Since quitting their jobs two years ago, the Nomadic Boys – aka Sebastien Chaneac and Stefan Arestis – have travelled extensively across Asia, taking in the fabulous sights of over 16 countries, including the Maldives, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Here, Stefan reveals why becoming full time travellers was the best decision the couple ever made.
How did the Nomadic Boys begin?
Throughout our seven year relationship we’ve always loved travelling together. We used to have comfortable nine-to-five jobs in London, I was a lawyer and Sebastien an IT consultant. But we just weren’t passionate or in any way driven by about our jobs – they were more a means to an end, which paid the bills. Our dream was to travel and discover the world. So after several years of planning and saving, we left in June 2014 for our big trip in Asia, where we’ve been ever since. We created our Nomadic Boys blog just before leaving so we could record and laugh about our adventures, stories and discoveries with our friends and family. It has since grown a lot, particularly within the gay travel community.
How often do you make it back home?
This is actually our first time back home since we set off. During our big Asia trip, ‘home’ tended to come out to us, meaning family and friends would visit us wherever we were based at the time.
How do you fund this incredible lifestyle?
We saved for several years back when we were living and working in London and have been to date living off the back of this. Since Nomadic Boys has grown so much over the past year, it has started to make money via sponsorship, advertising, affiliation, commission arrangements and sponsored posts. We also do consultancy work unrelated to the blog. As long as we have internet access, we’re fine.
Is it as glamorous as it looks?
Longterm travelling is a lot of hard work. There is a huge amount of planning involved, but of course it all pays off in the end. In addition, you have to constantly keep the budget in mind as you simply cannot spend the same as you would during a regular two-week holiday. When travelling slowly and longterm, the less you spend the longer you can continue travelling – but you don’t want to sacrifice missing out on things. It’s all about finding the right balance between the two.
And of course you work too, in the form of the blog…
The blog itself is a lot of work that keeps us on our toes. Writing blog posts that are interesting, engaging and useful requires an immense amount of time and research. The photos and videos have to be high quality and edited ready for use. The blog then needs to be maintained and developed as it grows, so the
IT side of things is a full time job in itself. Finally, the social networking and PR is also extremely time consuming. We joke that we spend more hours behind our laptops then we did before in our old jobs. But the difference is we absolutely love what we’re doing now. Working behind the laptop watching a beautiful sunset over a tropical beach in the Philippines is certainly more glamorous then reviewing a court brief and peering out at Old Street roundabout on a grey Tuesday morning…
How long do you think you’ll keep travelling for?
Our dream is to be able to continue travelling indefinitely. By travelling we mean basing ourselves in a new place and staying there for a few months or longer, rather than moving around with a backpack every couple of days. Travelling slowly is far more effective, better on the budget and the best way to truly discover a new destination.
What have been your highlights so far?
Every country is so diverse with something incredible to offer, whether it’s the scenery, people, food… The Komodo National Park in Indonesia particularly blew us away. This is where you come to visit the largest reptiles in the world, the famous Komodo Dragons. In addition, the underwater world is stunning! Thailand, Vietnam and Sri Lanka blew our minds in terms of food. The Sri Lankans make curry out of anything, whether it’s a pineapple, jackfruit or aubergine and, unlike Indian curries, use less ghee, so it’s not as heavy. And of course for gay scene, you can’t beat the gay life of Silom in Bangkok.
Have you encountered any homophobia during your travels?
Sadly yes, but mainly online. We collaborated with a high end hotel on Boracay in the Philippines to promote their ‘Rainbow Package’ and the image was picked up and shared by a homophobe in Sri Lanka criticising two men for wearing a lunghi – a sarong worn by men publicly throughout South Asia and places like Myanmar. Otherwise, we are considerate, discreet and respectful to the local culture when we travel, so we’ve not invited the opportunity for outright homophobia. At worst, people think we are brothers travelling together and don’t bat an eyelid. The most annoying is “are you sure you want a double bed?!” And sometimes there’s the need to tiptoe around the evil ‘gay’ word!
What trips have you got coming up?
Our next big trip takes us to Latin America where we plan to base ourselves for a few years, travelling slowly through the continent. We will start in Argentina and plans will evolve from there.
What destinations are left on your bucket list?
For me, it would be a cruise to Antarctica. Sebastien on the other hand has always dreamed of doing a road trip across the USA. There are other specific experiences we dream of, such as diving in Silfra Lake in Iceland – which has the best visibility in the world, seeing the Northern Lights and visiting the Galapagos Islands. In fact we’re excited that we will be fulfilling at least one of these with our upcoming Galapagos Islands gay cruise in October. Come join us on board!