Tell us more about you…
Doug: We’re Doug and Sanjay, both 30-somethings. I work in travel and am from the Lake District.
Sanjay: I work for an LGBTI charity and grew up in London. I’m half Indian and half English.
What is your travel project all about?
Sanjay: We’re currently sat in the airport about to fly off to India for a bit of an epic trip around the Golden Triangle and Kerala! We started our Instagram account (thetravellinggays) as a bit of fun last year, and to keep a record of all of our trips because we love to travel. We’ve started dipping our toes into a bit of blogging and YouTubing with it as well.
How many countries have you been to?
Doug: Between us, too many to count! Probably more than 50. There’s lots on our list still to go to. South America is somewhere we’ve not explored yet. We really want to check out Brazil, Chile and Argentina. We’re thinking of doing it by cruise over the next couple of years.
How many continents, and which?
Sanjay: Five so far. We go to North America all the time. We’ve got friends in LA so love visiting them. Australasia; Sydney is a lot of fun! Asia we’ve all over and of course Europe. In Africa, I went on safari with my mum in Kenya because my mum was born in Nairobi.
What’s your favorite destination you’ve visited and why?
Doug: It’s so hard to choose. There are so may that we love and we love different places depending on what type of trip it is. When we try to pick one, we go round in circles! If we have to, probably Costa Rica. It’s got an amazing mix all in one island, from rainforests and volcanoes to hot springs, waterfalls and beaches. It’s truly stunning.
And your worst?
Sanjay: We haven’t got a worst! We can always find some charm in everywhere that we go. That said, we’ve stayed in some pretty grotty hostels in Thailand!
Where was your most romantic trip and why?
Sanjay: Definitely Santorini. I surprised Doug with a trip there from Mykonos for a night last year. After a three course meal served over dinner on the balcony of our hotel at sunset, Sanj got down on one knee and proposed!
What has been your biggest vacation disaster?
Doug: When we went to Vietnam to see Sanj’s dad we collected our visas on arrival. We were about to get them processed and I couldn’t find my passport. I said I’d given it to Sanj, Sanj said I hadn’t. We were scrambling around, they even went and searched the plane we arrived on, but it was nowhere to be found. I was about to be deported on a flight back in moments and then Sanj realized he’d handed it in to the visa person without paying attention. There were a few cross words that night!
Which country has the hottest people?
Doug: If you look at us as a couple we clearly have different tastes to each other, so we’re never going to agree on that!
Where did you typically go on holiday as a kid?
Doug: My family went camping in France every year for the entire summer.
Sanjay: My mum loves traveling all over the place too so it was quite varied, but India a fair bit.
Have you ever experienced homophobia or discrimination abroad?
Sanjay: Thankfully not really. However, we are careful with the way that we interact in certain places if we know it could be problematic.
Would you avoid a certain country because of the laws there?
Doug: We haven’t in the past but we’ve definitely started thinking about it more. Not so much for a safety issue but there are questions about whether or not you should support an economy if the government doesn’t support LGBTI rights. It’s a really hard to decide what the right thing to do is. But one thing we do know is that we need to support those in countries who don’t have the same level of legal rights as we do in England.
Do you ever hope to get married, and if so, would you consider a destination wedding?
Sanjay: Well, we’ve actually just set our date and picked the venue for our wedding next year. It’s going to be in Crete so absolutely, we want a beautiful gorgeous backdrop and guaranteed sunshine. You just can’t second guess the English weather!
Where would you go on your honeymoon?
Doug: We’re currently torn between an over-water bungalow in the Maldives and a tour of South America at the moment. We want to make it really special and like nothing we’ve ever done before.
Where were you going the last time you stepped on a plane, apart from home?
Sanjay: We were off to San Francisco at Christmas, and we took our mums away to Yosemite which was stunning. I then went on to Vegas with my mum and they visited the Grand Canyon and went to see Britney. Epic!
What is your top tip for making it through a long haul flight?
Doug: Make sure you have a big bottle of water and also book an airport lounge before you travel. It’s a great way to unwind and relax before the flight. Oh, and don’t forget some comfy trackies to change into onboard!
Where do you hope to visit this year and why?
Doug: We’ve got a couple of abroad weddings booked in already. We’re off to Sanj’s best mate’s wedding in Hawaii, and my best mate’s wedding in Cyprus! We’d also love to do a trip to Finland and stay in the igloos where you can see the Northern Lights.
What is the best thing about traveling with your partner?
Sanjay: Getting to spend time with each other, exploring new places and making new memories together. There’s that old cliche saying that travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer, which is absolutely true. We want to collect memories as we get older, rather than just collecting ‘things’.
How did you both meet?
Doug: We met at Manchester Pride back in 2009 at a mutual friend’s house party. We saw each other across the room and the rest is history! Nine years later and here we are, about to embark on an exciting adventure in India and planning a wedding.
For more information about The Travelling Gays, visit their official Instagram page.