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Gay and Lesbian Travel Inspired by Amelia Earhart

Gay and Lesbian Travel Inspired by Amelia Earhart

Inspired by Amelia Earhart, Kelsey Bray is embarking on her own travel adventure. Beginning in October, her new company -- Earhart Adventures -- will begin taking small groups of lesbian and gay travelers, their families and friends on guided vacations to some of the world’s remote and beautiful destinations.

With Amelia Earhart as her inspiration, Kelsey Bray is embarking on her own travel adventure. Beginning in October, her new company -- Earhart Adventures -- will begin taking small groups of LGBT travelers, their families and friends on guided vacations … to some of the world’s remote and beautiful destinations.

Bray, originally from Australia, came to the US on a personal adventure -- a motorcycle trip -- 15 years ago. “My motorcycle broke down in Los Angeles and I couldn’t get parts for my bike … 15 years later I am still in LA but I decided that I had to finish my trip, which starts in Canada and goes the full length of the rocky mountains down into Argentina … I thought it’s really silly to go by yourself… why don’t you take people with you. I had the opportunity to go to Peru last year and I decided it would be really fun to start a travel business and show people the amazing culture and history and really just get back to my roots… I am very much a traveler at heart… I studied tourism at University and traveled extensively from Egypt to Japan… it’s getting back to my passion.”

For the last 10 years, Bray has been producing special events with little diva productions. “We have done a lot of work in the entertainment industry and I’ve taken clients to Sundance, done launch events and big non-profit fundraisers here in Los Angeles but I just wanted to shift my attention to something that was little more true to myself and fun and adventurous… I’m an adventurer if nothing else…”

The former Outward Bound instructor named the travel company for the famed aviator and adventurer Amelia Earhart. "Amelia lived in an era when woman could not even vote… Her determination, adventurous spirit, and bravery is inspiring … We aim to encapsulate her spirit with our tours... we want to inspire people, and take them to greater heights."

Earhart Adventures offers two types of travel experiences:

· Cocktails by 5 tours accommodate a maximum of 16 guests and offer a high level of service and accommodations in 4-5 star … and cocktails by 5!

· #6017 Adventures, named after Earhart’s pilot ‘s license, are more physically challenging trips to remote destinations, with accommodations ranging from deluxe camping to 3+ star hotels.

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“Very clearly I can see that most of the focus is going to go to Cocktails by 5… we have had a lot of gays and lesbians of luxury… I’ll definitely continue with 6017 adventures … there is a market for that but it is a smaller group of people who like more physical activities on their vacations. It’s not that 6017 Adventures are extreme by any measure… on both the Patagonia and the Inca Trail tours we have porters carrying your back packs so all you have to do is carry your day pack with your lunch and water…” On the Inca trail the staff sets up tents and bedding and cooks meals. “It’s not like you are on the set of Survivor. I like to call it deluxe camping,” she adds.

Bray will personally escort all of the trips. “They are small group adventures… very personalized service… being involved in hospitality and tourism for so many years, it’s all about providing a high level of expectations of service and that is what I am accustomed to providing my clients and that’s what I want to translate into this tour company. Taking small groups also gives you flexibility … if you get on the tour and you get a couple who would like to do x instead of y, you can really truly accommodate them to make sure they end up with a really wonderful experience not just get dragged along on the itinerary that’s before them.”

Earhart Adventures is offering three 2009 tours, all of which include LGBT friendly guides:

· Classic Inca Trail (#6017 Adventure) – Oct. 15 – 24. The tour will take up to 16 guests to Peru on a hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in the Peruvian Andes. It is in the moderate-strenuous range, including high altitudes. Trail porters will carry gear.

· Best of Peru (Cocktails by 5) – Oct. 27 – Nov. 8. This tour requires low physical exertion but is still at high altitudes. It will include Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Lake Titicaca, Isle of Uros and a boat ride along the Amazon rainforest.

· Patagonia Discovery (#6017 Adventure) – Nov. 9-17, 2009. Medium to strenuous, the hiking has some strenuous elements, but participation is optional. Guests will trek and kayak through Patagonia’s Torres del Paine National Park featuring glacier lakes and icebergs and craggy pink granite mountains. Optional Santiago extension Oct. 17-19.

While it may seem ambitious for a new company to offer three trips before the end of 2009, Bray is more than confident that Earhart can deliver. “I am going down to Brazil on the 31st of August… basing myself in Latin America for the rest of the year. I’ll be Brazil, Argentina, Peru, Chili and Ecuador because I am setting up tours for next year as well …”

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In 2110, Cocktails by 5 trips include Australia, Norway, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands; #6017 adventures include motorcycling Australia’s coastline and Alaska.

Responsible travel is also important to Bray. Earhart is a member of the International Ecotourism Society and plans to minimize impact and build environmental and cultural awareness.

Bray thinks that her personal involvement sets her apart from many small group travel tour operators. “I actually design the tours myself… these are not repackaged tours … I have personally put together this itinerary based on my experience and my research. I go on the trips and give that high level of service… a great deal of time and effort has gone into planning the itineraries of these tours. Especially when we go to Australia next year… being Australian and having done so much traveling in Australia, when I take people to the great barrier reef we are going to take them to smaller, less well known, off-the-beaten-path destinations to give them a much more unique experience … the same thing with Alaska and Ecuador. That’s one reason I am spending the rest of the year in Latin America so that I can become really well attuned to different destinations and opportunities for us down there rather than just contacting some larger tour company and subcontracting from them.”

Visit the Earhart Adventures website for more information on the company and planned trips. 

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