We're a longtime gay couple who decided in 2017 to sell our house in Seattle and travel the world.
But this is no holiday. As we travel, we're continuing our careers as writers of fiction.
BRENT HARTINGER is an author and screenwriter. He's published fourteen novels, including Three Truths and a Lie (2016), a dark psychological thriller that was nominated for an Edgar Award; and Geography Club (2003), a landmark gay teen novel that was adapted as a feature film in 2013 (co-starring Scott Bakula), and is now being developed as a television series. Brent is also a screenwriter; nine of his screenplays have been optioned for film, and four are currently in various stages of development.
MICHAEL JENSEN is an author and editor. His novels include Man & Beast and Man & Monster, part of The Savage Land, a series of historical fiction that combines gay romance, supernatural, and horror. For eight years, Michael was the editor of the entertainment website AfterElton.com, which he co-founded with Brent. The site, devoted to covering gay and bisexual men in popular culture, eventually grew to more than a million unique visitors a month, won several GLAAD Media Awards, and was later sold to Viacom/MTV.
How did Brent And Michael Are Going Places come about?
Like a lot of married couples, over the years we've mused: What would it be like if we just up and sold everything and traveled the world?
We really liked the idea, and really wanted to do it, but it was mostly just dreaming.
Then came the election of Donald Trump. Like many people, we saw the election of this corrupt and ignorant demagogue as a sign that something has gone seriously wrong in America (and in the media that enabled him).
We also saw it as an opportunity.
We'd been planning to travel the world "eventually," but Trump's election proved to be the excuse we needed to do it sooner rather than later.
We're not abandoning our country, or giving up on the fight against bigotry and tyranny, but we knew we needed some perspective. If nothing else, international travel gave us a feeling of control at a time when the country and world seemed decidedly out of control.
We spent 2017 selling our house, downsizing our belongings, and moving our lives into the cloud. Then we started making plans for all the places we wanted to see.
On January 2nd, 2018, we left Seattle to start our adventure. Our plans for 2018 include multi-month stays in Miami; the island country of Malta; Matera, Italy; and Bansko, Bulgaria; with shorter stops in Lisbon, Barcelona, and Istanbul. In 2019, we'll be in Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Thailand, and Japan (maybe. Plans change!).
So far, this already feels like the smartest thing we've ever done. We're spending way less money than we did maintaining a house or apartment in Seattle (seriously!), and we're seeing more fascinating places and meeting more wonderful people than we ever imagined.
But this isn't an "aspirational" project. We'll be documenting our entire journey, warts and all.
As we travel, we're also continuing our careers as writers of fiction. That means we'll also be writing here about the business of writing.
So far, the best part of our journey (by far!) is the people we've met. If we're in your area, maybe we can meet you in person too.
Brent & Michael
OUR CURRENT LOCATION: THAILAND!
After going back to Seattle for Christmas, we flew across the Pacific, and are now living for several months on the rural Thai island of Lanta (or Ko Lanta — “Ko” means “Island” in Thai). This is our fifth major “digital nomad” stop, after previously living for several months each in Miami, Florida; Birgu, Malta; Matera, Italy; and Bansko, Bulgaria. And we’ve stopped in lots of other countries and cities along the way!