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Andrew Collins

Andrew Collins

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Andrew Collins

Feeding kangaroos on Kangaroo Island, in South Australia, May 2007

Andrew Collins (e-mail: gaytravel@aboutguide.com) has been roaming the globe as a travel writer and editor since 1991, originally as a staff editor for Fodor's Travel Publications, and since 1993 as a full-time freelancer. Andrew spends about 10 to 15 days a month on the road, and although he technically lives in Portland, Oregon (where he moved in 2007, after 7 years in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico), he considers himself to be very much a perpetual nomad. And wherever his travels take him, from Austin to Zurich, he always sets out to find a destination's gay pulse.

You can see where Andrew is traveling and what he's working on by following him on Twitter and reading his blog, at TheCountyHunter.com.

Experience:

At age 23, Andrew conceived of and wrote Fodor's Gay Guide to the USA, which won a Lowell Thomas Travel Journalism award from the Society of American Travel Writers. He followed this with six regional gay guides for Fodor's, on destinations ranging from San Francisco to Amsterdam. Since 1996 he's written the syndicated gay travel column Out of Town, which appears in GLBT newspapers, and he's also Editor in Chief of two biannual GLBT travel magazines, OutAloha (on Hawaii) and OutCity Northwest (focused on Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia).

Andrew regularly writes and updates sections of the Fodor's guides on New Mexico, Arizona, Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Rhode Island, and New England. He's also authored guidebooks on New Orleans, Connecticut, and Rhode Island for Moon Handbooks, and has contributed to numerous other publications, including the Zagat guides, Orbitz.com, Travel + Leisure, Sunset, Frommer's Budget Travel, AAA Living, and New Mexico Magazine.

Like all the Guides at About.com, we're real people. We would like to hear about any suggestions, ideas, or questions you might have about the site. You can email me at gaytravel@aboutguide.com.

F.A.Q.

I have a correction to make about information in one of your articles - how can I make these changes?

Just send me (at gaytravel@aboutguide.com) a link to the page or pages on which you've noticed a factual error or outdated information, along with your correction. Feel free to add links to any relevant websites or articles pertaining to your correction, as this can be helpful when I need to verify information before making changes.

I'm trying to find out about gay travel in a specific destination, and I'm unable to find any articles about it on your site. Is there a time frame or plan for when you'll be writing about new places?

First, be sure to go to the search field on the home page, or to the site's destination lists, to make sure I haven't already included information on the destination you're interested in. It is true that geographical coverage on this site is limited to places I've actually visited. I travel about 10 to 15 days a month and try to visit as many new places as possible, but I'm just one guy with a very limited budget and only so much time to travel. I can't get to every place I'd like to, but I welcome suggestions about places you'd like to see written about.

Coverage on this site seems heavily slanted toward the United States and Canada - is there a reason you don't include more coverage of international destinations?

For a partial explanation, see my answer to the question above. I'm a bit limited by time and budget on where I can travel (and no, neither About.com nor any of the other outlets I write for cover any of my expenses - that's actually the norm in travel writing, believe it or not). It is true I've written more about U.S. destinations than international ones. This is chiefly because the vast majority of About.com users are in North America, and also because I'm based in Portland, Oregon, and it's more cost- and time-effective for me to focus my travels on the United States and, secondarily, Canada and Mexico. That said, I love traveling internationally and plan to keep adding coverage of non-U.S. destinations.

I own or work for a bar/hotel/restaurant/tour company/event or other business. How can I get you to write about it on this site?

I'm happy to add LGBT-relevant events (such as Gay Pride festivals and parties) to the events listings on the site. I also sometimes mention new gay-friendly bars and businesses in my blog, which I update once or twice a week. Any extensive or evaluative coverage of bars, restaurants, hotels, attractions, and other businesses I base on first-hand visits. Definitely feel free to e-mail me (at gaytravel@aboutguide.com) about your business, but bear in mind that I won't likely be able to write about it until I next visit your area.

Is the coverage on your site influenced by advertising, barters, or freebies?

Nope. I have no connection with About.com's ad team and no knowledge of who advertises on the site. As I wrote up above, I cover my own travel expenses. Mostly, I pay for trips out of my own pocket. Additionally, I sometimes work with tourism offices to secure partial assistance with transportation, accommodations, and other travel expenses. Occasionally, I'm invited to visit a museum, restaurant, or bar. In an ideal world, I'd earn enough revenue from my writing (and other freelance endeavors, which include editing and teaching) to cover all of my expenses, but travel is costly, and to some extent, I am dependent on - and very grateful for - assistance from tourism offices and some businesses. However, this occasional assistance has no bearing on whether I write about a particular establishment, or how I evaluate it.

Oh come on! You're saying you won't write favorably about businesses or places that have assisted you with your travels?

That's exactly what I'm saying. Look, in the end, readers only trust my coverage if it's honest, carefully researched, and objective. I'd be damaging my credibility and ultimately my career as a travel writer if I let assistance from businesses or destinations influence my coverage. If I couldn't honestly recommend a place or a business to a close friend, I wouldn't recommend it on this site or in any other publication I write for.

Can I e-mail you for help planning a trip or advice on a particular destination?

I receive about 20 e-mail requests per week for travel and trip-planning advice. Unfortunately, I haven't the time to answer most of these. My job producing this site for About.com is part-time, and I spend as much of this time as I can adding new content and updating existing articles. It's just not physically possible for me to find the extra few hours it would take each week to respond individually to requests for travel advice. And even if I could find the time, there's not much I could tell you about a particular place that I haven't already written on this site.

Education:

Andrew earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University, in Middletown, Conn., in 1991. He's also part of the faculty of New York City's Gotham Writers' Workshop, where he teaches online courses on travel writing, food writing, and how to freelance. Andrew's also a media member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association.

By Andrew Collins:

I'll go anywhere that sounds intriguing - gay-friendly or gay-hostile, swanky or skanky, down the street or across an ocean. I have a slightly (okay, severely) obsessive passion for seeing as much of the world as I can - in fact, one goal I have is to visit every county in the United States. For the record, I've set foot in more than 2,100 (out of about 3,150) so far.

In writing about travel for the GLBT community, my goal isn't to create an "us" versus "them" dynamic, where we have only our particular destinations, and mainstream travelers have theirs. Rather, I try to encourage gay travelers to see as much of the world as they can, and to be themselves while doing it. I write about gay-exclusive, clothing-optional resorts as well as mainstream B&Bs. I cover areas with unfavorable laws and attitudes toward the GLBT community just as I report on some of the world's most gay-popular and progressive communities.

If it's out there, it's my aim to write about it here.

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