Category Archives: Paul Heney

By @ 12/31/15 in Gay cruise, Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
Paul J. Heney and his family In Jamaica and ManAboutworld gay travel magazine

In Jamaica

From Jamaica: Our Go, Daddy writer, gay-dad Paul J. Heney, his partner and kids are on their first-ever family cruise on Carnival Cruise Line. Here’s an update from their first stop. 

Our first port of call on this Carnival cruise was Falmouth, Jamaica. I was a little conflicted about this stop. Jamaica is one of the most stridently anti-gay countries on the planet, and so I felt somewhat opposed to giving any of my tourist dollars to the local economy. In the end, I decided to not make any sort of crusade out of it, and instead tried to use it as a teaching moment for our kids. While I’ve told them in the past about areas of the country or the world where LGBT people aren’t liked or tolerated, this was more real to them. They seemed shocked that such an innocuous looking place–and somewhere that we actually were–was such a “bad” part of the world, at least in one respect. 

We devised a back story that Lance was my brother-in-law–married to my fictional sister Maureen. (They do have an Aunt Maureen, so that made it easier for them to remember.) I told them the chances of us getting in trouble for being gay was about zero, but that locals might treat us poorly or give us dirty looks if they found out. 

As we had an excursion booked through the cruise line the next day in Grand Cayman, I suggested we try a different route in Jamaica. We merely walked off the ship with no firm plans and wandered into the tiny port town. Locals selling all sorts of brightly colored clothing lined the narrow streets. The kids, Matthew in particular, seemed a little taken aback at the poverty. After walking down a few streets, one of the locals named Dennis approached me with an offer to take us to Montego Bay and back, tell us about the island, take us to a good beach and a city overlook, etc. He described himself as “a family man” like me and a Christian. We listened to his story about charging us $100 instead of the normal $120, but kept walking and showed only minimal interest. Eventually he came down to $80 and I said it was Lance’s decision because he had the wallet. Lance then got him down to $70–a pretty good deal for the 4 of us!

We spent 90 minutes at the Doctors Cave Beach Club beach, a gorgeous crescent of sand with light blue green water. A huge inflatable trampoline about 100 feet offshore was all that Josh needed to make his day. It cost us $21 (cash) to access the beach and $12 for an umbrella and a chair. Matthew quickly made friends with a little Jamaican boy and they had a splendid time playing in the waves. Lance and I enjoyed people watching and goofing in the water a bit. There were some downright amazing bodies walking about, and I could see how Stella could get her groove back on a place like this!

Afterwards, Lance showed the boys his incredible bargaining skills in a few of the local shops in Montego Bay and then Dennis drove us to a lovely overlook before heading back to the ship. He did start up a conversation about where mom was today—Matthew started to answer that she lived at home and I interrupted and said something to the effect that, “The ladies wanted a spa day on the ship.”

Friends will vouch that I’m pretty militant and am usually the first one to fight the good fight. So it was hard to bite my lip even for a few hours, but I suppose I need to pick my battles—while keeping the kids’ eyes wide open about the bigger battles we still have to face.



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By @ 12/26/15 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Miami, Paul Heney, Travel
Sunset in Ohio from a Megabus in ManAboutWorld by Paul Heney, Go, Daddy

Sunset in Ohio from a Megabus

Our Go, Daddy writer, gay-dad Paul J. Heney,  his partner and kids are heading to Miami for their first-ever experience onCarnival Cruise Line. The first leg of their journey proved less than glamorous aboard a MegaBus heading from Cleveland to Florida.

So maybe the “half” thing is overrated, but we’re trying to keep our sense of humor about things.

My family—including partner and two sons—are journeying down to Miami, Florida from our hometown of Cleveland. It’s all to experience a Carnival Cruise as an LGBT family, and report on it for ManAboutWorld. To economize, we decided to try taking MegaBus to Chattanooga, Tennessee, roughly the halfway point, before renting a car and driving the remainder of the way.

MegaBus was interesting. Our fares were pretty inexpensive, about $55 per person each way. We paid a couple of extra dollars for reserved seats, to guarantee some of the nicer spots and so we could be sure to all sit together. We left at 4:30 p.m. from a nice intermodal transportation center in downtown Cleveland.

Our pleather-like reserved seats were organized around a small table, allowing us space for some drinks, our phones, etc. We even pulled out our new Christmas gift (popular card game “Exploding Kittens”) and the table was great for that.

Luckily, we thought to bring a couple of throws, because, in spite of the unseasonably warm weather along the route, the bus itself was pretty cold. Lance supposed maybe the driver kept himself awake that way. The seats weren’t the luxurious coach type seats I’d guessed it would have, and sleeping was difficult. We also stopped in Columbus, Cincinnati, Lexington and Knoxville, waking everyone up about every 2 hours. We also stopped once next to a McDonalds. Although I’d packed plenty of snacks and protein bars, we were famished by that point at 1 a.m. and ate heartily. Go, Daddy, Eat!

Go, Daddy: 1 am snack stop for the crew heading towards their Carnival Cruise in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Time to eat

We stopped in Lexington to bring on two new drivers, and one immediately admonished us for having several of our carry-ons in what appeared to be shared storage space. She then took up all that space with multiple bags of her own and her daughter’s. Odd. We ended up simply moving them to a few other empty seats. (The bus was less than half full.)

I was also surprised by the random spots that Megabus picked for its “terminals” in some cities. In Cincinnati, it was literally in the middle of a large parking lot beside the freeway. Cars were randomly pointed at the bus with headlights glaring, and it felt like we were in some weird James Dean movie where a car/bus drag race was about to begin. In Chattanooga, it was simply on the side of a deserted road near an office park. It was raining heavily, and we had to retreat to a random office building nearby to wait for our Uber to take us to the rental car facility.

As I write, we’re approaching the Florida border in our rented Jeep Cherokee (nice ride!) and it’s only a matter of time before my teenaged son asks to stop at Zaxby’s for lunch. The southern fried chicken fast food restaurant is among his favorites, and he can’t get it back home. We also stopped at my partner’s favorite restaurant, Cracker Barrel, for breakfast. It’s vacation, after all. But I’m struggling to avoid the “dad body” phenomenon—especially on tropical beaches this week—so I think I may have to hit the hotel gym elliptical this evening!



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By @ 12/24/15 in Gay cruise, Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
Heney (left) and his family soon to join a Carnival Cruise

Heney (left) and his family

Carnival Cruise Line invited ManAboutWorld writer (our “Go, Daddy” columnist)  Paul J. Heney and his family on, what we believe is, the first-ever gay family cruise media trip on a mainstream cruise. We can’t wait to hear about their experience. Be sure to check back here for their updates. Paul’s also pretty excited. He sets out tomorrow from his homebase in Cleveland and the cruise on the 27th.

Our next big adventure starts tomorrow! My family—myself, my partner, Lance, and my sons, Josh (14) and Matthew (8), pictured above and below—will be leaving for our first cruise as a family, and I’ll be covering it for ManAboutWorld! This is likely the first time that an LGBT journalist and his family has been invited on a cruise as part of a fam trip, so props to Carnival Cruise Line for their forward thinking! We’re all so excited for this experience, and to share it with you all.

Twister water slide on the Carnival Cruise Breeze

Twister

We’ll be sailing out of Miami on the Carnival Breeze, a 3,690-guest capacity ship. It will be the largest ship I’ve been on, so I’m really curious as to how I’ll find the size—will I feel like a number or will I be pleasantly surprised by the personal attention? I’m going in with an open mind. The Breeze also has some of Carnival’s latest kids and teen activity programs, so it will be great to let my sons each experience

 Carnival asked us to get to the cruise port on our own, which was a very reasonable request. But we found airfares the week of Christmas and New Year’s to be outrageous, especially for four people. So, as part of our adventure, we’re taking MegaBus out of Cleveland on Christmas afternoon for a 12-hr overnight trip to Chattanooga, Tenn. From there, we’ll rent a car and drive the remaining 11 hours to Miami.

 Once on board the Carnival Cruise on December 27, we’ll make stops in Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

The boys are already excited about checking some countries off of their lists! And I’m already pumped about the

Dodgeball on the Carnival Cruise Breeze

Dodgeball on board

snorkeling with stingrays … and the food on board the ship … and the island views … and that blue-green water … and some romance with my honey … and great family memories, too.

While you can wait for the article in a future issue of ManAboutWorld (download the magazine here for your Apple device or here for your Android device), you can also follow along and interact with us during the trip! Please follow me on Twitter (@paulheney) or on Intragram (also @paulheney). And @MAWtravel will be retweeting some of our fun, too, so make sure they’re on your social media holiday list, too!

Heney (right) and his family soon to join a Carnival Cruise

Heney (right) and his family

ManAboutWorld highlights tours and cruises we’ve personally participated in, and is editorial, not advertorial. Like virtually all travel publications, we sometimes accept discounted and sponsored (media or press trip) travel, but ManAboutWorld is beholden to no one but you. Our recommendations are based solely on the experience and opinions of our editorial team and trusted network, putting our readers’ interests above all. If you ever have an issue with anything we recommend, please let us know. We always have your back, and your travel satisfaction in mind. Read our full disclosure here.

Photos: Top & bottom: Paul J. Heney; Middle photos: Carnival Cruise Lines

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By @ 09/30/15 in Baltimore, Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
Gay families in Baltimore, in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Gay families in Baltimore

ManAboutWorld correspondent Paul J. Heney, his partner and their two growing boys brought back this report from Baltimore after a recent visit. No kids? No worries! You don’t need progeny to enjoy this article or learn practical and important trip-planning information about Baltimore, like the use of Old Bay. You don’t know what that is? Read on!

Where

Baltimore has always seemed to me to be a bit misplaced — it has that “big city with a small town feel” that so many Midwestern cities tout. But this metropolitan area of 2.7 million people is strategically placed on the East Coast, about 45 minutes north of our nation’s capital. It’s easily accessible from New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. And its modern airport has always gotten our family through efficiently. It’s not much more than an hours flight from places like Chicago or Atlanta, so it’s a nice option for a long family weekend.

Why go to Baltimore

Baltimore’s famed Inner Harbor is the center of its attractions, and the density of things to do in such a small area makes it Gay family fun in Baltimore, in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazinean ideal vacation spot for families of all shapes and sizes. The collection of museums, variety of restaurants, and waterfront activities can quickly fill up a weekend, making you wish you’d planned a few more days in this aptly named “Charm City.”

Weather is generally pleasant from spring through fall, although humidity can occasionally be overbearing in the middle of summer, so be forewarned. Baltimore has a great variety of festivals (including gay celebrations) throughout the year, so you may wish to check out the calendar at VisitBaltimore.com before planning your visit.

Gay factor

While neighboring Washington, D.C. may get more media attention for its gay life, Baltimore holds its own with its queer vibe. The “gayborhood,” if you will, is the lovely Mount Vernon neighborhood, just north of the city center, and its environs are quite LGBT popular and friendly. There are numerous theaters, art museums and gay establishments dotting this area. And who can forget that Baltimore is the beloved home of iconic director John Walters? Fellow Hollywood writers Barry Levinson and David Simon also grew up in the city. Annual LGBT-oriented events in the city include:

Planning resources

According to Tom Noonan, President and CEO of Visit Baltimore, his organization has an LGBT Tourism Advisory Committee that includes many of the city’s family-focused attractions, including the National Aquarium, Maryland Zoo in Baltimore and the American Visionary Art Museum. Noonan noted that there is a Baltimore LGBT Visitors Guide http://issuu.com/baltimoregaylife/docs/baltimorelgbtguide2014?e=1223151/7404635 that is produced by GayLife, the local gay monthly. The Visitors Guide offers a wealth of knowledge, with sections on accommodations, restaurants, nightlife, shopping, congregations, neighborhoods, and even a wedding guide.

For more about where to stay, eat, and what to do, download ManAboutWorld on the iTunes App Store or Google Play. We support iPads, iPhones and Android devices. There are a few FREE publications in all of the apps, and you can click here to register for a FREE three-month subscription.



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By @ 04/14/15 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
Gay family travel as seen in ManAboutWorld gay travel magazine

Our Go, Daddy correspondent Paul and his son.

ManAboutWorld correspondent was invited to Baltimore on an LGBT family media visit. Below is one of his dispatches posted via his Twitter page. Check out the rest of his updates on our Twitter page (MAWtraveland read his full report in an upcoming issue of ManAboutWorld magazine

Via: Paul J. Heney @paulheney

Sightseeing is hard work!! I have one tired cookie at dinner. @BaltimoreMD @MAWtravel @TWtravelnews #baltimore pic.twitter.com/UWjUl46cxY



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By @ 02/24/15 in Berlin, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
As seen in ManAboutWorld magazine, the gay travel magazine

“Scenes from the Land of Hirschfeld” inside the Schwules Museum

One of our favorite correspondents, Paul Heney, is back with another great piece about his recent travels to Berlin:

Berlin took a little time to grow on me, but after four trips here over the years, it’s a place I love to visit. The city’s eclectic style, extensive arts scene, in-your-face “German-ness” and plentiful shopping—not to mention its very gay-friendly vibe—adds up to a lot of fun for the gay traveler.

I had a great opportunity to visit the city’s famed Schweules Museum, now celebrating its 30th anniversary. Schweules, one of the world’s mot renowned institutions for researching and communicating the LGBTQ experience.

Through March 31, the museum is showcasing a fascinating exhibit, “Porn That Way,” a look at the history of gay, lesbian and trans porn. And there is a lot of history, and some pretty interesting insight into what gay porn meant, not to mention how it shaped what men considered sexy. From early work that seemed closeted and subversive to the photorealistic Tom of Finland drawings—and from the gay-for-play muscled hunks that tried to show a healthy counterpoint to AIDS victims to the self-made online empires like Corbin Fischer, the show tries to show how the different eras of gay pornography related to the times.

There’s also an in-depth examination of lesbian porn, including the “produced by men for men” variety, as well as the woman-produced, safe-sex, female-centric movies and magazines.

So if you’re in Germany’s capital city anytime soon, make sure to stop by Schweules before heading over to Brunos for your underwear and gymwear shopping! It’s a worthwhile stop to pay homage and learn more about that media that no one likes to discuss in public—but that everyone watches in private.

 

 

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By @ 02/10/15 in Gay travel, Hawaii, Kauai, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
As seen in ManAboutWorld, the gay travel magazine

Blue skies on the gorgeous island of Kauai

Our intrepid correspondent, Paul Heney, chimes in with another fun post about how to bring exotic locales to you when your travel aspirations and your wallet don’t match up:



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By @ 08/25/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel

gaygames169Our correspondent Paul Heney sent us this photo from the ground in Cleveland from the Gay Games. The games wrapped last week but the memories of the event are still being felt throughout the city! Congrats to all the performers, athletes, and organizers of this historic event!

 

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By @ 08/11/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel

blogOur correspondent Paul Heney is back with another report from Cleveland on the Gay Games from this past weekend:

GG9 is here!

Saturday will go down as a true life highlight for me—along the lines of attending the 2013 inauguration of President Obama. As a participant in the Gay Games, I was able to march into the Opening Ceremony, held at “The Q” … the downtown arena where the Cleveland Cavaliers play.



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By @ 08/08/14 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel

 

gaygames1

Our correspondent Paul Heney chimes in with a personal story about the Gay Games coming to Cleveland this weekend! We recently covered Cleveland earlier this year and are offering our Cleveland guide for free here. Here’s Paul on Cleveland and what the Gay Games coming to his hometown means to him (click “Read more”):



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By @ 08/16/13 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel

paul's kidsCall this mashing in vegetables with the foods your kids want to eat. But our Global Correspondent Paul J. Heney, a gay father of two, devised a strategy to blend fun travel and useful scouting. In his words:

I’m all about having fun on family vacations, but, as most parents do, I also like to throw in some educational things when I can. All the better if the kids don’t quite realize they’re learning something. Whether it’s a somber visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial or a lighthearted stop at a science museum, my kids generally go along with it, and we all get a lot out of the experience.



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By @ 07/18/13 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, Helena, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel

kidsBy ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent and Traveling Gay Dad Paul J. Heney

Our trip through Glacier National Park ended on a challenging note, as we took a last hike to Avalanche Lake–a ranger told us it was an easy 2 mile (each way) hike with a beautiful view at the end of a lake with waterfalls cascading into it. Both our guidebooks listed it is an “easy” hike. But it was anything but. The 500-ft elevation gain felt more like 2,000 ft. Our feet were exhausted by the end; the view was stunning, but we slugged back to the car and decided we were done, to the hotel it was.

I’d originally planned to have us stay in Kalispell, Montana that evening, the main town at the western end of the park. But the best lodging option seemed to be the Pine Lodge in nearby Whitefish. I didn’t know anything about Whitefish and I guess I assumed it was sort of a crummy suburb of Kalispell, 15 min north. I couldn’t have been more wrong.



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By @ 07/13/13 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, Helena, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel

montana boy

By ManAboutWorld Global Correspondent and Traveling Gay Dad Paul J. Heney

Glacier National Park has been a hit with the boys so far. We’re staying at a simple place in National Park property called the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. It’s really an amazing location, about 10 miles inside the park, at the confluence of several hiking trails. Mountains seem to sprout up in every direction and the skies are an unreal shade of blue. The complex, a few miles west of the Many Glacier area, includes campgrounds, small cabins to rent, and a very old school but serviceable series of motel rooms. There’s also a very nice Italian restaurant and a gift shop that sells camping and hiking gear, along with a good selection of food and drinks.



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By @ 07/11/13 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, Helena, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel

 

The Montana state Capitol in Helena. Quite beautiful inside.

The Montana state Capitol in Helena. Quite beautiful inside.

By Paul J. Heney

Our first day of our first gay family trip went well. We’d decided to save some money and use frequent flier miles, so we were somewhat restricted by the airline’s (United’s) whims. We flew from CLE-IAH-DEN-HLN. A three hour layover in Houston was actually a nice gift; the kids spotted a Chili’s and begged to have lunch there. We were fine with that, because it wasn’t McDonalds. We also took a tour of about every gift shop in the B and C terminals … but I convinced the boys to save their money, as they would probably see some really cool stuff in Montana.



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By @ 07/07/13 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, Gay-Friendly, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel, United States
A healthy fear of bears;)

A healthy fear of bears;)

By Paul J. Heney

Our first gay family adventure—should I be nervous?

In a few days, I’ll be taking what I am deeming my first gay family trip. I’ve traveled extensively with my two sons—and I’ve traveled extensively with my partner—but the four of us have never taken a trip together. Lance and the boys get along quite well, and this trip seemed like a natural. Until I pointed out to Lance recently that he’d never been around the boys 24 hours a day for a whole week. That got him thinking a little. And me as well, I suppose. Will we get along in the car? Will everyone want to do the same activities? Who sits next to whom on the plane? Will the lack of internet connectivity and television where we’re going drive someone (me!) insane?



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By @ 03/23/13 in Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
Ok, I could get into this.

Ok, I could get into this.

Our correspondent, Paul J. Heney, likes baseball enough to travel for spring training. Hey, he’s a dad! Catch his early ball-game fever.

It sure doesn’t feel like Spring across most of the Northern half of the U.S. But what if you could combine some glorious sunshine and warm temperatures with a close-up look at some well-muscled athletes right about now?

The Cactus League season is wrapping up, but it’s not too late for a last minute getaway. The season runs from February 22 to March 30, and encompasses 15 of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams (the rest train in Florida). All of the ballparks are within a 30 mile drive of downtown Phoenix, making it fairly easy to take in a few games at different ballparks over several days.



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By @ 03/02/13 in Gay dads, Gay family travel, Gay travel, ManAboutWorld, Paul Heney, Travel
Gay parenting: a walk in the park!

Gay parenting: a walk in the park!

The two biggest joys of my life are being a dad and traveling. While I often travel with just my partner, I also very much enjoy taking time to show my two sons (ages 5 and 12) the amazing world we live in.

I learned an important lesson about traveling with kids many years ago. We were going to Europe and decided to take Joshua (then 5). Josh was all about trains, so part of the tour involved the high-speed trains he always talked about, including a ride through the Chunnel to London. It was a fantastic trip, encompassing much of Germany, The Netherlands and greater London.

Years later, what does he remember of the trip? The trains? The museums? The statues in London? The food? Heck no. He remembers feeding the ducks in a pond at the Munich Olympic Park. (He could do that three minutes from our house!) The moral is that you have to plan plenty of open, unscheduled time, to let the wandering attention of little ones call the shots sometimes.

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