We need to clear the air, pronto, before we begin this interview. Divine took a look at your site and let me tell you – we are green with envy. Big Time. You guys seem to be having the time of your life. We’ll get over it, I promise. It’ll just take a few minutes….
A few minutes later. Right, we’re ready to put on our big boy pants and commence this interview. Ignore the trembling of our lower lip and the pout. We’re fine-really.
So, we like to warm our interviews up a little before we get to any serious stuff. Between you, we don’t mind who answers, just let us know who it is- could you please tell us a bit about yourselves using these silly questions below.
Do you like TV talent shows?
Stefan: you gotta love the occasional trash TV to chill out. X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing were 2 of our favourites back when we were living in London. On the road we miss it all, but we use our Netflix account to catch up on series. Narcos was our recent obsession. However, THE main TV talent show almost every European gay obsesses over is the Eurovision Songcontest!
If you could breed two animals together to defy the laws of nature what new animal would you create?
Seby: a unicorn with a flamingo to produce a unique and super colourful, graceful flying Flaminocorn.
Do you know the dance steps to an annoying cheesy pop song?
Stef: “Stop Right Now” by the Spice Girls, Whigfield’s “Saturday Night” and Macarena come to mind. But next to Seb I look ridiculous – he’s an amazing dancer and he can improvise to anything.
Do you have any lucky items, objects or traditions?
Seby: a friend of ours bought us two small St Christopher chains to wear. He is the Saint and protector of travellers. Our friend got it for us to keep us safe on our travels.
Have you ever won a giant sized cuddly toy from a fair?
Stef: on February 2009 I was at GAY bar in Soho, London (kind of like a fair) and I won a giant sized adorable cuddly Frenchman. This was the best toy I’ve ever had and always take it with me wherever I go around the world. I call him Seby – he steals my food but his cute dance moves lets him get away with murder 🙂
What’s your favourite film beginning with the letter L?
Seby: La La Land! We saw it last week and loved it. Another favourite is Lolita.
Now we know a bit more about you, let’s ask the real questions.
We know you go into some detail on your website about how the two of you met, and it was truly romantic but could you give us a quick round up anyway?
Stef: I was in my new lawyer job at the height of the recession and sadly my firm was discussing redundancies. I was meeting another lawyer friend of mine at GAY bar in Soho, London to discuss a possible move to his firm. It was a Tuesday evening, 24th February in 2009. Across the room was a really cute guy with the most incredible smile I’ve ever seen – and he was looking at me. But I was too shy to do anything. We kept staring at each other all evening but nothing. Then when I went to leave, my friend went over and gave Seb my business card and it all went from there.
Seby: I actually spotted Stefan 2 years before while going out in GAY in London and felt the Earth move when I laid eyes on him. I was very drunk that night, which is probably why I felt the Earth move. I avoid speaking to a guy I fancy when drunk as I worry I’ll make a fool of myself, which is why I didn’t speak to him back then. So I instead took photos of Stefan and kept them, swearing that one day he would be mine. Two years later, I see him again but was just as shy to approach him. You can imagine how excited I was when his friend came over to speak to me.
We had our first proper date on Friday 27 February 2009 and the rest is history. We are dead excited to celebrate our 8 years’ anniversary next month.
You’ve travelled to some diverse and incredible places and done some mind-blowing things. Has there ever been one country you really wanted to leave, and another where you really wanted to stay?
Seby: Sri Lanka was a country I couldn’t wait to leave in December 2014 during our big Asia trip. We loved our time there – the safaris and train rides blow your mind. Sadly towards the end of it I got some dodgy fever which wouldn’t go away and lasted for a fortnight. I was fine in the end but it was something similar to Dengue and knocked me out. That will always be my memory of Sri Lanka. We did however return in February 2015 to shoot a documentary with Durex (#DoNotDisturb) which brought back positive memories of the place. Stefan is annoyingly positive about everything so you won’t be able to get an answer from him on this one.
Stef: the Philippines was a place we fell in love with and didn’t want to leave. We can’t wait to return and explore more of it. However, the place we keep craving above all everything is Thailand. The islands, like Koh Lipe and Koh Tarutao are a dream. And Bangkok is so far our favourite base to stay – it has one of the best gay scenes, living is super cheap and it’s so easy for foreigners there.
Culinary pursuits seem to be something both of you are passionate about. Tell us a bit about who’s the best cook, (no arguments please 🙂 ) and the worst thing you’ve ever eaten.
Seby: no arguments necessary here, I’m French – enough said!
Stef: beyond all that French pride, Seby is an amazing cook. I was brought up in a very traditional Greek atmosphere where man goes to work and woman does kitchen/children. I’ve always loved cooking, but never needed to as I had an amazing mother who did everything. My mother died from breast cancer in early 2013 and in the last year of her life, Seby encouraged me to get closer with her via cooking, learning her Greek recipes and continue her legacy in this way. I created a cooking book of notes I took down from my mum and have continued it since, now using Nomadic Boys to make it available online.
Seby: I always loved cooking and would spend every moment with my mum in the kitchen so I was very lucky to learn all the tricks in the kitchen from a young age. Now I pass that on to Stefan, but he’s so impatient it always leads to a tantrum…
The worst thing we’ve eaten is balut in the Philippines. This is a 19 days old duck embryo snack. It’s vile, disgusting and even Stefan (who eats anything) spat it out. Put it this way, you bite into it and get a crunch from the developing duck foetus, and the taste, like a very concentrated egg.
Durian the fruit so loved (and hated) all across Asia is another one. Stefan was ok with it, but I find it so offensive. It stinks and tastes like really really bad garlic/onions.
We particularly loved the interview with Rodrigo in Uruguay and the dancing of the Tango. Both of you looked great together in a Tango pose- is dancing something you two really enjoy and have you any specific dancing talents? Hip Hop, ballet, tap dancing, ballroom maybe?
Stefan: Thank you very much! We love love dancing and tango with your partner is an incredibly romantic experience. Once you get the hang of it, it’s like you’re transported to another world in another time – the music especially helps evoke this. I went to Greek school when younger so learnt Greek dancing from a young age. Seby is however a god when dancing. He did all sorts of lessons when younger including flamenco and as a result KNOWS how to woo anyone on the dance floor.
We suppose one of the things readers out there will be thinking will be ‘How do these guys afford to do what they do’. Without getting too personal, have you any tips to share on how you make a success of travelling around the world and blogging it out?
Seby: We decided early on in our relationship that we didn’t want to spend the rest of our lives in London and wanted to base ourselves in different places in the world. Where, we didn’t know, but the starting point would be a long trip to discover more. So we saved heavily for over 5 years and were able to afford 2 years travelling in Asia.
Nomadic Boys was created at the start of our big Asia trip to record our culinary encounters, gay scene discoveries and more. Halfway into our trip, the blog started to grow massively within the gay community and we started to collaborate with brands, destinations and freelancing for online magazines.
Nomadic Boys has now turned into our business and full time job. The blog posts are more organised and targeted towards gay travel and our audience continues to grow.
We were lucky that we had a very obvious niche, which really is the key to a blog’s success. But with any small/new business, it won’t go anywhere unless you’re truly passionate about it and prepared to invest the time to help it take off and grow. Also, networking is as important as anything else. Going to all the big travel conference (like ITB in Berlin, WTM in London) and blogger TBEX conferences helped us a great deal and we definitely recommend this to new bloggers.
One thing we did notice on your site was a statement to ignore the anti-gay laws and that as a foreigner you are completely safe. We understand your reasons for saying this but based on some horror stories you see wash across the internet daily, is this still true? The world is changing but some areas, as you point out on your blog, are still not quite as accepting.
Stefan: I think you have to put that statement into context. That was from our article about why gay travellers should not boycott a country (like India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, the Maldives etc) just because of the anti-gay laws. We were trying to reassure gay travellers that going to such countries is not dangerous because of the tourist/foreigner privilege we will inevitably receive. In most cases, these laws were inherited from British colonial days in the 1800s and are rarely, if never, enforced. These sorts of countries almost always have a gay scene in the big cities.
For example, in Sri Lanka, our gay friend there explained to us the anti-gay laws are at most used by the Police to get bribes from locals, but if they see a foreign gay couple holding hands on the beach, they wouldn’t dare approach. Foreigners are seen as the tourism blood in most third world countries, and it is in this context the statement was made. We also think it’s important to not boycott these sorts of countries because in doing so, the only people you harm are the local LGBT communities there who are craving to meet you and more importantly, local gay owned or gay friendly businesses who you’d be supporting by spending your money there.
Having said that, we would of course not extend this statement to countries where gays are being thrown off buildings or in some other way tortured to death. It was for this very reason we actually avoided visiting Brunei and why we would exercise extreme caution before visiting a place like Saudi Arabia.
The pair of you seem to have a lot of fun dressing up in very unusual ways- the Geisha one was my personal favourite. Is this a way of getting a truly personal flavour of where you are currently staying, is dressing up something that’s simply a photo opportunity or something you both really enjoy doing because it’s fun, and crazy?
Seby: It’s fun, crazy but also a way to learn about culture. Surely you’ve seen “Memoirs of a Geisha” and wanted to transform into one of these pale elusive beauties no? But in all seriousness, it’s one thing to do the touristy thing of trying to spot them in Gion in Kyoto to get your money shot, and learning more about the whole culture by dressing up as one. Doing this taught us a lot about geisha. Everything is wrapped in tradition, like the subtle flash of red was traditionally used to titillate Japanese men, or the iconic bright white make up was because in the old days before electricity, it was the only way to show a pretty face in dim light. They wear a specific type of underwear, pair of socks and shoes, every detail has a story and reason, which you really only learn if you embrace it and dress up as one.
Stefan and Sebastien, thanks so much for being with us here at Divine and answering our nosy questions. We wish the pair of you every success on your world travels and hope you get to visit more of it.
PS everyone, check this out. These sketches are fabulous…