Traveling the world with the person you love sounds like a dream reserved for the end of a rom-com. Fulfilling that dream while being paid is a lifestyle people would use a wish from a monkey paw for.
For a select few in the world of travel blogging, this is their reality. The world is all paid-for flights, cute photos and the dreamiest sights the planet has to offer. All they have to do is let tens of thousands of people into their life.
So what’s it like to lay your relationship bare to the world? Is it the millennial fantasy come true or are the consequences unexpected – and horrifying?
The Globetrotter Guys, one of the newest travel blogging couples on the scene, decided to test it for themselves. Sion and Ben, both 30, have been together for 10 years and married in 2017. However, it wasn’t until January 2018 they decided to take on the world of gay Insta couples. We sat down with them to find out what it’s really like to be a couple travel blogger.
Why did you start traveling in the first place? And what were you doing beforehand?
Sion: We did it once before – nine months when I finished uni. We went in 2011 to live in Australia for a few months and then did five months through Asia. I had to come back for my job – I was in corporate tax as a chartered accountant.
We’d fallen in love [with travel] and we had to go back eventually. We were looking for the right time, but there’s never a right time and always an eventually.
Why did you decide to make it a couple’s travel blog?
S: I thought it was a good idea, because I knew we were going traveling anyway. I was following all the usual gay travel blogs like Nomadic Boys and whatnot. And I’m always of the opinion if someone else can do something than so can I.
Ben wasn’t so sold on the couples idea to start with.
Ben: Well, because I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t see what the point was. I thought it would take away from what we got out of traveling.
Why did it have to be couples instead of just Sion?
B: It was a natural decision.
S: I think for me… I don’t want to say better sell…
B: It’s an easier market to get into.
S: I feel like people buy into you as an individual but they buy more into you as a couple. It’s nice to see a gay couple together. Well, it’s not something you see every day in mainstream media. So I think people buy into it more. And because we’re constantly together, it would be awkward not to do it together.
B: Probably make it harder than anything else.
S: We both bring different things to it. Ben’s worked in travel for 10 years. He has the travel background. I worked in professional services, I had the business hat on. So between us it works.
Do you plan where you want to go based on how romantic it looks?
B: Our blog is focused on luxury travel because we like luxury travel. And that seems to go hand-in-hand with the romance element of it. But at the same time, we need interesting things to do. So we would pick a romantic destination with the option to go off and do adventure activities – we like to explore.
S: We like to do all the adventurous things but we don’t want to go back to a hostel. At the end of the day we want to go back to a beautiful luxury hotel. We’re not going to stay in a dorm.
What was the best place for that?
S: Guatemala. We stayed in an AirBnB – it was a converted barn house, far away from all the crowds. Around the lake we could go sailing, kayaking, rock climbing and hiking.
The horse riding was pretty hilarious – they do not care if you’ve had a lesson or not, they just put you on a horse and off it goes.
Oh god, what happened?
S: I didn’t fall but I screamed. Apparently horses get excited and they flick their hair like a L’Oreal advert. I didn’t know what he was doing and it freaked me out. The instructor was laughing at me and so was Ben, because he’s ridden horses for 20 years.
When you’re on these trips together and you meet other people, do they ever hit on you?
B: It happens all the time. When you’re on a night out, that always happens.
What do you do?
S: [pause] We’re always polite.
B: We don’t react negatively. We just politely talk to the other person and explain the situation. I’m not going to storm up with a pint glass and say ‘stay away from my husband’.
Has there ever been a fight with someone else?
S: There was a time where a girl tried to hit Ben with her high heel once –
B: A GIRL.
S: Because the guy she wanted to dance with ended up dancing near us. Her friend was hitting on us so she got jealous.
B: So she tried to heel me.
S: We don’t really care when people try to approach us like that. We’ve been together for over a decade. We’re fairly secure.
The blog is another pressure on top of being together, how does it affect your relationship?
S: I think the problem is that we work differently. I’m very impatient, I want everything done yesterday. Ben likes to leave things to the last minute. So that’s a bone of contention.
B: They’ll always get done and they always get done before they need to be done.
S: Because I’m the one who started it, I take over quite a lot more, but to my own detriment then. Because I want Ben to do more.
B: I don’t necessarily know how.
You’re obviously involved in the Instagram travel couple world. Have you heard about anyone being in fake relationships on Instagram just for the gram?
S: We’ve heard of that.
B: Could you be arsed with that? We take so long taking one lovey dovey photo to try and get it spot on. And that’s when we actually are [lovey dovey]. I couldn’t spend all that time to put something out there that wasn’t even real.
S: Then how could you be passionate about that?
B: I think part of the reason we’ve been so successful on Instagram is because it’s genuine and believable and people can grasp that.
Has anyone ever accused you two of being in a fake relationship?
S: No one. There’s the posts of us two on Instagram, but when you look on Facebook and stuff, it’s still us together. Going out to meals, hanging with friends – the real stuff.
What’s your advice to someone who wants to start their own blog?
Both: Find a niche.
S: And understand that you are not going to get anything back for quite a long time for what you are going to put into it. You’re not going to post one selfie on Instagram and get the world. Patience, niche, and learn.