A Minute With Paul Rubio, Travel Writer

A Minute With Paul Rubio, Travel Writer
Paul Rubio really is a jet-setter. The professional travel writer has been throughout the United States and the world reporting on exotic locations where LGBTs can relax and unwind.
The 31-year-old calls Fort Lauderdale home, but admits he has many homes because of the nature of his job. He and his partner, who he met in Paris, have seized the opportunities presented by his job, which he actually landed on a whim.

Rubio has been touring to promote his Out Traveler series, each book of which focuses on one certain area. Out Traveler South Florida, Out Traveler Tampa/St. Pete and Out Traveler Orlando are among the issues in the popular series.
We caught up with the Miami native between book signings to get his take on LGBT travel.
How long have you been a writer?
I was already writing reports on the 50 states (for fun) when I was five. No joke. Then I moved on to song writing by the age of nine and winning essay contests and language arts awards by middle school. I never majored in Journalism or English, it just came naturally.
How did you get into travel writing?
I did my first travel writing gig in my summer 2002 after grad school at Harvard. On a whim, I applied to write for the student-oriented Let’s Go travel guide series. I was offered positions for 10 different travel destinations that summer, but could only pick one. I chose Madrid and the Canary Islands. I don’t think I have ever lost more brain cells in one summer.
How did your Out Traveler series come about?
Once Out Traveler achieved uber popularity and circulation of over 250,000 in 2007, the concept for the guide series was born. As a Florida native, I was asked to write the first edition of the Florida book.
Each book covers its own region. In particular, Florida is divided into different areas.
What is the reason for that? Why not do just a book on LGBT Florida?
Don’t get me started on the title! That’s a sore spot! The Out Traveler: South Florida nearly covers LGBT Florida in its entirety. However, the marketing and editorial team insisted on the title of South Florida to boost sales. I disagreed since over one half the content covers topics and regions outside of South Florida. But it was a losing battle for me and a few more grey hairs!
How familiar are you with the places you write about before you visit?
I am a big fan of researching a place beforehand. When I cover a city, I read everything and anything that I can get my hands on before going. Then I venture for a weekend to get a general feel and write down my first impressions. I interview people, make contacts, network, perhaps engage in relations. Then I return a few weeks later for a more in-depth visit—thoroughly exploring the food, the nightlife, the hotels, the culture, the nature, the boys, and the overall vibe of the city!
For our readers who may not have picked up one of your books yet, what is the format?
Guidebooks are usually used as a point of reference, but I decided to make the Out Traveler: South Florida entertaining enough to be read as a novel, beginning to end! So the format is simply—totally fabulous! It’s so not your typical guidebook. It’s super funny, frisky and fun. It’s kind of like Frommer’s meets Perez Hilton (or D-listed rather). It begins with introductory chapters about the homo hypocrisy of Florida and explores culture, history, politics and the iconoclasms of old and new LGBT Florida. There is an entire chapter on treasures off the beaten path and on the most amazing places to visit throughout the state. The book then moves on to the nitty-gritty with in-depth chapters on all major cities in Central and South Florida with places to stay, eat, drink, party, frolic, etc. Its 300 pages of syntax seduction.
What do you hope readers will learn about the areas you feature in your Out Traveler books?
I hope my books inspire people to get out there, try new things, and really embrace the natural beauty of Florida. I hope it encourages Floridians to re-discover their own backyards, and move beyond the world of amusement parks and chain restaurants.
How often do you travel?
I am literally on a plane twice a week at a minimum. I am now working on my third book for Alyson Books—301 Life Changing Experiences after Leaving the Closet. The assignment is taking me to the far corners of the world—on a weekly basis. I can’t complain but I do miss my bed sometimes.
Florida is a pretty backward state when it comes to LGBT rights. What do you think is the biggest attraction for LGBTs to Florida?
For most, Florida is known as a destination known for lots of sunshine, Deco, Disney, debauchery, and easy sex! At a state level and even many local levels, Florida does have very backward laws that harm the LGBT community. But you can never keep the gays from a good tan and cheap drinks. We rule Florida and I don’t think that will change with any law!

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