By Michelle Talsma Everson, May 2019 Issue.
Photos Courtesy of Calvin Goetz and Jeremy Kraut-Ordover
If you want to ask what Calvin Goetz and Jeremy Kraut-Ordover’s upcoming travel schedule is, you need to be willing to sit down a minute to take it all in.
At the time of our interview (early April), they were talking about Iceland to celebrate a birthday then a visit to Fort Lauderdale, Florida in May. In June, they’re headed to New York for the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, where they’re excited to join millions of other LGBTQ+ folk and allies in memory and celebration. “There’s going to be something like three million people there!” says Calvin. Then, in July, they will globetrot to Prague and Amsterdam with a work stop for Jeremy in Slovakia. In October, it’s off to Nashville for a work trip (the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project for Habitat for Humanity).
“And I think that’s all we have planned right now but we might be missing or adding something,” Jeremy says, taking a breath.
While the couple has only been together for a little over a year, during that time they have been to six countries, three continents and two island nations. Busy and career-focused, these aren’t last minute trips; their travels are planned out well in advance and are often part vacation, sometimes for work, and all of the time to have quality time together. Calvin, the founder and financial adviser for Strategy Financial Group, is based in Phoenix; and Jeremy, the vice president of individual giving at Habitat for Humanity International, is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
“We both work our butts off so we want to take time to see the world,” Calvin says. “With Jeremy being in Atlanta, these trips are often planned out months or a year in advance.”
“Traveling together is actual focused, connected time … if you want to work on your relationship, stay in a hotel room together,” Jeremy adds with a laugh.
The two met while traveling in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, where they connected over shared interests and a zest for embracing life at its fullest. The resort town will always be a favorite spot for them because that’s where they found love, Calvin says. Jeremy was already used to traveling for work quite a lot, so embracing travel to them just made sense.
When asked if they’ve done any LGBTQ+ focused travel, the two mention their time on cruises hosted by Atlantis Events, known as the world’s largest producer of gay and lesbian cruises and resort vacations. Both saw the cruises as chances to make other friends from across the globe and joked that they planned matching outfits.
“He had to talk me into that [the matching outfits] but we had an incredible time,” Jeremy says. “If you go on an Atlantis cruise or trip, leave your pre-conceived notions at the door.”
“Told you so,” Calvin says with a laugh.
When traveling as a gay couple, especially overseas, Jeremy says that “the best thing to pack is a sense of humor.”
“It’s important to be aware of the home country’s customs, traditions and laws,” Calvin shares. “We don’t ever want to hide who we are but at the same time, in some places, we are aware of our behavior in some places more than others.”
Jeremy shares how, on one international trip, when the front desk clerk realized it was two men sharing a room, they tried to change the room from one bed to two. “We told them one king bed would work fine,” he says. It was a small moment, but one that encouraged them both to learn to “embrace the reality of the country you’re in,” Jeremy explains.
What about work and life back at home when they travel? Calvin has a 12-year-old French bulldog named Madeline who is very particular and set in her ways who he arranges housesitting for so her schedule isn’t interrupted. And, since they both plan out their travels well in advance, they are able to plan work accordingly. With Jeremy working for Habitat for Humanity International, often travel will also coincide with a work event.
“There’s something inspiring about when you travel,” says Jeremy. “It makes you want to continue to see more of the world, but not necessarily on the typical tourist route.”
When it comes to their travels, what are some items they can’t live without? Jeremy says pre-workout supplements help him adjust to multiple time zones while a multiport USB charger is a must-have for his electronics. Calvin won’t travel without his earplugs, a sound machine app, and an eye mask.
“Traveling helps to provide a greater perspective of how fortunately and privileged we really are here in America and how many opportunities we really do have,” Calvin shares.
“It helps me to remember that people are people are people; it breaks down stereotypes,” Jeremy says.
Travel Tips for LGBTQ+ Couples & Families
Tips Courtesy of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consumer Affairs
“Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) travelers can face unique challenges when traveling abroad,” according to the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consumer Affairs. “Laws and attitudes in some countries may affect safety and ease of travel. Legal protections vary from country to country. Many countries do not legally recognize same-sex marriage. More than seventy countries consider consensual same-sex sexual relations a crime, sometimes carrying severe punishment.”
Some tips for safe travel include:
• Before you travel: Research your destination, update your passport, consider buying travel insurance and consider enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (see the website below for more details on the program).
• While you are there: Remember the laws of the country you are in, be cautious of potentially risky situations, watch out for entrapment campaigns, and be wary of newfound “friends” who may be criminals.
• If you need help, contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. “The nearest U.S. embassy or consulate may be able to help if you run into problems overseas, especially if you feel you cannot approach local police or have had difficulties already,” according to the state department.
To learn more travel safety tips for LBGTQ+ travelers, visit travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/before-you-go/travelers-with-special-considerations/lgbti.html.