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Les Talk, More Travel

Mykonos in High Season: For Budget Backpackers, Bougie Babes, or Both?

Bougie, budget, or both? Mykonos has a reputation for being expensive. Not $$ expensive… more like $$$$$ expensive! I’m here to report that it’s… mostly true 😦 Mykonos CAN be very expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. There are lavish ways to experience it, but there are more frugal ways too! Read on for bougie vs. budget Mykonos: beaches, food and drink, accommodation, gay bars, and getting around!

Beaches:

If you’re going to Mykonos, there’s no doubt you’ll want to hit up some of the beaches! On our two-night stay, we had time for one beach day, and chose to go to Super Paradise because it’s right next to Jackie O’s (gay) Beach Club.

Bougie: Rent a set of beach chairs, order a pitcher of sangria and a plate of food, live the life of luxury! According to the internet, prices can vary wildly for beach chairs, depending on when and where you go. I’ll admit I was super naive: after our time on Kos, I knew Mykonos would be a bit more expensive, but foolishly hoped that we wouldn’t have to pay more than 10€. Bahahah! Our first quote was 55€ for two “front row” chairs, 50€ for the next two rows, or 40€ for the rest! Yikes. We settled on a pair at the other end of the beach (by Jackie O’s) for 35€ – a bargain if you ask me! For this price, you get a guaranteed patch of shade on a golden Medditerranean beach, and comfy chairs to lounge/dry off on for the day. A pitcher of sangria will set you back 35€, a burger 20€, a plate of calamari 17€. Phew – these prices stressed me out!

Budget: Find yourself a patch of sand, set up your towel, BYO shade if you can. BYO beer and snacks! This option works if you’re not planning to be there for long, don’t mind moving around a bit, or if you have a good way to stay shady. You could also try going early morning and snagging a chair before the crowds arrive and you get kicked off.

In between: Get a chair and BYO everything else. We tried this but felt kind of awkward with people aggressively providing service… so we ordered Sangria and then refilled our glasses “subtly” with our backpack beer.

Continue reading “Mykonos in High Season: For Budget Backpackers, Bougie Babes, or Both?”

Sombrio Beach: Day Trip from Victoria

Visiting one (or more) of the beaches along the Juan de Fuca coast on Vancouver Island is the perfect way to spend a day trip from Victoria. While they each have unique draws (e.g. Mystic Beach starts with a great hike through the forest, Botanical is known for its tide pools and rock formations), they’re also similar enough that you could spend the day at any one of them without fear of missing out. Heads up: if you have a rental car, Sombrio may not be the best choice for you! Read on. Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to head to Sombrio Beach for the day:

Continue reading “Sombrio Beach: Day Trip from Victoria”

Athens: 4 Unique Ways to Experience the Acropolis

The Acropolis (the hill)/Parthenon (the main structure) is an obvious must-see on most folks’ trips to Athens, but what’s not immediately obvious is how to experience it. Sure, you could hop off your city tour bus, give it a walk-through, and move on to the next site on your list. If that brings you travel joy, go for it! We loved getting a sense of Athens and the Parthenon from a few different vantage points, so I present to you: Athens’ Acropolis, 4-ways! Zany, up-close, romantic, and historical!

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Stopover on Kos: One Day on the Island

On our journey from Edinburgh to Athens, we found ourselves with the relatively cheaper option of flying through Kos, a Greek Island in the Dodecanese group. Skyscanner was giving us flights arriving into Kos late at night and leaving for Athens early in the morning, but after finding multiple flights per day from Kos to Athens, we decided to buy two separate flights and spend our first day in Greece on an island!

Since we were arriving late, we opted to stay at an Airbnb by the airport in Antimachia, a literal 4 minute drive away (our host picked us up). If you’re staying in Kos town, buses travel from the airport during the day, but after 7 or 8:30 pm you’ll have to take a taxi.

We were staying at a home in the countryside, so our evening plans consisted of watching episodes of UNHhhh and trying to get some sleep (hard because we were now melting after a chilly week in Edinburgh)! Kos Town might be a better choice for you if you’re looking for some nightlife.

We had a 5:30 pm flight the next day so we had almost an entire day to spend at the beach! You have your choice of sandy beaches on Kos, but it was an easy decision for us: lovely and popular Kardemena beach was very close to where we were staying. Our host very nicely dropped us off at the KTEL bus stop at the airport, and €2 and 10 minutes later, we were at beautiful Kardemena!

Continue reading “Stopover on Kos: One Day on the Island”

How to Enjoy Edinburgh in the Rain

It rained almost the entire week I was in Edinburgh in July. Most days, it poured! A little rain didn’t put a damper on things though. Would it have been better in the sun? I drought it! (Ok… it obviously would have been a little better not having to peel off sopping wet pants every time I got back to the AirBnb, but it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the city!)

Heads up: this isn’t a list of indoor activities. I’m assuming that if you’ve found your way to Edinburgh, you want to see more than the inside of buildings. These are ideas for places to duck into when it’s really pouring, and things to enjoy no matter the weather, so dress appropriately!

Here we go! 13 ways to enjoy Edinburgh in the rain:

Continue reading “How to Enjoy Edinburgh in the Rain”

The 12 Days of Lezmas: Lesbian Gift Guide 2019

I’m a sucker for holiday gift lists, even when they have nothing to do with my interests, or anyone I’m buying gifts for! This year, I thought I’d write up a silly one full of gifts that any lesbian would love. (Or at least that this lesbian would love… am I selfishly just posting my Christmas list online? Yeah, maybe. Still, it’s a great list :D) Sing along as you read!*

On the 12th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

12 books for queer folks: One for every month! Apparently I’m a bad lesbian and haven’t read any of this year’s best, but here are 55 to choose from!

11 Crave subscriptions: so that the lezzie in your life and all their friends can watch The L Word: Generation Q! That said… one subscription might be better so that they can have L Word nights with friends – you’d basically be giving the gift of queer community 😉 You can also subscribe to Showtime directly, or get it through Prime, but this was the best option for us.

10 cubes for packing? 10 pots for planting? 10 puppies pupping? 10 bras for sporting? 10 socks for hiking? I’ll leave this one open so that you can cater to their interests beyond being a lesbian!

9 super-gay pins: Go nuts at the Autostraddle shop! They have an extensitve pin selection: gal pal? pronouns? scissors? Check check check! They also have sweet clothes, hats, and and other accessories (yes, I’m eyeing the Bette Porter 2020 tshirt).

8 button-up tees: You may be wondering ‘is 8 too many’? But you should be asking ‘is 8 enough’?!?! Peau de Loup is awesome for many reasons, among them the fact that lots of their button-ups are named after Brooklyn 99 characters! Also, they’re Vancouver-based! No stressful customs charges for Canadian shoppers eh!

7 gifts for others: charitable donations are always a nice gift choice, and the lesbian in your life would likely appreciate one (or seven) in their name towards a queer-oriented organization. Here’s a list of LGBTQ-related charities in Canada; a couple in BC: MOSAIC and Rainbow Refugees. No doubt an intersectional charity would also be of interest – Black Lives Matter Vancouver’s community resource list may give you some good ideas, or consider one of these Canadian organizations helping Indigenous communities.

6 toques for fashion: we all know that for lesbians, toques are more gaydar beacons accessories than something to keep you warm in winter, hence the need for so many. I always feel good shopping at 10 Tree. If six seems excessive, consider contributing to her snapback collection.

Fiiiive L Word sets: yes I know there are 6 seasons but we lesbians prefer to pretend that Season 6 didn’t happen. I guess if it *happens* to be included in the full set, that’s acceptable, siiigh.

4 boob earrings: Here you go, enjoy! Yes ok there are only 2 earrings but that equals 4 boobs, duh! Also Hinterland Empire is a really rad business with ethical, American-made clothing and accessories. They’re located in Northern California but are worth paying those pesky customs fees for.

3 top-notch toys [Warning: NSFMP (Not Safe For My Parents)]: Wet for Her makes great products specifically for lesbians. Why 3? Well… maybe she’ll require multiple parts, plus accessories. Also, the song goddammit! I had to add an extra syllable, but I’m sticking to the numbers!

2 diva cups: some lesbians menstruate; for those who do, the menstrual cup is such an awesome, economical, environmentally friendly way to go. That said, they can get lost, left at home when you need them or, after some time the silicone can get compromised, so why not get a backup?

Andddd… aaaaa… cheeky, sneaky, not leaky PEE-ZEE: Ok I definitely added some syllables here – worth it for the rhyme! This is a fun gift that can be used for a variety of purposes and by folks of various genders. I enjoy using it when camping! I like that this Pee-zee is Canadian.

Happy shopping, and happy holigays!

Tofino Hot Springs: How to Get There

For a two night Tofino itinerary, check out this post.

We spent a relaxing anniversary weekend in Tofino a couple years ago, and top of our list was visiting Hot Springs Cove. It’s the place to go for a relaxing few hours’ dip in some natural, spring-fed hot pools right by the ocean! Considering how special they are, they’re a little tricky to get to. Here’s how to do it, and what to expect:

The hot springs are only reachable by boat and float plane, so booking a day tour was the best option for us (uncomplicated = relaxing). Plus, since we visited in the off-season, rates were reduced! We went with Ocean Outfitters, and had a great experience.

The boat ride to the hot springs technically only takes about an hour, but the trip doubles as a wildlife viewing tour. In the fall/winter, there isn’t much in the way of whale-viewing, although we did see a grey whale! There are always plenty of seals and sea lions en route, but the big one for me was SEA OTTERS! We kept passing groups of blobs floating nearby. I thought it was bull kelp, but it was SO MUCH BETTER! (Btw the captain made it clear that they are *not* holding hands because they’re in love! </3) Depending on the season, you can also see whales, bears, and puffins.

The ride is rocky!! Bring meds if you’re prone to sea sickness, because you’ll probably go via the open ocean in at least one direction for better wildlife spotting.

The boats dock about 2 kms from the hot springs, which leaves you with about a half hour walk to bliss. This is all part of the trip! The mostly flat boardwalk leads you through one of those reliably magnificent Pacific Northwest rainforests. Kyla and I were inspired by NOT having to wear massive backpacks like we had on the Juan de Fuca Trail, so we raced along, eager to warm up!

You’ll know you’ve reached the cove once you smell the sulphur! There’s a covered area at the top of the hot springs where you can store your stuff, as well as two changing stalls. You’ll need to bring your own food and water for the day.

The rocks are slippery, so get low and go slow! Water shoes would work well, too. There are hotter pools near the top, and as you get closer to the ocean, they start to feel more like a warm bath. We climbed past everyone else to the pièce de résistance: the closest pool to the ocean, where we had front row seats to waves crashing against the rocks just a few feet away! Kyla even climbed to a shallow spot that *she claimed* was warm, where she’d get a blast of cold every time the waves came in.

If you have a waterproof camera, I’d recommend bringing that down instead of a phone. (Like, we obviously shouldn’t have brought ours down, but pictures! They were fine but they had to dry out after 2 hours of rain and steam!)

Since we were there on a long weekend, it was busy. Despite all of the people there, it still felt romantic! We visited at the right time of year: hot pools and cool, rainy air were such a cozy combo. After a couple of hours soaking, we felt sooo relaxed (and sooo tired). We hurried back through the forest to meet our boat, and dozed on the way back.

Happy soaking!

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Hot Goss! Scalding Tea: Interview with En Route with Love

Last month I had the pleasure of doing an interview with En Route with Love, a queer married couple from Minnesota who love to travel. It was so much fun; they are lovely and asked such insightful questions about blogging, identity, overseas work, and queer travel.

Here’s a bit of the interview; head over to their post to read the whole thing! You’ll find out about working in Australia and South Korea, my favourite places in Canada and abroad, travelling while gay, and the thing I can’t be without while travelling! Drumrollllll…. check out the full article here! Without further ado, here’s a little teaser 😉

You have an incredible blog, lestalkmoretravel.com, that covers not only travel, but also posts about the LGBT community and being an introvert. How do these three themes play into one another in your writing?

Thank you so much! Les Talk, More Travel was born in 2015 from the intersection of what I considered the 3 most important aspects of my identity at the time. My intention was to write articles related to each of these topics, and the ways they interact. These days, I find myself writing a lot more informational (queer) travel posts. These are what people tend to search for when they find my blog, and I include the kind of information I look for when I’m planning a trip. That said, I love writing those deeper and more introspective posts! They do take quite a bit more time, and it obviously means being vulnerable, but they’re generally my favourite. I’m hoping to write a bit more about introversion in the coming months, since I feel like that’s the topic I’ve slacked on the most (and it’s an important one)!

One of your blog posts, “On Blogging: Don’t Change! Be Yourself!” really resonated with me, and I am sure other bloggers that share their personal stories with a greater audience. Through my lens, it spoke to the pressures of changing your ‘appearance’ to keep up with other bloggers who have a lot of followers and/or are sponsored. From your experience, what tips can you share with those who are just starting out in the travel-blogging world?

I’ve had a lot of trouble differentiating between “blogging” and “writing”, because blogging has always been about writing for me, but some of the most successful travel bloggers are not successful because of their fantastic writing skills (most DO have these skills, but not exclusively) – it’s that they are driven, often self-taught, business and marketing-minded individuals. I would love to build those skills myself, but what I have the capacity for at the moment is just continuing to write consistent, information-filled (sometimes silly!) blog posts.

Think hard about what motivates you to write and keep a blog. Do you look forward to writing? I do! I find it therapeutic and fun, and I’ll love it even if I never make money doing it. Would you still want to blog if it doesn’t end up being lucrative? Would you still want to blog if it does? How would you feel if you were pressured to write about a specific topic at a specific time?

My suggestions: write about things you feel passionately about, be picky about what you say yes to, and don’t undervalue your time. Know that it takes TIME, money, hard work, research, and skill-building to monetize your blog, if that’s what you choose to do.

Overall, in the last few years of having Les Talk, More Travel, one of the things I’ve felt the most pride and satisfaction from has been having members of MY community – other lesbian and queer travel bloggers – acknowledge my blog and connect with me so that we could collaborate in some way. Like this interview with En Route with Love! What an honour 🙂 THOSE are the most important and rewarding connections to foster!

Your blog post “How Travel Helped Me Come Out” is also a very personal and important piece of writing. There is a small portion on how you took some of your travel time to soak up queer television, and as a person who relied heavily on media arts to come out, I am curious as to how this influenced you in your journey?

Media arts are so important! I do think it’s different now, because most TV shows have at least one queer character, often a lesbian, and often a femme lesbian. That wasn’t something I had really even considered when I first saw the L Word, and then I was like whoaaa lesbians can look like me (well like… a way hotter version of me :P), so… I could be a lesbian?! As I tried to work up the courage to come out (this lasted a few years), queer shows and movies helped me feel less isolated. There may not have been too many with happy endings, but just knowing they were out there, that there were other people who watched them, helped me believe in the possibility of community in the future. (Or maybe I didn’t think that far ahead and just liked watching all the gay ladies hook up :P)

What are your tips on researching places to stay and things to do when traveling to countries that may not be as accepting of queer couples?

This is a long one! Short answer: Connect with local queers if possible! LGBTQ+ travel bloggers (like the ones featured on this website!) are always good resources. Search “lesbian/queer/gay/LGBT (destination)” and you are likely to find some decent information! For accommodation, try searching Airbnb or Couchsurfing for terms like “lesbian” or “queer”. Meetup.com and Facebook often have active, queer social groups and links to events pages.

Long answer: I would say that Step One is to look up laws and rights regarding homosexuality/same-sex relationships in the country. If it’s illegal or things sounds really bad, do you really want to go? I would think about not only my own safety (as a white, cis, straight-passing tourist who can come and go as I please), but the safety of queer residents.

Is it taboo to come out to family or employers there? Is there community, is there access to health info or LGBTQ+ rights groups? I can’t always find these answers. But I think as queer travellers, it’s really important to be conscious of the privilege we have when we travel to countries where – even if we have a bad experience – we made the choice to come and we have the option (and funds) to leave. We have the option to display affection in public, or to choose not to, and know that we can go home to our regular lives and spaces where we’re comfortable being queer.

I don’t mean to say this in a judgemental way – I’ve been to countries in the past without doing thorough research, and I may choose to visit countries in the future where it’s illegal to be gay. Just something I think critically about when brainstorming how to become a better traveller 😉

Read more at En Route with Love!

An Afternoon on the Glasgow Mural Trail

Kyla and I love each other, but we also love our freedom when we travel! We were both pretty independent travellers when we met, and we try to work in solo travel time, even when we travel together. Depending on where we are, that might mean a few hours to a couple of days.

In Scotland, it worked nicely into our plans for her to rent a car and take a dream road trip up to Skye, while I got a much-needed dose of city exploration time in Glasgow and Edinburgh. I only had a few hours in Glasgow, but I was so impressed with the city! Some quick Googling showed me that there was an epic mural trail there, so that’s how I spent my afternoon. It was a great way to see different parts of the city, and I stumbled on TWO festivals along the way (involving drinking and live music, carnival rides, and a family ceilidh)!

The main website about the murals is City Centre Mural Trail. It has a thorough map of the trail, and you can click on each number to get a picture and more information about it.

The only issue I had was accessing the map without data on my phone. I couldn’t find a good app to download when I had access to wi-fi, so I just decided ahead of time on a general idea of what I wanted to see most, since I didn’t have time to do the whole thing while still giving myself the flexibility to wander down random streets and into markets and cafes and ceilidhs! I mapped it out on Google Maps beforehand, so that I could cross-reference it with the mural map (#nerdy), but I still had to find wi-fi a couple times. Usually, this was my own fault for reading the map wrong or just not looking UP at the right wall! But if you’re flexible and happy to get a little lost, you’ll have no problem! If you’d prefer to know exactly where you are to make sure you don’t miss any murals, I’d recommend downloading an offline map app, like Maps.me.

Self-guided tours not your thing? Glasgow offers guided street art tours for 10 pounds! https://www.walkingtoursin.com/street-art-tour

Here are the pieces I saw:

Staying in Edinburgh? No doubt Glasgow deserves more time, but if you have limited days, it’s an easy day or half day trip. It’s an hourish-long train ride from Edinburgh, or about an hour and a half by bus, with multiple trips on each per hour.

Happy (mural) trails! Have you been? Let me know your favourite piece of art!

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