Karl Krause and Daan Colijn are known as Couple of Men, the gay traveling duo that has visited more than 50 countries on five continents. Daan, 36, was born and raised in Amsterdam, and Karl, 38, was born and raised in a small mountain village near Dresden, Germany.
Meeting in Berlin for the first time, the pro travel bloggers just celebrated their 9th Anniversary and live in Amsterdam, and they’ve already started working on plans to celebrate their 10th anniversary.
This week, we connect with Daan and Karl to get the “tea” about their new book and explain why Kate Bush is on their road trip music playlist. They also reveal the best queer things to do in their hometowns, and dish about their favorite hiking destination.
Vacationer Magazine: At what age did you receive your first passport? What was your first trip?
Daan Colijn: I received my first passport when I went on my first trip outside of the Netherlands to Euro Disney (now Disneyland Paris) when I was 6.
Karl Krause: I didn’t get my first passport until I was 22. I was traveling around Europe, but you don’t need a passport for that as an EU citizen. My first trip outside of Europe was to Thailand, China, and Sri Lanka.
What trip or travel experience sparked your passion for travel?
Daan: My passion for travel was sparked by exploring different nature sites, and of course, exploring the fantasy world of theme parks in different countries.
Karl: My passion for travel was sparked by immersing myself in different cultures and finding my own way of living life as a gay man, away from home, including the challenging times I experienced at school for being gay.
Please tell us how you identify yourself on the LGBTQIA spectrum. Tell us if how you identify influences the way your travel. If so, how?
We both identify as gay men who feel a close connection with the bear community. We like to combine spending time in nature with a few days of culture in a city, and when possible, we try to schedule our travel so we can attend local Pride celebrations or other queer, gay, or bear activities and events. It is always fascinating to learn more about the scene from locals we connect with to find the right safe spaces or to find hidden gems on off-the-beaten-path.
Is it true that you just finished your first book – a gay travel storybook in German? Can you tell us about it? Is there a title yet?
Yes, we finished our first book titled Couple of Men – Ein Männerpaar reist um die Welt (A Couple of Men – Traveling Around the World) and you can pre-order it now! According to our publisher – one of the biggest travel and lifestyle publishers in Germany – our book will be the first German-speaking travel book by and for the LGBTQ+ Community. So, you can probably imagine how excited we are about the book release. It is about our story as a gay couple, the challenges queer travelers face, and our love to explore the world. We hope we succeeded in explaining how important it is to understand the challenges and special moments queer travelers experience and how to safely enjoy traveling.
What made you decide to write a gay travel book? How long have you been working on it?
Karl: I’ve always dreamed of writing a book and becoming a published author. It was such an honor when we were contacted by Polyglott, the German publisher, and asked to write our story as a traveling gay couple. It took us about half a year from the first word to the final script including pictures, tips, and information about and for the queer community.
When will the book be available for purchase? Any plans for an English version Will there be an English version of the book?
The book will be published officially at the beginning of May, but as mentioned, you can pre-order the book on our website or on any big online bookseller. For now, the book will be in German, but we heard rumors from the publisher that an English version might be on its way soon!
Is there a travel destination that most queer travelers would think isn’t safe to visit, but you’ve visited and enjoyed it? If so, where? What made it a memorable experience?
Although we get these kinds of questions regularly, they are difficult to answer since a fun and safe experience for us does not mean that someone else will experience the same, especially when you look at a broader queer spectrum. The most gay-friendly cities can be dangerous or plain dull when you are there, and it also depends on what someone is expecting of a queer trip or destination. Having said that, we loved our trips to Iceland, Austria, and we had a wonderful time in Finland!
How long have you been traveling together? What was your first trip together? Would you recommend it to other LGBTQ+ travelers?
We started traveling almost immediately when we met because we lived in different cities in different countries – Amsterdam and Berlin. When we came to visit each other, we were kind of getting a personal tour of each city. Our first real big trip together was one month in Japan which was amazing, and we would recommend it to everyone.
Was it naturally easy to start traveling with one another? Why or why not? What are the perks of traveling as a couple?
Karl: Thankfully, we have many common interests. That definitely helps when choosing a destination or activity. We also learned to appreciate each other’s excitement for certain things, like Daan loves to go to theme parks and because of this, I’ve become a big Disney fan.
What are three things LGBTQ+ travelers should do when visiting Amsterdam and Dresden?
For Amsterdam, check out which parties and events are there and when. The Milkshake Festival and the Tropikali Festival are something not to miss! Also, Amsterdam has a great gay fetish scene so if that’s your thing, Club Church is a nice place to go. And everybody (also non-LGBTQ+ travelers) should visit the Homomonument on the Westermarkt right in the city center, which was the first monument in the world to commemorate gays and lesbians who have been persecuted because of their sexual orientation.
What are your top three favorite places to visit? Why?
Iceland – because it is the most beautiful place on Earth if you like waterfalls, moss, mist and a lot of wind.
Japan – because of its culture, food, and nature.
Amsterdam (our hometown) – Because it is such a cute small town with the allure of a big city, and the architecture and canals are unique.
All three places are very queer-friendly.
You’ve traveled as a couple to more than 50 countries. What three places are still on your list to visit? Why?
We would love to travel to and explore New Zealand, Mexico, and Scotland. All three have distinctive landscapes and we heard and read many remarkable stories about these places.
You’re known for being a pretty adventurous couple. If you were planning a trip to go hiking, where would you go?
Scotland or the southwest coastline of England are high on our list.
If you were going on a road trip. What singer or band is always on your playlist?
We have this thing for Kate Bush. She was part of our playlist during our two-week road trip around Iceland and we just love her creativity and view of the world.
You have traveled as a couple all around the world over the past several years, especially before the pandemic. Are there travel trends you’re excited about right now?
We are happy to see that people are getting more conscious about traveling. Traveling is not something we can take for granted and we all should understand what kind of footprint we leave behind after visiting a destination.
Travel has a lot of positive but also negative sides to it. It does not mean we should stop doing it and stay in our house all the time. But it is important to understand that a trip abroad is a luxury and that you are a guest in someone’s country and culture. We like to travel the world consciously, respectfully, and with a happy heart and we hope to inspire others to do the same.