Ilove a good challenge.
My unofficial title as “gay travel expert”(as I’ve been called by others) can be a heavy burden. People think I’m an expert in, well, the entire world! Recently, I’ve gotten media requesting quotes about time shares in New Hampshire, the best gay tango schools in Buenos Aires, a lesbian-friendly resort in Punta Cana, and a lot more esoteric subjects.
When someone contacts me and asks if I know anything about the most pet-friendly airline or which tourism boards market to the LGBT segment, I usually answer (to myself anyway), not yet. Gimme an hour and Ican usually find the answer to most questions. I don’t always find all the information about a given topic in an hour, and I certainly never pretend to be an expert, but it’s amazing what I can learn with the right contacts in a relatively short amount of time. As its critical mass builds, dot 429 and networking sites like it will help expand my circle of contacts.
A recent example illustrates. I visited Toronto (pictured above) at the behest of Tourism Toronto. I was invited to visit the studio of local gay radio station ProudFM three hours after arrival at Toronto Island Airport (via the fabulous Porter Airlines). I am the “gay travel expert” for ProudFMonce a month for their “Travel Tuesdays” segment.They wanted me to talk about Toronto. Which I’d only been to once before. For one night. On a business trip!
I had three hours from touchdown (luckily the flight was on time), through customs and immigration to my hotel (the fab Thompson Hotel), then to my colleague’s hotel (the swanky Hotel le Germain Toronto), and on to a tour that Tourism Toronto set up so that I’d learn a bit about Toronto. An amazing gay race was on! The tour guide was terrific, and I really put him through his paces. Upon arrival three hours later, I was, if not an expert at least a very solidly knowledgeable visitor to Toronto.
You can listen in and judge whether you think I rose to the challenge by clicking on the following two links. (It’s a five-minute interview divided into two parts.)