David Duran is an award winning travel writer who has traveled to all seven continents and more than 70 countries. His work focuses on general destination and luxury travel as well as culinary, hospitality, and airlines. He has contributed to such publications as Travel+Leisure, Jetsetter, The New York Post, Fodor’s, and Southbay Magazine. In addition, he has written for every major LGBT publication in the US.
Duran has always been a bit of a world traveler, starting at a young age with his family. “I believe my first solo international trip was to South America where I would go and spend summers with my extended family. My parents would put me on a plane in LA and I would have a long layover in Miami, where I would just sit by the gate for hours, until my next flight. I loved sitting in the airport just watching the planes come and go. Later in life I had a short stint as a flight attendant, which was fueled by my passion for exploration, and eventually as a young adult, I would travel as often as my wallet would permit me to, so not very often but more than most my age. When I began my writing career, I started off as a news reporter, writing about local city politics and local news. That eventually led to an opportunity to write a travel story and the rest is history. I’ve since been freelancing writing, with a focus primarily on travel, for about 8 years now. I’ve been fortunate to have visited all seven continents and close to 80 countries (and counting). I’ve most recently taken on a second role as travel advisor, where I plan itineraries and book travel for my clients. I love being able to send people to places that I’ve personally been to and experienced.”
Duran just passed his ten year anniversary of the day he was diagnosed as HIV-positive. “Looking back, I never would have imagined being where I am today. Those first years were rough for me, as I felt as if my life was over. It was a ridiculous way to feel but we each have our own paths and at that time, mine involved a couple years of deep depression. About 7 years ago, I decided to write an op-ed for the Huffington Post. It was my “second coming out” story where I told my HIV story. That was the first time I had written about something so personal and the end result was liberating. That op-ed sort of launched my secondary writing career in the world of HIV/AIDS. I began writing for various HIV focused publications and that led to more speaking opportunities.
My goal now is to always be open and transparent about my HIV status and show the world that HIV doesn’t necessarily define who you are. It took me years to get to where I am today. I first had to remove my own internal shame and stigma before I could ask the world to stop stigmatizing me.
There are so many factors that go into Duran choosing favorite places he’s been to, and he often struggles when asked to name one because there are so many, he narrowed it down to five.” I’ll start with the entire country of Canada. A couple of years ago, I had this moment of realization about our neighbors up north, and since then, I haven’t been able to stop traveling to Canada. I’ve been to every province and territory and have explored the country by car, train, plane and expedition ship. It’s a fascinating and beautiful country.
The state of Hawaii would be another place I’m a bit obsessed with. I think my count is nearing 30 visits in the past 5 years. I just really resonate with the aloha life and can’t get enough of the warmness of the locals.
Argentina is another of my favorites. It’s one of those countries that is mostly known for one major city, although the country has so much more to offer. Plus, the wine is my absolute vice when visiting. Further south from Argentina, I’d say Antarctica is one of my favorite places. Besides the incredible wildlife, there’s just something really incredible about the silence, it’s very grounding and puts life into perspective. I’ve only been once but I’m excited to return again this fall. I’m going to cheat for my last one and name a region.
The Middle East as a whole is one of my favorite places to visit because each time I’m there, I feel as if I’m in a different world. Things are just so different there, and there’s always that underlying level of fear that honestly excites me. And not every place in the Middle East is dangerous. Oman is one of the friendliest countries I’ve visited.
Duran was a contributor to the recent travel book published by Mr Hudson Explores, “they are articles for the discerning gay man. I’ve been writing for them since their inception. The stunning hardback book was just released worldwide on June 26th. It was published by famed international design publisher gestalten.
The meticulously crafted book curates 20 international urban destinations for gays, but not necessarily gay destinations.
The book’s guiding principle is that many queer travelers are discerning voyagers who like to explore in style. The exceptional experiences cut across culture and art, traditional and up-and-coming food places, boutique shopping, hotels, music, and nightlife. The book’s 300 vibrant pages are filled with the beautiful, authentic, and diverse places gay travelers seek out, often ahead of the crowds. I personally wrote three of the guides which include New York City, Tel Aviv, and Vancouver. This is not your typical travel guide and you should buy it if you are the type of traveler (gay, straight or however you identify) who enjoys seeing a city differently. It also will look gorgeous on your coffee table.