Love on the Road: Stefan & Sebastien

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Welcome to the newest installment of our interview series, Love on The Road. This collection will feature interviews from couples who have made traveling an essential part of their life. We hope these interviews will give you an up close and personal view of folks who love travel and love one another, and will inspire you to travel farther & love better.

Meet Sebastien & Stefan of Nomadic Boys:

02 Petronas Twin Towers selfie, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, June 2015

Hi! Please introduce yourselves.

We are Stefan and Sebastien, gay couple, who quit our jobs and lives in London in June 2014 to eat our way around the world. We’ve been traveling in Asia ever since. Stefan is of Greek Cypriot origin, born and raised in North London, Sebastien is from Lyon in France.

When did you first start traveling together?

We met in GAY bar in London on Tuesday 24th February 2009 and bonded over our interest in travel and food. We started traveling extensively around Europe together. Then in 2012 we visited Asia – Thailand for our first time. We fell in love and wanted more. So, from that moment, we decided to save and commit to a life of long term traveling, starting with the Trans Siberian into Asia.

03 View of Lake Baikal from the Trans Siberian train, Russia, June 2014

How would you describe your travel style?

We have been traveling to date financed by money we saved over 4 years in London. At the start we were more flashpackers then backpackers, staying in mid range budget places. But as our blog grew, we started to collaborate with luxury brands who wanted to target the LGBT market. And boy we are not complaining!

 

04 Enjoying the private beach of the St Regis hotel at Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, September 2015

In any case, when you are 2, you can join resources and afford a room as opposed to dorm beds. We did try dorm beds at the start of our travels in Moscow, but quickly learnt this is not for us!

What has been the most rewarding part of traveling as a couple?

Being able to share those unique and special moments with your other half. Also, it never gets lonely and meal times are always an adventure, though more because greedy Sebastien always tries to steal poor Stefan’s food and food fights inevitably break out.

05 Fighting over tarap fruit in Sandakan, Borneo Malaysia, August 2014

Planning your travels and maintaining a blog at the same time is hard work. The huge advantage when you are two is you can split this nicely between you. So Sebastien deals with all the planning, IT/SEO and videos for our blog. Stefan deals with all the content, photography and manages all our social media.

What has been the most challenging part of traveling as a couple?

Food fights. Many many food fights. There is this very offensive “s” word popular throughout Asian culture called sharing. We have really struggled with it and to this day have completely failed to understand what it means when it

comes to food. Spending so much time together has certainly made our relationship more intense and brought us closer together. But there will be those inevitable tantrums, disputes and arguments, which in our case is 99% caused by hunger and/or fatigue.

06 Food fight at the Kuching food festival in Sarawak, Malaysia Borneo, August 2015

As a gay couple, do you feel you encounter additional challenges on the road?

At the start we thought this would be the case, particularly in Asia, which is extremely backwards with LGBT legislation in most countries. So, at the start of our trip in Russia, a country producing more and more homophobic legislation, we went out of our way to book twin beds to avoid any problems. But, we quickly learnt this is entirely unnecessary. As tourists, you are usually always treated differently then locals, particularly in hotels. And in fact in more LGBT-backwards countries, like India, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia, as long as you don’t shout about it, no one actually cares.

Since our blog became more popular over the past 6 months, we found that the high-end brands in Indonesia and Malaysia actually welcomed us as a gay couple because they saw this more as a financial gain to target the lucrative pink pound.

07 Spa lovers ritual at The Four Seasons, Langkawi island in Malaysia, July 2015

The other slight challenge is when faced with new (non-gay!) company, we always have the coming out conversation to deal with. Most people in Asia assume we’re brothers at first and we play on this if we think they may take issue with homosexuality. Otherwise, if we feel comfortable around them, we go for it and have that conversation again.

The other major challenge of course is constantly trying to find a backpack large enough to house Sebastien’s growing selection of outfits…!

08 One of Seb's many outfits, Bangkok, Thailand, October 2015

Where have you been that you would recommend as the top destination for couples travel?

We loved Nepal and Mongolia for adventure and outdoor romance. The Mongolian Gobi Desert is so dramatically beautiful and different to anything you’re used to that sharing this with your important other is unique.

09 Sebastien at the Tsagaan Suvraga, Gobi Desert, Mongolia, July 2014

We trekked the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal and again, the scenery in the Himalayas at 5,000 metres above ground and the extremities you endure to get there makes it that little bit more special to be able to share it with your partner.

10 Stefan with horse at Thorung La Pass, Nepal, October 2014

How long have you two been together?

It’s been almost 7 years. Stefan complains there’s still no ring and invites Sebastien to consider this as the next step. Sebastien fell silent at this point…

Do you think your relationship would be different if you didn’t travel?

Back home in London, we were very much into a 9-5 office routine with friends, family and party at weekends. We had a very comfortable and happy lifestyle but it did start to get quite routine and same same. Travel has completely spiced things up, everyday completely different. The blog has brought us closer together in ways we would not have experienced had we not embarked on this journey. We now have a much deeper understanding about each other’s personality and moods and have definitely benefitted from this intense 16 months of being pretty much inseparable.

11 Stef and Seb inseparable at Carabao beach, Boracay, Philippines, May 2015

How do you define love?

Pad Thai washed down with a nice Margarita at Balcony bar in Bangkok’s very gay Silom Soi 4…summiting the Annapurna Circuit trek at Thorong La Pass at 5,416m (17,769ft) at 6am…snorkelling with turtles in the Indonesian Komodo National Park…complaining at the atrocious smell in the Trans Siberian train at the end of the 3rd day on board…Stefan having to carry Seb’s backpack through middle China because he had a back issue …learning to swim like mermaids together for Sebastien’s birthday in Boracay, Philippines…

 

12 Learning to pose and swim like mermaids in Boracay, Philippines, May 2015

It’s being able to share those little moments on your travels when you can look your partner in the eye and be grateful they are there to experience that moment with you. Oh and food. That’s another important definition. Understanding that this “s” word simply cannot apply to us…

13 Trying and failing to share Japanese food in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Borneo, September 2015

What do you think is the glue that keeps relationships together?

Trust and a magnetic need and desire for each other. Naturally we fight and fall out like every single other couple. But we quickly kiss and make up. We have come across couples who have fallen out on the road and gone their separate ways and this always frightens us a bit. We cannot bear the thought of travelling without each other and this we think is the glue that keeps our relationship alive and healthy.

14 LGBT campaign for Mandala Spa, Boracay Phlippines, May 2015

Also food. That’s an important glue that keeps things ticking over nicely. Some nice Japanese sashimi or tandoori chicken could make for some excellent glue.

15 Greedy Seby with two Indian Thali sets in Varanasi, India, November 2014

What advice do you have for couples considering traveling together?

The main thing is to understand each other which isn’t always easy. We have learnt that when one of us lashes out at the other, it’s not intentional and most often, a result of being overly tired (or hungry). It is also very important to respect each other’s space and have your alone moments. Being able to appreciate this goes a long way.

One way in which we maintain sanity is to keep our blog nicely split up to minimise disputes. This is the next big challenge to our relationship: from just travelling together to travelling and running a business together…

16 Our new business cards selfie ready for TBEX Asia, Bangkok, Thailand, October 2015

Thanks so much Stefan & Sebastien!

For more from this adorable and hilarious duo, check out their website

 Nomadic Boys

and be sure to follow their adventures on social media:

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

 

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6 thoughts on “Love on the Road: Stefan & Sebastien”

  1. Really enjoyed the post, have been following the Nomadic Boys for a while now and we love their blog. They have the ability to combine love, food and laughter which is three of our favourite things! Thanks for sharing.

    • I am so glad i met you two in Thailand. It makes everything you do and say more interesting. Keep it up guys, love to see all you do. Take care my friends.

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