every other major city on Earth. The geography of this region of the world puts Vancouver less than 7,000 miles (single hop) distance of every city of 10 Million or more people on earth. It's also close enough to Albuquerque to be only two days drive or a two hour plan ride to home.

At the moment, I have my trip set up to do the following:

Start at Albuquerque to Denver, Denver to Yellowstone National Monument, Seattle, Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Niagra Falls, Chicago. From Chicago, Take an Aer Lingus Flight to Europe.

Arrive in Europe. Hit Ireland and the UK. Do the Eurotrash/EuroRail hostel circuit hitting all the major cities in Europe. I might find time to do a gay cruise on the Mediterranean sea. Get to Moscow, take th e Trans Siberian/Orient Express railroads through Mongolia to China. (Note an effort was made to skip both Africa and the Middle East).

Arrive in Asia. hit Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka. Continue on to China. Motorcycle across China to Tibet. Hit India. Complete Indian circuit. Continue commute down to Laos, Myanmar and Thailand. Continue down to Australia. Hit Darwin. Continue onwards from Darwin to Cairns, Australia. Spend two months snorkeling the great barrier reef. Continue southward to Sydney. See extended family in Brisbane and Sydney. Fly from Sydney to Buenos Airies. Do the Argentine wine and party scene. Hit Carnival in Rio De Janerio. Continue Northward to central America. See my aunt in Belize. Return from Belize through Costa Rica and Jamaica to Florida. Return to Albuquerque from Florida.

.... Any ideas?

- Brad

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why I won't buy Overseas Health Insurance

July 29th, 2010
Location: Lovelace Westside Hospital ASCU, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Hi everyone. I am pleased to announce that my ankle surgery went really well. I am home with a stash of happy pills and a 40oz Arby's Diet Peach Iced Tea at my side while I type this. Thanks for all your notes/Facebook messages/phone calls/texts with your well wishes.

This is one of those blogs where the "brush your teeth and save" crowd will absolutely disagree with me.

This blog is about health insurance while traveling. More specifically, it's about NOT getting health insurance while traveling. Lately I have been thinking about how awesome it would be to be an illegal immigrant inside of the United States. In addition to not having to pay income tax, state taxes, property taxes, social security taxes, Medicare taxes, Medicaid taxes, vehicle taxes and car insurance, any medical malady I come across I can simply lie about who I am, not be subject to any sort of collections and receive any medical care I need for free. All I have to do is stop what I am doing, and visit my local emergency room or urgent care center. If given the opportunity, I think I should be irresponsible and enjoy free care at the expense of taxpayers in another country. I figure if I have been subsidizing free care for illegal immigrants here, then it is time for me to enjoy the same services and rights overseas in another country.

Well, if I know countries that have socialized medicine programs focus on providing care rather than administrative costs, I should be able to walk in. I know several people who had minor injuries in Australia, Great Britain and Ireland who walked right into the hospital received excellent care and walked out. Why would I worry about these expenses if I knew I was going to be covered? Further, if I know I can always hitch a plane and ride into a country with socialized medicine to receive care, why would I bother with the purchase of insurance? Additionally, if the facilities are absolutely filthy and not up to par, wouldn't I just end up catching a plane back to the United States if my condition were stable anyway?

Here's another consideration: Any sort of financial or contractual obligation I enter into overseas cannot be enforced in a United States courtroom. Simply because I have US citizenship does not make that contract enforceable here. For a contract to be enforceable overseas it must be a contract signed into and agreed upon by the parties to have US courts enforce the contract. That's required for any type of collection activity to take place. So, even though a debt may exist overseas, collecting it here in the USA may be another matter altogether.

I often wonder if the Overseas Health Insurance providers know this and simply charge the fee to make dumb Americans pay it anyway. I look forward to your comments on this.

- Brad

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Great Big Backpack Hunt

July 28, 2010.
Location: Renaissance Shopping Corridor in Albuquerque, New Mexico

I went shopping for a backpack for this World Tour yesterday. Before reading any further, I should state openly that shopping, fashion, and going into a $50 or greater purchase unprepared simply isn't my cup of tea. I'm usually awful at making any sort of cloth-related purchase. I don't really see any issues wearing socks with sandals. I also don't understand why plaid doesn't mix with stripes. (I just shattered half my readerships stereotypes of me. Yay.) When the challenge to find an adequate pack for this trip came up, I spent most of today researching on what I need and want out of a pack and what I want to buy/bring for the road. I found little information on deciding on a pack for the GLBT crowd. so I've decided to spice this up a bit. This is, after all, The Big Gay Travel Blog and I'd like this to be a bit more exciting than the thirteenth Cher final-farewell tour or a new Sex and the City movie.

First: deciding on the right pack. This is something that will be an intimate part of this trip a for a very long time and probably isn't a place to skimp. From my research. a pack should be something that is lightweight and intelligently designed more than anything else. For Women and owners of Man Boobs (me) in my readership, I'd imagine a pack that minimizes chafe to the lady orbs would be appreciated. For the Fellas, It's important that it can be worn in such a fashion that your biceps and Pecs look HUGE. For the bisexual and transgendered crowd, having stow-away or hidden compartments will be EXTREMELY important. Whatever your gender affiliation, Your body is designed so that 70-80% of the weight from a pack should be on your HIPS, not in your shoulders. So it's important that a pack feature adjustable hip and back straps that correctly allocate the pack weight. It should also have enough room for your stuff, be a culturally neutral color, and not attract too much attention to yourself.

Let's face it: As Americans we're a bit wealthier than other countries. So, when the chance comes up for someone to steal $2000US worth of stuff in a country where the average worker busts his butt for 70 hours a week to make $500US a year, you're going to be a pretty good target for attention. My research indicated that a pack should have a minimum of exterior pockets and built solidly so cannot easily be broken into by a thief, yet has places to hide emergency cash or credit cards. It should also ideally have wheels on the bottom to pull it through long airport drudgery. I like the idea of a pack that is packed so I can use my bag as a pillow whenever I travel. I also like the idea of a pack that can separate, so I have a small bag that can fit a snack, hydration pack and camera while my larger pack is under lock and key.

In my shopping excursion today I generally found the folks at REI to be more helpful than their competing counterparts. The REI Team thought it was important to be fit correctly. The sportsman felt it was more important to man up and get a pickup truck to haul your gear in instead of doing a sissy backpack tour. The "sportsman" was also an imbecile 16 year old kid obviously raised in a red household working for a company more interested in cost cutting than customer service. REI won big points on that. But the Sportsman warehouse won big points with an average bag price of $120 instead of $325.

Next, deciding what I need to put into the bag will help narrow down the decision.

The golden rules of packing are as follows: (We all know gay people are experts at packing stuff in right?)

1) If I cannot get it locally or need it to get to my destination, it gets packed
2) If it keeps my sanity, health and/or comfort, it gets packed
3) If the item is so expensive or sentimental I can't lose it, it doesn't get packed.
4) If it will get me killed or hurt for being different, weights a lot, isn't absolutely necessary or can be purchased upon arrival, it doesn't get packed.

With #4 in mind comes a big controversy. I'm all about showing my pride and not being ashamed for who I am. However, one of the big rules I've been alluding to is how tolerance of GLBT individuals is different in the world. I'd much rather not have a liability in my bags at a border control crossing scenario. Sure, I have my pride, but I also have my brains and want my nuts intact too.

The general advice I got from my research on this was that the world has ample supply of Washing Machines, Food, Fresh Water, Clothing, Shoes, Swimming Trunks, Towels and will find anything I need readily available. I should be encouraged to purchase ethnic clothing and participate IN a culture instead of looking AT the culture and shirking at it. With that said, there were a bunch of things I think I should bring that are small and important. I would imagine the world will be full of people wanting personal details and to talk about where I am from. I find myself suddenly searching for small knicknacks I can bring to give away and maybe stamp my personal contact details to keep in touch with people I meet on the way.

Brad's Packing List:
1 - Camelback Backpack
1 - Large Pack
Lightweight Water Repellant Jacket - 1
T-Shirts - 2
Shorts - 2
Jeans - 1
Button Up EZ Iron Shirt 1
Shoes (Orthopedic/Dress)
Undies - 3
Socks - 2 white, 1 Black

HP 8" Mini Netbook
Apple Ipod Touch 8GB
Small 12Mp Digixam (Pentax W90?)
Playing Cards

Toiletries / First Aid
Anti- Diahrea Tabs
Manscaping Equipment
Toothpaste / Toothbrush
Q-Tips (5)
Small Plastic Baggie
Rubbers / Lube

20 passport Photos
100 Postcards from New Mexico (to trade/Thank)
Credit Cards (kept in separate places with one at home)
Cash (kept in several places, no more than $300USD/EUR)

.... More to be added.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wings, Ankles, Mending and Planning

Created on July 27, 2010
Location: Rio Rancho, New Mexico, United States ("Home")

Recently I went out with a few of my friends to Buffalo Wild Wings. If you aren't familiar with this restaurant, the service is simply terrible, the wing sauces are mediocre and the atmosphere is both loud and visually confusing. It's clearly designed for heterosexual men with no interpersonal or social skills to go out with their buddies, pretend like they are socializing, yet be mocked incessantly for what they say or feel by the same 'buddies' who should be supporting them. It's the classic straight male catch-22: being honest makes you weak yet not talking about a problem makes you appear stronger yet hurts more and doesn't solve the problem. The only reasons I go there is because the restaurant succeeds in winning the favor of some of the trainee's at Albuquerque's UFC fighting training center which make for fabulous man eye candy. The other reason is it's a great excuse to eat awful-for-you food, drink beer and not worry about six year olds listening in on a conversation because the place is so loud the other tables cannot hear the juicy conversation with tables that have non-hetero or mixed gender representation going on. That's actually 50X better than most other casual dining places in Albuquerque metro.

"You Realize You're Fucking Nuts, Right?" Was the expression on my friends faces when I first told them about my plans to travel the world by working my way through. It wasn't because my friends thought I wasn't capable, smart or dexterous enough to do this, it was because I was in crutches faithfully guarding my left leg and ankle with a completely serious stone face.

For those of you who haven't met me: Over the last two years I have been through some pretty significant bodily changes. I've dropped a tremendous amount of body weight. I regularly weight lifted, I did all kinds of cardio. I could be seen nightly with my trusty camelback water backpack and IPod touch walking the nature trail next to my house with my three Red Heelers. (Aka Australian Cattle Dogs). I really looked forward to this time on a nightly basis and found that lately the ongoing pain of walking just simply keeps getting worse.

I have suffered some pretty substantial ankle injuries recently. In fact, I've sprained my right ankle four times and my left ankle three times in the last two years. The left ankle continues to bother me and I finally broke down and went to see a foot and ankle specialist recently. It turns out I need to get some ankle surgery done and to have some ligaments rebuilt. At the moment it isn't clear how extensive the repairs need to be on my ankles, but for sure I know I will be out of commission for the month of August and I'm targeting a departure date sometime in September. I go into Surgery Thursday (July 29h, 2010).

I'm going to use this time constructively to plot a very basic outline of the journey and get needed supplies together to make it work. A huge whirlwind of thoughts now swirl around my head on a daily basis. I have no idea what country to head to first. I also have no idea what I am going to pack or what I should do first, besides heal up. But, I thought it would at least be a good idea to sit down and declare what I'm trying to achieve with this trip first.

Brad's Main Goals:

1. Find a Skill I want to perfect and get really, really good at it while on the road.

2. Form an international group of friends ('minions') I can tap at a moment's notice to make money LEGALLY and FAIRLY. (I've read up on a lot of foreign scams. If I don't come up with the idea or don't have an idea of what I am investing in I won't do it).

3. Self sustain as much as possible while on the road to avoid abusing the state/fed unemployment insurance funds

4. Exercise. Have as much fun as possible while doing it. This might bean strapping on a backpack and walking the beaches of Nice as much as it could be Scuba Diving the Great Barrier Reef for a month.

5. Remain connected to current relationships while better trying to understand myself.

6. Have as much deep, passionate wild sex with foreign men as possible while not being arrested, executed, sick or deported. (Ideally: Finding Mr. Right Along the Way)

Monday, July 26, 2010

An Introduction to TBGTB

Well Hi there!

This blog is full of intrigue, suspense, adventure, sex, drugs, violence and fun. It isn't meant to be for the faint of heart or those who want a dishonest view of the world. It's also about a whole hell of a lot of "dangerous" decisions I made recently that, well, might not really sit well with the "work hard, save everything, be responsible, love your country, and brush your teeth" crowd. In fact, it problably won't sit well with a lot of people. The reality is, this is a forum to express my experiences and opinions. I make no apologies for what I think, who I am, or what I say. You are welcome to comment on any of my posts and give your insight. If I find time I just might read and respond to them. If you don't like what I have to say, please, do us both a favor and fuck off. Otherwise, strap in, this will be one hell of a trip!

So who the hell am I and why am I so..... cocky?

I'm a very pissed off 20-something college educated guy that did everything he was supposed to after college. I worked really hard. I majored in business administration instead of following something I was passionate about. I never really got the "after college" job that led to personal and financial independence I was supposed to with that course of study. I worked for two major fortune 500 companies in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. I was hired on at both companies, worked my way up, and was laid off after about two years due to relentless contempt for younger workers and downsizing.

So, I, like so many other people fell victim to the great recession and decided to take matters into my own hands recently. Knowing that I'm more likely to bed the UFC fighiting Championship winner in Las Vegas than land a worthwhile job anytime in the near future. (I'm a 225 pound, 5'11" fat white gay guy) I fully realize nobody owes me a damn thing. It's my responsibility to cultivate a (rare) yet marketable skill set, not be expendable, and have a strong enough social network to beat the odds, but I cannot have any of those things until I change my behaviors and travel a bit. I've decided that a year of touring the planet, consuming copious amounts of alcohol, playing around with my inner selfishness and generally having a good time cultivating that skill set would be a far better use of USA/New Mexico taxpayer dollars than sitting on my fat ass in front of my computer pointlessly searching for another barely palettable drone job for a year. The only thing New Mexico requires me to do is look for a job; nobody said I have to stay in the States, be Miserable, or Apply 112 hours a week to doing it.

So, with the above in mind, I've decided to give corporate America two big Middle fingers and let them know it's ABSOLUTELY OK to be a big time, cock loving, single white guy with a responsible head on his shoulders. I choose to live. I also choose to leave. I refuse to live in a patterned, safe, boring existence any longer. Since college, I have faithfully saved into my 401(K) and IRA accounts as much as I possibly could. Each time, I found that this strategy left me totally unprepared for unemployment and absolutely wholloped me with taxes when I needed the money to subsist. My journey is intended to change all of the above while financing it on the backs of the thieving assholes that wrecked the US economy in the first place.

In any case, I want this blog to be as much of a journey of you as it is for me. You see, I've decided I am going to take some "me" time for once in my life and actually do something totally self-serving for once. I'm going to make a completely irrational, unwelcome, stupid decision in my 20's that it might take the better part of twenty years to recover from. I'm going to strap on a backpack, put on a pair of walking shoes, three days worth of clothing changes, a netbook, a charger, an ipod touch, and my passport and hit the road. My goal is to tour the entire world, meet hundreds of exciting people, try to do all the things I wanted to do in college but didn't have the guts, time or resources to do.

I might find fame and glory, I might die, I might simply cut tail and run home to Mommy. But at least I won't die wondering anymore.....

I hereby present: The Big Gay Travel Blog