Overcoming Boundaries: In Travel, Love, and Life | Peeplo Talks Episode 02- Luca Bailleul
In a riveting conversation with Luca Bailleul, a French traveler and a proud member of the LGBTQIA+ community. In this interview, we will get a glimpse of his variegated travel experiences and indulge in his captivating travel accounts. Being a member of the LGBTQIA+ community, we get to know about the challenges he has to face while traveling and how he overcomes the stigma and lives his passion.
We also will be discussing travel budgeting, traveler’s safety, hygiene, and get essential tips on getting out of our comfort zone to experience new things, cultures, and people. It was very inspiring to meet a person with such unfettered thoughts. So if wanna go on an adventure with the exciting, passionate and practical Luca, read on: Bawra Musafir’s Global movement – Peeplo Talks
Let’s get right into it!
Rishabh: Hello, Luca Brother! What's up?? Are you excited about this??
Luca: Bonjour, mon frère! I'm enjoying life so much these days with my hubby in France. I'm missing India and the friends that I made there so much. I'm very excited about being a part of this initiative (#Peeplo #Talks) and will try my best to make it as enjoyable as possible.
Rishabh: That's Cool! Let's start with a little introduction.
Give a short introduction of yourself, including when you started traveling in your life and how many places you visited so far.
Luca: Alrighty! Hi everyone :)
My name is Luca, 26 years old, French national, gay, and serial traveler!
My first trip solo was to the UK in 2009, when I was around 15. I visited Ireland with my High School buddies and visited Spain when I was a baby boy in a school.
In 2015, I joined my best friend in Bali, which was the goal of my last trip!
In 2018, I quit my job as a French public servant. I loved it, but I couldn't stay put in one place long when I was pursuing my Ph.D. So I bid farewell to my life in Europe to begin a new exciting chapter of my life. I never really wanted it anyway. I've always been a free spirit and have been living on my own since I was 15. So it was hard to be any other way.
I went to Mexico for two months for a solo Backpack road trip, and it changed my life! When I returned, I decided to embark on a world tour.
In December 2019, I left France to take the first steps of the world tour I always wanted to go on! I visited Germany, Hungary, Nepal, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia. I wanted to see Vietnam, Malaysia, and southern Thailand, and Bali again, but I had to return to France because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now I'm waiting for a green light to work again and take another leap of faith with my fiancée.
Rishabh: It's fantastic to hear that you started traveling at a very young age and explored almost all of South Asia.
Congratulations on getting engaged!!
Now, answer one of my favorite questions, "What would you tell a solo traveler, especially women who have never left their hometown?"
Luca: It should be kept in mind that:
"When you're traveling solo, you will never be alone."
Being overly vigilant and cautious will put a damper on your experience, but I encourage prudence and some planning. The world can be a dangerous place if you're not a white straight male. Well, even then, you have no guarantees. If you think about it, you're not also safe at home. But these worries shouldn't keep you from living your life. Educate yourself about the legislation too to go the extra mile.
Rishabh: That's a superb line, you said. If any person overthinks, then they can't be able to experience new places present in this world, and will always be hidden for them. Well, proper planning and research also matter before going on any trip to make it better.
LGBTQIA+ community is a talented lot and is very much an integral part of our society, and they are contributing to the world in all walks of life. Bawra Musafir (www.bawramusafir.com) treats and respects all the people equally and inspires them to travel. As you are identified as a member of this talented community, I would like to ask questions about it.
So my first question is, What would you advise the LGBTQIA+ couples/individuals who are willing to travel but are hesitant due to societal pressure and have questions in their mind like how people will treat them.
Luca: The same answer I gave for solo female travelers. Plus, I like to add this:
"We have a responsibility to educate ourselves and the people around us."
Do some research, read and inform yourself about the laws enacted in the country you wish to visit. It may seem obvious to some, but to most, I am afraid it's not. It's essential to be educated about these fine things no matter who you are. It needs to be done to ensure other's safety as well as your own.
Rishabh: Okay! Well, As a member of this talented community, did you face any problem related to safety or have an incident in your mind, share it with the people, and raise the voice against it.
Luca: I have to admit: I have never felt in danger or discriminated against during my travels. Maybe, It has something to do with the countries I visited or my attitude. I believe in this:
"Prepare yourself. Make yourself aware of regional customs, social behaviors, try to fit in, and have some damn respect."
There can be numerous moral arguments on this. Being part of a minority myself, I am well aware of how others may react to my views but consider this:
"Having an understanding is essential."
At the end of the day, it is up to a traveler to decide on many issues concerning safety, spending money in LGBTQIA+-phobic countries, and all.
Rishabh: In my opinion, you are correct on the points you mentioned. I agree with what you said wholeheartedly. Now, I have one interesting question. Did you find your travel partner or even your life partner on your travel?.
Luca: I did make a lot of companions!
I've had numerous Travel-mates now friends, for a city or two, or a country or two: Anything is possible. I also met my soon-to-be husband when I was coming back to France because of the pandemic. So, dream and enjoy ;)
Rishabh: Again Congratulations on getting engaged, and I wish you a happy love life of yours. Well, what about the love towards the animals and tell the most beautiful animals you see on your trip.
Luca: I love the pigs the most. They are like Spiritual Animals for me as they are smart, cute, formidable, and misunderstood creatures in this world. Even I have a piggy tattoo on my hand. Apart from the pigs, I loved the elephants and river dolphins in Laos!
Rishabh: Cool! I also love elephants as they are very attentive and sociable animals and cute as well. Tell, what traveling means to you??
Rishabh: Share some of the best photos that you click on your trips. This is also my personal favorite question: I love to do photography and share creative content with others. I love to see the clicks of other people as well.
Luca: I also love to click photos. Here are some of the best photos that I clicked ->
Rishabh: Bro, these photos are lovely. If you have to choose one from these, which will you choose and why?
Luca: It's tough, but I choose the Gokteik Viaduct in Myanmar one. Mandalay to Hsipaw, I took this 12 hours ride from 4 am to 4 pm, to experience these glorious five minutes on this unique infrastructure I always wanted to see.
A fantastic day with families and people from an incredible country!
Rishabh: People don't usually travel abroad. As you have traveled so many abroad, share your experiences of and tell the readers if it's worth the hype.
"Solo traveling can be just another vacation, but, it also proves to be a socially life altering experience, a moment to fix/achieve skills, set goals, a creative management process and a space allowing self-discovering shit."
Let’s make this simple, you will have to talk to complete strangers, who might not understand the language you speak. To find your way, take a bus, buy a train ticket, order some food. Every first will be a challenge. If you choose to stay in a hostel and want to get to know the cute Mexicano gents or pretty Indian ladies, you will have to try and put yourself out there.
With friction, you’ll learn to be more confident and soon realize that it requires a highly worthy effort.
You can actually do what you want, choose to commit, stay, extend, leave, run, fly, jump, or even day drink! This is the real high. This renewed sense of freedom is empowering! Once you experience it, there is no going back. You will crave it.
Rishabh: Yeah, maybe some people gave up their travel plans by fearing how they will manage the budget on their trips . Give some tips about how one can maintain the same on your trips.
Luca: Managing the budget is about planning. I agree it is essential to be flexible with your finances, and it's difficult to plan each moment, but knowing how much you can spend a day is vital. I have tools on my computer to track various details like Visa, dates, accommodation, bus or trains, costs, so I know where I stand. It may sound like a pain, but it's just 15 minutes of my mornings that make all the difference.
Moreover, the advice I would also give is:
"Don't rush on making any decisions. If you are aware of your means, a simple math calculation can provide plenty of reassurance."
Be sure to use an app, a website, your tool, anything. But do it.
Rishabh: It's a good point of using digitized applications for keeping track of the budget. I will also try that next time on a trip. Now as a responsible traveler, tell how the travelers can contribute to saving the mother earth during the travel.
Luca: Well, It is a day to day operation: education, reflexion, and publication. Do what you can and more. Raising awareness is the key: policies to design and taking actions.
Rishabh: Now, let's spill the bins and share those secret, scary moments you faced during your trips.
Luca: Haha Okay! I once got lost in the streets of Mumbai at night. I did panic a little, but I was able to make it back safely. One particularly scary incident happened when my credit card got stolen while I was in Mexico. They took all my money, which was funding my whole trip. I was so scared, I couldn't move, say or do anything. After that, I thought twice about every action I took.
Rishabh: I'm sorry to hear that your credit card was stolen. It seems very scary.
Now, two more questions left. So tell me about your dream destination and the best backpacking hostel you have ever stayed in.
Luca: My dream destination is Mozambique, the perfect mix of European, Indian, and African vibes!
Best backpacking hostels, I have ever stayed in are:
La Tercera in Mexico City
La Casa in Thakhek
Backpackers in Yangon.
Rishabh: Here is the last question. Tell me about your future travel plans, if any, and how you think the COVID-19 epidemic will affect traveling and what measures the travelers should take while traveling to stay safe after this pandemic period?
Luca: My future plan is to go on a Cycling Trip throughout Europe with my husband!
And my point for COVID-19 one question is that Too soon to tell, and I am not about to speculate. We are still trying to comprehend the ramifications of this pandemic. I believe that we are at the crucial junction:
"Environment, policies, our very understanding of humanity is going to be redefined in the coming times."
Rishabh: It was a great conversation with Luca. I hope readers will love your shared experiences and tips and use them before planning their future trips. I wish you a great and happy future for you and your hubby. Stay Happy and Keep Smiling and make other people laugh with your jokes.
Luca: Thanks, Buddy! It was lovely to talk to you as well, and I am very elated to be a part of this global movement(#Peeplo #Talks) and enjoyed a lot.
I hope you will also get a lovely partner in the future and always keep this kindness and smile on your face. Don't let others put them down as these are outstanding strengths you have.
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Reviewed by Stuti Saran