INTERVIEW SERIES: TRAVEL COUPLE JAVI AND VIC
I asked the couple to answer the same questions without either of them knowing the other’s answers. Funny, moving, and way too cute…here’s what they had to say…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi! My name is Victor Borbolla. I’m 25 years old. I’m Cuban-American, from Miami, FL, but currently working as an actor in NYC. I married my high school sweetheart in October, 2016
My name is Javi Perez. I’m a Cuban-American artist from Miami, FL, living in NYC with my beautiful husband and our dog Robbie. I also work as a personal trainer and fitness instructor. I love to eat, I love to dance, and I love to make people laugh.
How did you meet Javi?
We met in high school. We sat at the same lunch table for a year without ever really speaking. Then we began hanging out senior year and became best friends. We were closeted in high school and our relationship was purely platonic for three months. Eventually we opened up to each other and dated in secret for the rest of the school year. We came out together after graduation.
Javi, when did you know you wanted to be with Vic?
We were both in the closet when we met, so I didn’t even know he was gay when I first met him. Eventually we found out about each other through a secret ex-boyfriend, and I started to notice Victor in a different way. As soon as I found out Victor was gay, I wanted him to be my boyfriend.
You guys had a long relationship before getting married. When did you know you wanted to marry him?
Vic – I fell in love with Javi almost immediately. I think sooner than he did with me. At the beginning of our relationship, I very much felt that I was holding on tighter than he was. I went away to college for two years and convinced him to stay with me long distance. Then, we both got accepted to NYU as transfer students, and I needed to convince him to move in together. I knew from the beginning. For that reason, I told Javi that if he ever wanted to get married, that I would not be the one to ask. I didn’t want to feel like I forced him into something else!
Javi – We are also very young, so getting married sounded so crazy. I’ve known I wanted to be married to Victor for about 4 years. But I wasn’t ready; I needed to mature a bit more and I wanted more financial stability.
What things did you have in mind and what places were you considering when looking for a honeymoon destination?
Vic – Javi loves to relax on vacation, and I love to be adventurous on vacation. We wanted to go somewhere that allowed us to do both! Somewhere warm and beautiful. We considered Costa Rica, South Africa, and Thailand.
Javi – I wanted to be in a speedo the whole time, drinking cocktails and in the sun, but we also wanted it to be gay friendly. We also considered Greece, Brazil, and Argentina, but in the end Thailand made us the most excited.
Vic – Thailand offered us the best of both worlds. Thailand has so much culture to explore but also some of the most beautiful islands in the world. Economically speaking, Thailand allowed us to be away for 3 weeks, rather than 1 week somewhere else. We rented vespas, explored the islands, zip lined, played with monkeys, went snorkeling, and, most importantly for Javi, relaxed a lot!
Javi – The beautiful islands, the welcoming people, the cheap accommodations, the ridiculous hospitality, the exotic culture, the fun nightlife, the paralyzing tranquility.
Who did the planning for the trip?
Vic – We both did! I mean, kind of more me, but really, how much planning does Javi need to do when looking to relax somewhere? I wanted to make sure that we did everything on our list.
Javi – Victor. Always Victor. 🙂 I helped though! But Victor is so thorough when it comes to travel, finding deals and affordable accommodations. I just embrace it and make sure he’s comfortable while browsing (i.e. refilling his glass with wine, making dinner, walking our dog, etc.) 🙂
What was the biggest challenge?
Vic – Fitting everything in to one trip. Since we don’t know when we’ll be returning to Southeast Asia, we wanted to see as much as we could as possible. We went to (in this order): Bangkok, Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Krabi/Railay Beach, Phi Phi Island, and Phuket. We even managed to end the trip with a few days in Hong Kong. Our itinerary was a bit ambitious! If you’re looking to just relax, then I’d suggest narrowing down your choices.
Javi – Also, communicating with people in Thailand became difficult in certain regions. Language barriers can be difficult- carrying a map around is imperative.
Did you ever feel discriminated against or in danger at any point? If so, how did you manage it?
Vic – No! This was another reason why we chose Thailand. Unfortunately, this is something that needs to be considered when you’re gay. Luckily for us, we live in NYC, somewhere we feel safe to be ourselves. We know that this isn’t the case everywhere else. In this case, Jamaica would not be a safe place for us to go. We met a lesbian couple while in Koh Phangan and shared how we all felt so comfortable and welcomed by the Thai people.
Javi – Never felt discriminated against. The locals were nothing but nice to us.
What did you learn about traveling with this experience?
Vic – I learned how much I love to travel with my favorite person in the world. And also how beneficial it is to do so. The experiences shared and learned while exploring new places is more beneficial than that new couch.
Javi – I learned that traveling to a foreign place creates a certain nervous, anxious energy because of all the unknowns, so fights about anything are inevitable. And it is so important to resolve the fights as quickly as possible because time is something you don’t have when your traveling or on vacation. Get over your petty fights and remember to enjoy the moment.
What advice would you give to another couple planning their honeymoon?
Vic – Planning ahead of time really helped ease some possible frustrations. I made sure to do a lot of research about how to get from island to island and what to do at each one. By no means did I book absolutely everything in advance, because a little room for spontaneity is great, but having transportation booked ahead of time in a country where my cell phone doesn’t work was definitely a good move.
Javi – If traveling to an exotic place, remember what your priorities are when spending your money and what level of comfort you require when it comes to accommodations.
What’s the most memorable memory from the trip?
Vic – Our very last night of the honeymoon was Halloween in Hong Kong. We went shopping around HK for some last minute Halloween costumes. With a little research, we discovered that Lan Kwai Fong, a small section in Central district, is the strip of bars and restaurants where locals and visitors celebrate Halloween. We stumbled into a line for a gay hotel rooftop party and somehow made it in. We had the time of our lives running around Hong Kong dressed as American Cowboys in black wigs. It was the perfect way to end our honeymoon.
Javi – The King died the day we got to Bangkok. Thai people love their King. The country goes into 30 days of mourning, everyone wears black, they visit temples to pray, they swarmed the streets during the procession of his body, the television networks change all their programming to black and white… it was intense. The day of the procession, we got caught smack in the middle, right between the palace and the hospital his body was being transferred from.
We realized it was going to be impossible to get home to our hotel which was about 10 miles away. We tried to get a cab for around 3 hours: nobody would pick us up. They either didn’t understand us, they said it was too far away, or they were worried about traffic. We finally got a man on a motorcycle to stop and agree to take us. We both squeezed on the back of his motorcycle as he weaved between cars and buses and rode alongside other bikes going pretty fast.
Our legs would just skim other vehicles. It was scary and exhilarating and exciting for so many reasons. We finally made it home, and I was so proud of us as a couple because we got through a really frustrating time together and figured it out.
Did you ever have a fight or discussion while traveling? If so, how did you manage it?
Vic – Javi and I have been together for 8 years now and have our fair share of disagreements. We’ve learned that approaching the issue sooner than later is always the key to resolution. With that said, there was too much beauty on the islands of Thailand to disagree about anything!
Javi – lol the above response answers this. But we fought a lot. Petty fights about stupid shit. It was so important to resolve fights quickly because your time on vacation is so limited and precious, and no fight is worth wasting time in Thailand for.
Pick a place around the world, where would you be with Javi right now and why?
Vic – I’d love to revisit Buenos Aires. Javi’s never been. I lived there for a few years, but I was very young. I’d love to experience the beauty of Argentina but with Javi this time.
Javi – Maya Bay, Phi Phi Island in Thailand. The most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The brightest turquoise water, against the burnt orange cliffs, the open air; just breathtaking.
How about by yourself, where would you go right now?
Vic – I want to go on a African safari! Not much of a relaxing/lay-on-the-beach kind of vacation, but I’m sure Javi would love to as well. (He surely doesn’t know how to think of self anymore 😛 )
Javi – The top of any mountain. I love to sit at the top where the air is crisp, the sound is wind, the smell is earth, and the view is infinite.
What advice do you have for couples out there that feel that traveling is impossible or too difficult?
Vic – It’s not. If you want to travel, then save little by little. It’s too easy to go out and spend $80 in one night on dinner and/or drinks. If you’re looking to travel, then save those experiences for dinner and drinks that you can have while traveling! If budget is an issue, don’t forget that traveling locally can be just as great. There are always new places to discover by short flight or even drive.
Javi – It is not! Find a budget and save. You just have to write a list of priorities when traveling. For example, we love to eat and we like nice hotels. So we splurged on those two things. But we didn’t go shopping, or choose expensive excursions; we researched and found cheap ways to do excursions and cheap ways to travel between islands.
Do you guys have a future trip ahead?
Vic – Actually, yes! We’re headed to San Francisco at the end of March. It’s the first time for both of us.
Javi – Yes! We are going to San Francisco, renting a car, and driving through the coast to LA. I can’t wait! Never been to San Francisco and I can’t wait to see friends in LA. But I’m most excited about the road trip with Vic. We used to do road trips all the time when we lived in Florida, and I miss it! The radio blasting, windows down, sugary snacks, coffee stops. Can’t wait!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Vic – Javi and I have been living in NYC for five years. We love it here. There’s a possibility that we’ll still be here for another five years. NYC has so much to offer to us as actors. However, if an opportunity presents itself to either one of us that would, for example, require us to move to California, then we’re more than okay relocating somewhere else.
Javi – Living with my husband. 🙂 The rest is a mystery and I like it that way.
Thank you to the amazing Javi and Vic for such a great interview. We wish them the best in their new chapter! If you enjoyed this interview, keep coming back. Every month a couple or solo traveler will share their experiences and lessons through our interview series. Happy Valentine’s day!