Vacationer of the Week has had a short hiatus, but it’s back, but twice a month. We want to continue highlighting queer travelers around the world like Lugdivine Borello from Marseille, France! We found Borello’s cool Instagram feed of travel photography and had to connect with her. By the way, Kali is her nickname, and she also has another Instagram account with a friend, @cinevoyageuses, that focuses on film tourism.  

We reached out to the photographer and content creator to ask about her favorite places to snap those Instagram-worthy photos, not-to-miss things to do in Marseille, and what places are still on her travel bucket list. 

Vacationer Magazine: At what age did you receive your first passport? What was your first trip?

Lugdivine Borello: My first trip was a few days in Lisbon in 2014, it was a beautiful discovery and also when my passion for travel photography began. I received my first passport while in high school. A few friends and I thought about taking a big trip. It didn’t happen, but I was able to use my passport to go to New York.

Lugdivine 'Kali' Borello (Photo Credit: @kali_story)
Lugdivine ‘Kali’ Borello (Photo Credit: @kali_story)

What trip or travel experience sparked your passion for travel? 

Actually, a job inspired my passion for travel.  I used to work for a participatory tourism association, Marseille Provence Greeters, where local Greeters give visitors and other locals immersive-themed tours of the city, meanwhile offering them an authentic perspective and information about Marseille. With the board and the volunteers, we traveled across France a few times to meet over branches of the association and for our annual convention. Being there, meeting people from all around the country, and seeing other cities made me fall in love with traveling and discovering new places. 

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?

I’m not a big fan of labels, so I don’t really put myself into a box, but on the LGBTQ+ spectrum, I closely identify as queer and pansexual. Even though I’m part of the LGBTQIA+ community, it doesn’t influence my way to travel. I travel with friends of all ages, genders, and/or ethnicities, regardless of being part of the community. So, how I identify does not determine where I travel. 

New York City (Photo Credit: @kali_story)
New York City (Photo Credit: @kali_story)

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? 

I would say Turkey. I traveled in a group of four women to Istanbul, the Izmir province, and our trip ended in Cappadocia. That was a beautiful trip. Turkish people are very friendly. But my favorite part of the whole trip was Cappadocia. The mentality there is modern, and the landscapes are breathtaking. There wasn’t a time that we didn’t feel safe during the whole trip, and we traveled as much as possible by bus, which is very common in the country.

What advice would you give to a lesbian or queer woman who may be traveling solo?

I’ve only done it once, I usually travel with friends but, I’d recommend following and reading articles, blog posts, or social media posts from solo female travelers as well as LGBTQ+ travelers. Both groups of travelers will offer good advice and provide insight into their travel experiences. Queer travelers will usually address if a travel destination is safe and LGBTQ+ friendly. Lesbians and queer women can also get valuable general information from other female travelers, too, regardless of how they identify. It’s an easy way to find out if a specific travel experience or destination is right for you. Also, I recommend that you always let someone know your itinerary before you travel so they know where you are at all times. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

In general, what was the best advice someone gave you about traveling the world?

Travel as much as you can. And it’s true because travel opens you to the world and people. You can find tons of reasons not to travel, but once you start you realize each trip or destination is a unique experience. 

What are three things LGBTQ+ travelers should do when visiting Marseille?

I love my city so I’d say everything, although for first timers you can’t do just three things. 

Our Lady of the Guard is the symbol of Marseille so it’s a must-do sight to see and it also has a very interesting history. 

Mucem (museum) is perfect for architecture lovers because you can wander into the museum from the entrance to the rooftop then cross the bridge to the Fort St. Jean and wander into a piece of Marseille history. Visitors will get a view of the Mediterranean Sea, too!

For nature lovers, the Calanques National Park is a little paradise, but I would avoid them during summertime. Hot weather makes it difficult for some to explore.

The Panier District, the Frioul Islands, the Cours Julien neighborhood and so many other things are not to miss in the city. I’ll stop there, otherwise, I’d just recommend you see it all.

Everyone talks about visiting places that will be the best for cool Instagram-worthy photos. Do you have a specific place that you can recall that was one of the best places to take photos?

To be honest, I have several, but I would suggest visiting the villages of Provence. They are all pretty wonderful. Last week, I discovered a few more that I didn’t know about and couldn’t stop taking photos during my visit. They all look like each other and yet are so different.

What are your top three favorite places to visit? Why?

I’d say, New York City. It’s a city that I’ve always dreamed of visiting. I grew up with it on my TV screen and finally visited it for my 30th birthday and it exceeded my expectations! It has lovely people, who were always helpful and there’s always a new place to see or discover. It’s a diverse city like Marseille. Taking the subway in the Big Apple is an experience not to miss. 

For my second favorite place, I’d choose Budapest, Hungary. It’s a beautiful city, full of life and changing at an incredible speed.  To measure its greatness I think you have to go back several times and keep exploring.  

And finally, I’d go with Prague. As a photographer, I had to get up very early to get to the popular or well-known sights. But even when it’s crowded, it’s a bit like Venice. Once I make a turn and leave a touristy street, my mind is blown by the architecture, the food, and pretty much everything around me. 

What three places are still on your bucket list to visit? Why?

Ireland – I dream of visiting it for several reasons. My birthday is on Halloween, and Samhain, Ireland is actually where the celebration started. I’m also interested in meeting the country’s kind people and exploring its landscapes and folklore.  

It’s also pretty much why I want to visit Iceland and Canada, specifically British Columbia and Alberta. And on top of all of that, because of the movie and TV show lover in me, I want to visit these places because they are known for their incredibly diverse filming locations. I think these places ignite my imagination and they are inspiring.

Other than your camera and its accessories, what’s one thing you never forget to pack in your suitcase?

It’s a cliché, but my phone. Before traveling, I always make Google Maps with all the unusual places to see, eat or drink that I don’t want to miss. That map is very important to me because even if I like to discover the must-see sights of a city, region, or country; my favorite thing is to see something that is out of the ordinary or places where there is usually no crowd. They’re usually the best places to discover new things. It’s better to travel without a plan because you discover more when you don’t.  

You’re going on a road trip or a long-haul flight. What singer or band is always on your playlist?

East of Eli and Hozier are the two that are always on my playlist.