Have guitar, will travel

Indie Rocker Tom Goss on Tokyo, Toni Morrison and his airport style

Guitar toting musician Tom Goss, 36, is constantly on the road. From Chicago to Berlin, the self-proclaimed unabashed romantic plays dozens of gigs with nothing more than his acoustic guitar and silky voice. In fact, you can check out Tom on his What Doesn’t Break tour in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Hope, PA, and Provincetown, MA.

Last year, the LA-based indie rocker took seven international trips and he’s ready to get started on 2018.

Tom took time out of his busy rehearsing and travel schedule to talk to GayCities about how he relaxes while touring, his worst travel experience, carry on bag must-haves and more.

Are you single, married, dating? I’m married. We’ve been together for 12 years and married for seven. He is, without a doubt, the most wonderful thing that has ever happened to me.

Favorite travel destinations so far? Palawan, Philippines, might be the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen, the clear blue water, tropical weather, pristine white sand beaches and dramatic mountain ranges. Every direction you look is another paradise.

The spirit of the people in South Africa changed me forever, giving me a much deeper perspective on life, so that’s gotta be up there too. I spent three weeks in South Africa in 2002, less than 10 years after apartheid fell and black South Africans were seen as equal citizens. I expected to see people that were angry and cheated. As a white man, I expected to feel some sort of tension between myself and the residents. I did not; I felt the opposite. I saw a people full of spirit and heart, full of forgiveness and with eyes pointed towards the future. I saw children running to school, jamming two or three to a desk, just excited to be learning. They were happy and laughing and almost always singing. I fell in love with the spirit and voice of the people of South Africa.

What are your favorite gay hang-outs? In LA, you can find me The Eagle, Precinct, or Akbar, especially if there’s a Bears in Space party! Bear Happy Hour at Town Danceboutique in DC used to be my haunt, but I have a soft spot in my heart for Freddie’s Beach Bar & Restaurant just over the border in VA.

What’s your worst travel experience? When I was 17 I took a bus from Chicago to Virginia Beach, VA. The bus ride itself wasn’t bad but as you may know bus stations can be scary places, usually in dangerous neighborhoods. Sleeping in the Cleveland & Washington, DC, bus stations as a teenager was scary. Bus stations are almost always in the most dangerous parts of the city, they are hubs for drugs and all sorts of other undesirable behavior. I suppose I have been in much more precarious situations at this point in my life, but at 17 it was scary. I saw a cross-section of this country I wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

How do you relax while on vacation? In Thailand, I [got] a massage every day because they’re so great and cheap! In Japan, I love a quick stop at an onsen (hot spring) to take a soak. But, I do most of my relaxing in bed with my husband.

You took seven international trips in 2017. Where did you go? I had a couple work trips in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta / Baja) and Canada (Toronto), a long trip to Japan, an impromptu drive up to Quebec on Thanksgiving and a couple European jaunts (Berlin, Hamburg, Amsterdam, London). Moving to Los Angeles (and being much closer to Asia) has really re-ignited my travel bug.

Where do you find affordable flights? I joined ScottsCheapFlights.com, so when I see a great fare, and have the time, I book it! We did Thailand and The Philippines for $245 roundtrip!

You just returned from Tokyo. What did you think? Japan is a culture of enthusiasm. They smile bigger, laugh louder and get excited about everything. As Americans, we approach everything with the assumption that we’ve seen it before, or we’re bored, or we’re far too cool to be excited about what’s in front of us. I’m bored of being bored, I much prefer being excited.

Why did you like Japan? The Japanese are hyper focused on beauty, architecture and design. I can’t tell you how many ornate and beautiful sewer grate covers I took pictures of! My job is to create art and beauty, they excel at doing it everywhere. It was inspirational. Also, the food. Everything is delicious and readily available. I miss it!

Tell us about your upcoming trips: I’m spending most of February in Hong Kong, Cambodia and Laos. The more I read about Laos the more I’m excited about how primitive it is. I’m hoping it’ll be a little bit like stepping back into time. My husband and I are navigating the Thakhek loop by motorbike! Fingers crossed.

Carry-on bag Must Haves: I never check bags for personal travel so my carry on bag is equipped with everything I need: toiletries, first-aid kit, pen, phone charger, and a couple books.

What are you currently reading? The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

What’s your airport style? I wear comfortable jeans, shoes and tee. I usually bring a hoodie as well because I get cold!

Travel bucket list: Madagascar, Antartica, Patagonia, India, Nepal, Easter Island, Charleston, SC, Boundary Waters, MN, Vancouver B.C.

Find Tom Goss on Instagram

Photos courtesy of Tom Goss

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