WATCH: GayTravel.com guru recaps Dallas Purple Party

This past spring, I spent a few days hanging out with Bryan Kosarek, GayTravel.com’s 2013 “travel guru” as he checked out the Purple Party — and the rest of Dallas gay life, for that matter.

Well, Bryan has now posted his video detailing his experience here. It’s always interesting to see your city portrayed by an outsider.

If you miss the fun of the Purple Party — and weather below 100 degrees — watch and reminisce.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: GayTravel.com on Dallas

A few weeks back Arnold Wayne Jones told you about Nick Vivion (above), GayTravel.com’s new “Travel Guru” whose six-month tour began in Dallas. Well, here we have some of the results, as GayTravel.com has posted a series of Vivion’s videos from Big D on YouTube. Let us know what you think.

—  John Wright

Gay for pay

GayTravel.com kicked off its tour in Dallas with new queer travel guru Nick Vivion

ARNOLD WAYNE JONES  | Life+Style Editor jones@dallasvoice.com

ON THE ROAD  |  Nick Vivion spent family time in Dallas but never doin’ gay stuff.’ Now as the GayTravel.com guru, all he does is the gay stuff. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)
ON THE ROAD | Nick Vivion spent family time in Dallas but never doin’ gay stuff.’ Now as the GayTravel.com guru, all he does is the gay stuff. (Arnold Wayne Jones/Dallas Voice)

Nick Vivion’s grandparents were from Dallas, so he visited the city many times when he was younger. “But I’d never been here doing gay stuff,” he says.
That changed last week. In a big way.

It might not be MacArthur returning to the Philippines, but Vivion marched victorious to his old family haunts with great fanfare, as Dallas was the first stop on the GayTravel.com “Travel Guru” tour. And Vivion is the guru.

In some way, it’s a far cry from where the 27-year-old Seattle resident imagined he’d be back in college. He went to school hoping to become a movie director of features, “like Spielberg.” Then he discovered documentary filmmaking and his outlook changed. “There are so many good stories out there you don’t have to make up,” he says.

His interest in filmmaking, photography and travel led to a passion and his livelihood since graduation: Making travel videos for Lonely Planet and YouTube, where his videos scored more than a million hits.

“I’ve been traveling doing films for about four years,” he says. “It is my profession.”

So when he heard that GayTravel.com was holding a contest to find an ambassador to scour the globe coming up with unique stories about gay destinations, he threw his hat in the ring.

“This is not the first travel contest I’ve applied to — probably the 12th or 13th,” he says. But it did seem like a good fit: GayTravel.com wanted a gay guy to do gay city tours. Still, it did require a leap of faith.

“I had always been reluctant to be the gay host or the gay travel guy. Then Prop 8 happened and that changed my perspective a little bit. I saw that I have the ability to capture the essence of what it means to be gay, to get paid to do what I do and share the gay experience a little more.”

Vivion won the contest during a competition last month in Las Vegas, where finalists were told to make a good travel video within 36 hours of touring the city. His product, plus an interview that was included a pageant-y question-and-answer portion, cinched his victory.

Dallas had dibs to be the first city on the tour, and Vivion had hoped to be here for Pride, but the timing was too tight. Instead, he launched his tour last Thursday, spending five days exploring everything from the Strip to the State Fair.

“I had a lot of fun at Gay Bingo — it was a blast to be silly with Jenna Skyy,” he says. “I have a lot of respect for drag queens and what they do, and she’s one of the best I’ve ever seen at being witty without being mean — very even-handed. And just to see the energy of so any people coming out for it, so many people to continue to support it was inspiring.”

Vivion admits he was a bit unprepared for the first leg of his trip — “It’s a blur” — but over the course of his six-month commitment as the guru, he hopes all the cities are as welcoming as Dallas proved to be.

“I’m hoping to kind of find good content about gay destinations. There will be plenty of nightlife coverage but I’m not trying to talk just about places to get drunk. In the end, it’s about inspiring people to travel. That’s what’s important to me.”

Vivion went from Dallas to Santa Fe with plans to spend Halloween in New Orleans. You can follow his tour — and see what he has to say about Dallas — at GayTravel.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 22, 2010

—  Kevin Thomas

GayTravel.com Guru hits Dallas

Nick Vivion
Nick Vivion

Nick Vivion, who recently won the online contest to be the new GayTravel.com travel guru, brings his tour to Dallas this weekend. Look for him around town — calling numbers at Gay Bingo Saturday, attending Uptown Players’ Closer to Heaven Sunday — and tell him everything that makes Big D a great travel destination.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 15, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas

Aspiring queer journalist Daniel Villarreal of Dallas vies to become America’s next Gay Travel Guru

Aspiring Dallas homo-journo Daniel Villarreal is competing for his dream job as GayTravel.com‘s Gay Travel Guru, and he needs your help by July 30. We’re going to overlook the fact that Villarreal writes for Queerty.com and focus on the fact that he’s a native Texan with a lot of experience who probably deserves this opportunity. Villarreal is among 60 contestants who’ve advanced to Round 2 of the competition, and the field will be narrowed to eight next month based on this public vote. It looks like Villarreal is currently at No. 3 with 755 points, so he’s definitely viable. Above is a video about Grapevine Bar that Villarreal produced for the competition (you can watch one about Lower Greenville by going here), and below is the flier he’s been circulating in the gayborhood, which includes instructions for voting. Here’s the note Villarreal sent us on Monday:

My name is Daniel Villarreal and I’m an aspiring queer journalist and regular contributor to the LGBT blog Queerty.com. I’d like you to vote for me so I can become GayTravel.com’s travel reporter. Your support would go a long way towards helping me highlight the diversity of national LGBT culture and assisting in my continued aims of being a serious queer journalist.

A) I’m mega-qualified: I have 17 years experience in print journalism, an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, a handful of web-based comedy sketches, a vast growing social network, a love of people, and extensive travel experience around the US, Japan, India, and Europe. All of these enable me to deliver travel coverage that’s fun, insightful, and entertaining.

B) I’ll represent everyone: In my work with Queerty.com, I have always tried to give a voice to under-represented parts of the LGBT community including local activists, artists, women, trans folk, people of color, the elderly, the poor, and HIV-positive people. As a travel writer, I would give coverage not only to popular LGBT destinations but to worthwhile local venues and events welcoming of our entire community.

C) I’m a good long-term investment: This vote isn’t just about the travel job. Working with GayTravel.com would also provide me the exposure and training I need to continue developing into an asset to the national LGBT community as a serious queer reporter.

—  John Wright