Not many of us can say our job is traveling the globe.
But J. Harvey of the travel blog My Normal Gay Life has a life that’s anything except normal. After growing up in rural North Carolina, the 31-year-old hunk has made a life of globetrotting. From swimming with a sea turtle in the Galapagos Islands to trekking across Ecuador with the Nomadic Boys, J. Harvey has no intentions of unpacking his bags anytime soon.
We caught up with J during his stop in Annecy, an alpine town in the Southeast of France. The Sagittarius shared his desire to visit all the micronations on Earth, meeting his husband on Grindr, and his love of relaxing in a dark hotel room with the Queer Eye reboot.
Here’s what he had to say:
Where were you born?
I was born in a small town in rural North Carolina called Smithfield and grew up in an even smaller town called Four Oaks.
Where do you live now?
I live in Raleigh, NC as a homebase. Grenoble, France has become a home away from home for me as a result of my husband’s job.
What was your coming out experience like?
I didn’t come out until my freshman year of college. I was trying to “like women” and convinced myself I was in love with this woman who really only thought of me as a friend. One day a few of my female teammates (I ran collegiate cross country) just asked me if I really liked women or did I actually like men. It was at that moment I decided to stop with the façade and just own up to it. It felt amazing to be my genuine self.
How did you met your husband?
Alfred and I actually met on Grindr. I said hi with the hopes that maybe it would lead a bit of fun. We chatted for a bit and then met for the first time in person on New Year’s Eve at the gay club in Raleigh, NC, called Legends. We moved in together fairly quickly and were married after dating for about five years. There was a hurricane that day, but the wedding was still awesome.
What projects are you currently working on?
The blog is a never ending endeavor that I love. I’m also trying to increase my video content with travel montages, vlogs, travel advice, and educational videos about specific attractions and places.
Favorite travel destination so far?
Ecuador. I traveled across the country for one month with the Nomadic Boys and it was such an incredible time. The country is absolutely beautiful from the Andes to the Galapagos Islands to cloud forests and the coastal regions. The Ecuadorian people are kind, generous, and welcoming. It’s a highly underrated destination that more people need to visit.
Dream travel destination:
Mongolia, Alaska, Siberia in Russia, Antarctica, Maldives, and China. I also have a goal to visit as many UNESCO World Heritage Sites as possible in my lifetime and visit all the miconations of the Earth such as Andorra, Lichtenstein, and the Vatican.
Where are you traveling next?
There is the possibility of traveling to Greece for a trip with a few friends, a blog campaign, and maybe a short cruise around the country, but I am not quite sure yet. The next big trip that I am really trying to solidify is to Kyrgyzstan for the World Nomad Games in September. I’m really hoping this all works out because it will be an experience unlike any other.
Tell us about your trip to the Galapagos Islands:
This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and it happened serendipitously. We were all snorkeling with the hopes of seeing sea lions under the water. I hopped out [for a while] and was hanging out in the sun in my speedo. Then I looked over and noticed a shadowy mass about 300 meters away. We drove over to find that it actually was eagle rays … about six of them. I lowered myself back into the water and my friend Sebastien (of the Nomadic Boys) got in with me. We were literally swimming in the middle of this school of eagle rays and it was incredible! Funny thing was he and I held hands while it happened so I call it our romantic moment, haha! The rays swam off and then I noticed a sea turtle about maybe 30 meters below me. I swam underwater for a bit with the beautiful creature. I felt like me and the sea turtle connected somehow. It was such a mind-blowing experience.
What have been your favorite gay hangouts?
One of the best cities I’ve visited for LGBT culture and life is Barcelona. This city has a gayborhood called Eixample and it’s filled with awesome bars, clubs, and LGBT-friendly establishments. My favorite is Night, a cruise bar, because it attracts a really diverse crowd and it was easy to chat with people there. Barcelona is such an accepting city.
How do you relax while on vacation?
As a travel writer, I always say there is no such thing as a vacation. However, while I am on the road, I like to relax by making my room as dark as possible and listening to music or watching Netflix. I particularly became enamored the reboot of Queer Eye. (I see you Karamo!) I also like to go to a nice park and sit under a tree and read. I guess I’m pretty normal when it comes to relaxing. If there’s a beach, I don’t mind laying under an umbrella, drink in hand.
What’s your favorite Pride town?
I really love PrideFest in Providence, Rhode Island. It’s a small city Pride event, but it delivers big. There are block parties across the city and an awesome festival that’s organized. It seems every bar, restaurant, and business is involved somehow. To top it off, there’s a really fun Pride Parade and it’s held at night. It’s so unique and definitely a good time!
Follow J. Harvey on Instagram.
Check out J. Harvey swimming with eagle rays in the Galapagos:
Photos courtesy of J. Harvey