Thanksgiving, like the rest of the 2020 holiday season, is going to be very different this year. Everyone is encouraged to do as little traveling as possible to help slow the spread of coronavirus. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a virtual journey or enjoy a local beauty spot. Here are five suggestions for how to take your mind away from home.
Head for an outdoor gay hangout with a friend for a picnic
If you’re blessed to live somewhere like Miami, spending a few hours on the gay beach at 12th Street (on South Beach) is a low-risk way of marking Thanksgiving – and plenty of local restaurants are serving takeaway orders.
San Francisco’s Dolores Park offers a gay ‘urban beach’ in its southwest section, while Rehoboth Beach in Delaware offers its LGBTQ-friendly ‘Poodle Beach’ section. If there’s no gay outdoors hangout nearby, pick a local beauty spot you’ve not visited before, or try to hunt down some stunning fall scenery. Keep a social distance if heading out with a friend from a different household and respect local COVID prevention measures.
Immerse yourself in a travel book by a gay writer
Check out The Black Penguin by Andrew Evans, in which the author travels from Washington DC to Antarctica, largely by bus, and comes out to his Mormon family in the process. Tim Anderson’s acclaimed Tune in Tokyo: The Gaijin Diaries, follows the US writer’s time in Asia. British broadcaster Sue Perkins, of The Great British Baking Show fame, has published East of Croydon: Travels through India and South East Asia, while Eat, Gay, Love is a new travel memoir by fellow Brit, Calum McSwiggan (above).
Enjoy a classic, queer road-trip movie
The queer road trip movie has become its own sub-genre, with such journeys offering plenty of opportunity for personal development, drama, intrigue and romance. Classics include The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994), in which three drag queens cross the Australian outback. Felicity Huffman was Oscar-nominated for her role in Transamerica (2005), in which she plays a trans woman on a journey to meet the son she never knew she had. Director Gregg Araki’s The Living End (1992) has been described as a gay Thelma and Louise, in which two young, HIV-positive men hit the road after one kills a homophobic police officer.
Join a virtual tour
Both Airbnb and Amazon Explore (in beta testing in North America), now offer a wide range of virtual tours. On Airbnb, join a drag queen cocktail masterclass courtesy of ‘Sangria and Secrets with Drag Queens’, educate yourself on how to make pasta with Italian chefs, learn to sing a festive song with a Broadway performer, or enjoy a virtual tour and history lesson about some of New York’s most famed gay bars.
There are now literally hundreds of experiences to choose from – with YouTube also offering a huge array of far-flung walking tours and cookery lessons.
Start planning your next vacation on Black Friday
Lastly, although travel options are limited right now, that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning a trip for next year. Airlines are offering some of their cheapest deals as they try to tempt travelers back, and many are going even lower with their Black Friday deals.
It’s now widely expected that coronavirus vaccines will be rolled out during the first half of 2021, so don’t expect these cheap deals to last forever. You could book yourself a bargain getaway if you act now.