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Trailblazer: Austin Armacost – ‘I’ve enjoyed my own company at 35,000ft!’

Trailblazer: Austin Armacost – ‘I’ve enjoyed my own company at 35,000ft!’

Austin Armacost was a housemate on the UK's Celebrity Big Brother last year

How many countries have you visited?
I started traveling internationally at the age of 18, that’s when I got my very first passport. Since then I’ve visited around 15 countries, mostly in Europe and Asia!

Which country has the hottest guys, in your opinion?
I would have to say the UK, for sure! There is such a variety of men here. From bankers who are suited and booted, to construction workers with biceps bulging underneath a high visibility vest… it’s quite a broad spectrum. I also am biased because I just love British beef! 

Where do you hope to visit in 2017 and why?
My absolute dream holiday is actually taking place this month. I am visiting Reykjavik in Iceland. I know it’s not far away but the sheer beauty of the country has grabbed me.

I plan on doing all the attractions including the Blue Lagoon and seeing the Northern Lights. However, I am not looking forward to the outrages prices there.

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What are your top tips for making it through a long haul flight?
Don’t drink too much! Everybody always thinks that traveling and drinking go hand in hand. For me it does not. Also, I always try to exercise as soon as I arrive in my destination city. Exercise is a wonderful reliever of jet lag! And also, stay hydrated.

What’s your preferred outfit to fly in?
I just feel there’s something a bit tacky about traveling in ‘comfortable’ clothes. Maybe once we reach cruising altitude you can change but I would never travel through an airport in trackies and a hooded sweatshirt.

At the same time wear something easily removable or with very few buttons, zips, and so on. I always prefer to wear tight-fitting clothing so a nice tight breathable tee and skinny jeans is my go to outfit. Also, shoes that you can easily slip on and off. I like to take off my shoes when I fly.

Are you a member of the mile high club?
I am not. There’s something a bit off-putting and unromantic about ‘making love’ in a bathroom. I have, however, on long haul flights enjoyed my own company at 35,000ft!

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Where is your hometown, and what’s your favourite thing about it?
I am originally from Franklin, Indiana. A small, fairly rural community about half an hour south of the capital Indianapolis. It’s located in the Midwest region of that state underneath the Great Lakes.

My favourite thing about my home is the sense of community. I can always rely on the people who I grew up with. They have been in my life long before my ‘success’ and will remain long after. It is a wonderful, typical small American town with houses surrounded by white picket fences, very little crime, and a real sense of feeling true American hospitality.

Where in the world was your best meal, and why?
I couldn’t specifically recall one meal, but my favorite style of dining would have to be Korean BBQ. It is interactive, creative. You are brought the raw meat and sauces with a grill in the middle of your table and you cook your own food.

It’s more of an experience than just going to a restaurant. Don’t wear anything too nice because you leave stinking of BBQ. But it is still well worth trying!

What’s been your favourite Pride experience around the world?
Favourite would be Chicago. Not only is it one of the biggest, but to see how the community, police, government, really come together to support the LGBTI community on OUR day is remarkable. Plus Chicago is one of my favourite cities in America anyway.

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What is your favourite destination in the world and why?
Without a doubt it would have to be Pattaya, Thailand. I have been a guest judge at the Miss International Queen Pageant (the world’s largest trans beauty pageant) that takes place every year in Pattaya and Bangkok. Pattaya, even though it is full of brothels, is one of those places that has the perfect mix of culture and history with partying and clubbing.

It has a little something for everybody. It’s on the coast as well, and I’m always up for dipping into water. My favorite place to stay is The Woodlands Resort. Also, Thailand is cheap as chips. As a Yorkshireman, I appreciate that.  

Where did you typically go on holiday as a child?
Anywhere that the family car could drive us to. I never once flew on an airplane as a child. But people don’t seem to remember how big America is. It could be snowing in Indiana, but after a 16-hour drive you can be on the sunny beaches of Florida.

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Have you traveled to any anti-gay countries?
I have not. I write a column for GuysLikeU.com in which one discusses this topic. The LGBTI community tends to neglect how far we have come while forgetting that in many countries it is still a capital crime to be LGBTI.

What many people tend to forget is that you are in THEIR country. No matter the status of your relationship, laws, or sexuality in your home country, you have to abide by their laws. I would not put myself in a situation where I could knowingly be arrested, imprisoned, or even sometimes executed. 

Have you ever experienced homophobia abroad?
Rarely, as I said I tend to visit parts of the world where I know my sexuality will not be an issue. I think that is another reason why I find Thailand such a great place. You can express yourself however you like and nobody seems to care.

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What’s your favourite destination for a boys’ getaway?
Palm Springs is one of my all time favorite ‘come on girls, we are having a weekend away’ spots. It’s quite affordable to rent a luxury house with a pool, the sun is always shining, and it is close to several other gay hotspots (Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco.)

It is truly a hidden desert gem. There is no scene, so don’t come expecting to party. It is just a fun place to get the boys together, maybe drop your bathing suits, and spend the whole day frolicking in the sun.

Would you do a gay cruise?
No – I wouldn’t. I have however done the RuPaul’s Drag Race cruise and had an amazing time! I have heard stories of what happens on ‘gay cruises’ and that is just not my thing.

When I do the RuPaul cruises I do feel like I am working, though. One of my TV shows ‘The A-List: New York’ was on in 2010 and 2011 in the slot before RuPaul’s Drag Race. So a lot of the fans of that show were fans of The A List.

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Favourite gay club around the world?
I know this is probably a bit cliché but I would have to go with the Abbey in West Hollywood. Because I know a lot of the staff, dancers, performers, I always feel like I’m surrounded by friends there. They are currently expanding the bar to include more of a nightclub feel. Every time I touch down in Los Angeles, the first place I go is The Abbey for a strawberry martini.

You recently visited Leeds, Manchester, Hong Kong and Taiwan. What was your trip highlight of each?
Most people don’t realize that I actually live in the UK full-time now. I recently moved from Huddersfield after seven years, now to Leeds. I am a big fan of the north and it is so easy (in my opinion) to jump on a train and be in London in around two-and-a-half hours.

I love the diversity and electricity of Manchester. It is an amazingly creative city full of architecture, art, and a sense of style.

The food was amazing in Hong Kong. More specifically I got to visit the tallest bar in the world on the 118th floor of the Ritz Carlton – that was neat!

In Taiwan, and this may sound strange, but something I found fascinating is that the airline crew come on before we landed and actually warned travelers that in Taiwan, smuggling drugs is punishable by death. I always forget that in many parts of the world the laws are so drastically different.

Just a little Sarvangasana to start the day #NakedYoga

A photo posted by austinarmacost (@austinarmacost) on

What’s been your most romantic travel experience?
I feel many times the ‘all day transit’ period can be the most romantic. Sitting in an airport lounge having a drink, discussing what’s about to come or has just been, either before or after a long flight I find peaceful.

Also, I am a very selfless traveler. For example, if I am with somebody I care about I will always give up my window seat, take the middle and let them sleep on me. I rarely sleep on international flights so I always sacrifice my comfort for the person I am traveling with.

You are the face of REVIV – what is it, and have have you incorporated it into your travel lifestyle?
REVIV is an amazing clinic that offers intravenous drips that help with dozens of day to day problems. The drip bags are full of vitamins and minerals to help you get, feel, or stay feeling great! It is the perfect cure for a hangover, jet lag, stress reliever, or simply just a pick me up. It’s a wonderful product and it is now most definitely one of the first things I do if I arrive into a city with a clinic! 

For more information about REVIV, visit revivme.com. For more information about Austin, click here.