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ASU alums document LGBTQ-friendly travel through an online blog

The married couple has visited more than 50 countries together

gay couple.jpeg

Auston Matta and David Brown pose for a photo in Ibiza, Spain, in 2015. 

When David Brown and Auston Matta started dating after meeting at an ASU fraternity in 2005, they had no idea they would travel to more than 50 countries together. 

But now more than a decade later, they document their globetrotting in a blog and YouTube channel named Two Bad Tourists to share their experiences in as a married gay couple in LGBTQ-friendly cities.

Brown said the couple takes the more non-traditional route when it comes to traveling and oftentimes strays away from doing the most touristy things.

“We want to meet people and see how locals live," Brown said. "We encourage our readers to travel the way they want to travel. There is no right way to travel.”

Brown and Matta met at LGBTQ fraternity Sigma Phi Beta in 2005 while studying biomedical engineering and clinical laboratory science at ASU, respectively. 

They said their families were accepting of their relationship and the two eventually got married in 2010, moving to Chicago after Matta’s job offered him a position there. 

Missing the warm weather of their native Arizona, they considered relocating to San Diego in order to be closer to their families. Instead, they decided to quit their jobs and travel, Brown said. 

Matta’s mother, Nancy Stearman, said she supported her son when he came out as gay and is glad that he has taken the opportunity to travel and make something from it. 

"It breaks my heart that he is not here, but I am proud of him.” Stearman said. “I feel like he's a trailblazer, trying to make the world better for other people who might be afraid to come out. He's taught me to be accepting of everyone regardless of their situations or anything else.”

Matta said both he and Brown each saved around $15,000 during the course of three years for a year-long trip to 35 countries, including places like Germany, France and more. This spurred the idea to start a blog and keep a record for themselves as well as for their families and friends. 

On the blog, they publish travel guides with information such as housing, nightlife and parades geared toward the LGBTQ population. 

Brown said what defines a "gay-friendly city" is whether it has gay neighborhoods, how accepting it is to gay tourists and if it has LGBTQ establishments, like bars and stores. 

After seeing that Madrid, Spain is one of the most gay-friendly cities around the world, the couple decided to put down roots there, with more than 50 other countries under their belts.

Matta focuses on photography and writing for the blog while Brown is in charge of the marketing and analytics. 

They said they put in several hours a week on the site, uploading content and interacting with followers on popular social media sites like Instagram and Twitter, where they have more than 30,000 followers. 

Most of their blog's income comes from advertisements and affiliate links, which means that if the readers buy certain products advertised on the site, the couple earns commission. In addition, they are also sell advertising services like sponsored articles, display advertising and email campaigns.

As for their future plans, Brown and Matta plan to stay in Spain for the next few years and continue traveling in the future. They also expect to have children and start their own family.

"If you have something you're passionate about, whether it's travel or something else that seems like it's a big risk or challenge, just set a goal and do it, and don't worry about what other people think or what they're telling you,” Matta said.

Reach the reporter at or follow @afalero18 on Twitter.

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