While I think traveling is the best investment anyone could ever make, there are some countries in the world that due to their political stance and views on the LGBT community I have no desire to explore. My incident in Tangier, Morocco where I nearly lost my life made me realize how much I treasure it and that I would NEVER purposely put it at risk. The following countries are some I will NOT be going to anytime soon:

 1.     African Countries including: Nigeria, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Senegal, Tunisia

It’s such a shame because I actually am a HUGE fan of Africa and would LOVE to explore the culture, people, and food throughout the continent, but due to documentaries I’ve seen and my understanding of it being a very different culture, I choose not to step foot in any of the listed countries above or their neighbors.

 2.     Middle Eastern Countries including: Iraq, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Qatar, UAE, Yemen, Oman

My experience in Morocco changed my perspective on the Middle East. Furthermore, stories I’ve read and seen online by other LGBT individuals who have had HORRIFIC experiences in one of the countries listed above convinced me I shouldn’t risk giving anyone the pleasure of torturing me.

 3.     Russia                  

Homosexuality is punishable with jail time and being that I have no desire to be imprisoned for being myself, I choose to avoid this country all together. Plus, it’s really cold! Nope!

 4.     Some Baltic and Eastern European Countries like: Chechnya, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine

With breaking news regarding Chechnya’s gay concentration camps and the president stating that if he had a gay son, he would personally shoot him (watch the interview,) I have absolute no desire to go to countries with such a limited perspective on life.

There are places all around the world that are accepting of individuals like myself. I choose to invest my time, energy, and money into people, places, and things that reciprocate and appreciate what I can give. When traveling abroad it’s important to be aware of the country’s culture, law, and perspective. One must adapt to them and sometimes, adapting may mean temporarily surrendering some of the freedoms and ideals we as Americans at times take for granted. That being said, each experience brings wisdom and makes one appreciate what privileges one is able to enjoy. Be safe! Travel abroad! Have fun!!

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