Moonshine, Money, and Memories – 3 Days in Portugal!

Hello Beautiful People!

Today I published my ‘Being Gay in Spain & Portugal’ vlog; but there was a lot said that got edited out, and I wanted to provide a space for some juicy bits of information that often get left out of an artsy, sensationalised travel vlog. IMG_20180713_192659_473

Like how much did this YouTuber actually pay to get there? How can they afford to travel like this? Bunch of rich twats showing off their money on camera! Haha I know I have these sentiments watching other YouTubers online and feeling, admittedly, a tad resentful sometimes that they can travel so much and I so rarely can.

But there’s more than just money – sometimes I just want to live in the moment, and little stories and experiences don’t make it onto camera.

Like when my friend Theo’s Grandpa suggested we ask for a shot of Medronhos, a strawberry Portuguese moonshine. The bartender herself warned us about taking them and said we had to make sure we downed it all in one. She warned us each individually, but we went ahead – and sure enough we were tipsy off a single shot, which resulted in this iconic photo!IMG_20180714_180537_251

It’s memories like these that are fun, and worth mentioning, but are also cheapened by being captured on camera. Like was it genuine? Or just for views?

I like to live my life in the now, which often gets in the way of vlogging good content. So I find the middle ground. I’ll make a video, create something I find aesthetically pleasing and adventurous, and write about the rest!

So lets move on to the money bit. I purchased my tickets on the Monday night the week of my departure, and I left on Thursday – so because I didn’t buy the tickets in advance, the fee was way up. Fortunately I travelled on smaller airlines to smaller airports, however, which saved money. I flew from Cardiff Airport to Faro Airport for £172 round trip – which isn’t bad considering the last minute planning!

I bought the trip on PayPal credit (not sponsored) where, on purchases of £150 or more, you get 4 months of interest free credit, which is pretty cool! I don’t have a lot of money right now due to the irregular nature of my work, so it made a big difference for me.

The cool thing about Portugal, and frankly all of mainland Europe, is that prices are much lower in general – so the biggest concern you really have is the flight and accommodation. Luckily I was able to stay with friends, so I didn’t have to worry about accommodation – and train trips in Portugal are on average FOUR EUROS!!!! How crazy is that? Train trips easily surpass £100 in the UK. Not to mention food and alcohol is generally much cheaper as well, depending on where you go.

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In the end I spent, in complete totality, £223.21 including flights! So that was £51 not including flights, which is pretty crazy cheap all things considered. Some of the meals were provided by our hosts, as well, which goes into it. But the moral of the story is that if you have friends around the world, travelling becomes infinitely more affordable! And I couldn’t recommend it more!

So 3 days isn’t a long time to spend in a foreign country on holiday, but I definitely feel we made the most of the trip. I came a little earlier than my friends, so my first day I explored the beaches of Faro, Portugal. Then the second day we went off to Ayamonte, Spain, which is right on the border between Spain and Portugal. Now even though this was only a 20 minute drive, crossing the border jumped us forward an hour – and after exploring the city we realised how hungry we were. Unfortunately for us, the Spanish had just hit siesta – and try as we might not a single place would sell us food!

So in the end, we had to travel all the way back to Portugal just to get a meal. Luckily it was just a hop over a ferry back across the border, and we found some great traditional paellas! We then headed back to where we were staying and went for a cool swim before adventuring on our moonshine experience!

37346149_1769565636426108_6716356994334195712_nThe following day we spent at a secluded beach with an old fort erected to repel pirates and invaders. It was a truly magical experience – although we went the wrong way at one point and ended up walking for two hours along occasionally rough terrain in the beating down sun on our way to Cabana; which has resulted in some very bizarre patches of tan! But it was an adventure, and worth every minute! We even found this super cool boat!

Then, sadly, the trip was over as soon as it started; but it was a truly spectacular trip and I’m already itching to go back to Spain and Portugal one day!

Thanks for following me on this little adventure, and if you haven’t yet, watch the video here!

If you have any questions, why not leave them in the comments? And subscribe to this blog to get notified whenever I make a new post!

Yours Truly,

Bradley Birkholz

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Why Do I Talk About Sex On the Internet?

I sometimes get asked or confronted about my desire to, albeit very occasionally, discuss sex on a public format, be that my channel or LGBT+ media.

Is it for views? A fetish of mine? Some debaucherous attempt at dismantling the purity in this world?

Family, especially, are concerned that discussing such topics publicly could affect potential career prospects, and even my reputation in general – but I do have my reasons, and none of them are because of the above assumptions.

Some deem such activity clearly a dig for views and attention – and I won’t deny that my sex related discussions have been some of my more popular online content. But when I look at what I want to make in terms of content on YouTube, I don’t actually tend to look at what’s trending or what is the most queried on the platform (although I probably should). If I did much of my content would probably be shallow reactions to famous pop artists’ music videos.

IMG_0361.pngGay sex is actually an old topic on YouTube – I’m not the first to address it, nor is it a trending subject matter. The platform is now filled with LGBT+ creators, and quite a few explicit bedroom topics relating to our community have already been covered in some way or another. So I look at what hasn’t been covered, and specifically what insights I can bring to a conversation that either isn’t being had, or is a conversation that I can contribute something fresh to.

Personal story is a great example of that. Lots of people have given their coming out stories, for instance, but there’s still room for lots more; because every person’s story is their own, and when we share our life on the internet we can, potentially, help connect and inspire those with journey’s similar to our own – or simply those who want to empathise with another’s shoes.

When it comes to gay sex, although it has been covered extensively online, there’s still a lot of gaps that are missing in the discussion – and when I explore the world of gay sex education online (and by that I don’t mean porn), I don’t see my views or perspective represented.

I see a community that only considers certain types of male-on-male interaction to be sex, and that defines virginity wildly different from my own definition. A world of tops and bottoms; a world of limited perspectives on a vast and complex sexuality. And that is why I feel the need to interject with my own voice and contribute to the conversation.

As it happens I actually often lose audience over my videos and posts on the topic, because many find it offensive – but I’ll continue to address matters I want to address in as intellectual and open a matter as I can.

It is my sincere belief that dismantling taboos surrounding sex discussions can only benefit society – as we advocate for safer sex, diminish STD’s, and create a freer and happier culture: in and out of the bedroom.

And if you’re reading this and you don’t care for my sex education, please stick around for the majority of my content that isn’t! Or, on the flip side, if you love my sex education, please let me know if there’s any topics I have yet to cover that you’d love to see on the channel!

And finally, [explicit warning], here’s my latest sex education video, which you can watch now on my channel!

 

Love,

Bradley

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So You Call Yourself A YouTuber?

Hello Beautiful People!

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I never really thought twice about saying I was a YouTuber. But then, one day, someone, rather spontaneously confessed that they thought me a shallow individual, purely on the basis of that label. If I said I was a YouTuber, I must then also be a shallow fame-seeking money desperate beauty boy obsessed with follower counts.

This moment simultaneously distanced me from my judgemental ‘friend’ and also made me take a step back and look at myself and how others perceived me. Was I some shallow fame-seeking follower count obsessed catty social media person? And if I was, did that make me a bad person? After all, some creators are happy to admit that they do it for the money or the fame – and I certainly don’t judge them for it, just as I try not to judge anyone. But all judgements and morality aside, I was nothing short of horrified to discover people, even those who knew me well, had such a perception of me the moment the self declared title left my lips.

I’ve gotten more insecure about how people perceive me as I’ve gotten older – and I’m sure social media has played a role in that – but I’ve never thought twice about using YouTuber as a part of my identity. To me, that word represents a million different things. What is a YouTuber? A baker, a make-up artist, a performer, a reviewer, a writer, a reader, a presenter… And much much more. To me, that label tells people “I make videos online” and nothing more; but it invites them to step into a carefully curated world where my art, personality, passion, and politics are on a 1700 subscriber display, ready to rock the world.

So why is my image attached to the label YouTuber so vastly different from those around me?

I have to think of how people react when they hear that I’m a YouTuber. Usually it’s a mixture of awe and curiousity. The assumption is that if I say I’m a YouTuber, I must be crazy successful with hundreds of thousands of online followers; a hidden celebrity they’re only just discovering. They want to know what sort of content I make, most certainly, but the questions very quickly move on to numbers. They want to know if I’m worth something to them. Are they actually speaking to a celebrity right then and there? Can I do something for them? Am I worth getting a photograph with?

And the answer, of course, is no, to all of those; because the moment the number slips from my lips the conversation changes. All of a sudden I’m less interesting. And perhaps there-in lies the opportunity for me to also be shallow and fame-seeking. Because if I was indeed a celebrity I wouldn’t very well be seeking fame, would I? But as a smaller creator, my ambitions are perceived as just that. Shallow fame-seeking social media whoring.

I can’t help that perception really. If people want to see me that way, they can. Labels will always have varied associations by those who hear them and those who use them; and that’s the reality we all face by taking a word and attaching it to our identity.

But this isn’t to complain about that perception, but rather to reflect on it. You see, contrary to popular belief, I actually have no desire to be famous or wealthy. Successful, perhaps, but not the former two.

My close friend once told me: “Bradley, the way I see it, there’s only two things in this world that are important to you: Facilitating change in the world, and connecting with people while doing it.”

I have never before heard two things that more accurately sum up my desire to be on YouTube and the joy that I get from creating videos. Not only do I get to facilitate some small amount of change in the world around me, by sharing my voice and advocating for others, but I also get to connect with others like me all over the world and collect stories and inspiration. Of course I would like to be able to do what I love for a living, but that doesn’t necessitate fame and fortune, nor is that the goal.

I’ve also been told that I’m far too defensive online and offline, and I know this about myself, so I want to finish by saying that I’m not writing this to defend myself or my image. I’m also not writing it as some ego-boosting declaration of self-righteousness, but rather because, like all things I do online, it’s a conversation I don’t see being had often online, and it’s a conversation I wanted to have.

So now I pass it on to you: What do you think of when you hear the term ‘YouTuber’? Is it a positive or negative reaction? Leave your thoughts in the comments, and thank you so much for reading!

If you’re interested, check out my last video where I transform a shallow YouTube tag into something more positivegay youtubers smash or pass thumbnail

Yours Truly,

Bradley Birkholz

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I Love My Trump-Voting Republicans

IMG_3280I’m a millennial gay liberal drag queen immigrant, and a proud member of the much hated ‘snowflake’ generation that the conservative right love to belittle. Most of those within similar circles to me are very quick and happy to label Trump, his followers, and all conservative individuals in general as the enemy – a group of people without morals or humanity.

But I’ve lived with them – and this last month specifically I spent several weeks with some of the most lovely people I’ve ever met. The only thing is, they’re pro-life Trump voting gay hating Republicans. Or at least I imagine they’re not approving of ‘the gay lifestyle’ but they certainly didn’t bring such matters up with me. The fact that I have to even infer whether or not they approve of who I am as an individual can be seen as a negative, or it can be seen as a beautiful elision of identity and party politics where two individuals stop being defined by their labels and are suddenly defined, rather, by their humanity.

Now I often hear the argument that, ‘I’m not going to care about people who don’t care about others’ – a somewhat ironic statement. Republicans are infamous, it’s true, for the ‘everyone for himself’ philosophies that promote some forms of life but not others, and there was a time when I too felt that anyone associated with a man like Trump was my biggest enemy. When I wrote my popular article for the Tab I said that ‘Anyone who didn’t vote for Hillary (in the 2016 election) doesn’t want me to return home to America.’ But since this time I’ve come to understand that not everyone who voted for Trump approves of who he is as a person or his policies. And as hard as it is for me to understand, many saw their vote for Trump as a vote to save lives rather than destroy them.

It’s always hard to understand the viewpoint and perspective of people opposed to you, especially when your identity and well-being are on the line, held in the hands of voters who disagree with you. But when we stop seeking to understand those who disagree with us, we stop seeing our opponents as human. They become just ‘opponents.’ ‘Brainwashed sheep.’ ‘Monsters,’ even. And that’s where the gap between Democrat and Republican, liberal and Conservative, grows deeper and wider by the day.

A respected journalist once told me that, ‘Bradley, for the rest of your life, you’re going to carry with you an audience who follow you just because they hate you and disagree with you.’ I think in today’s world, we love having people to hate and disagree with. It gives us purpose. Something to fight. But you can have something to fight without someone to fight. There are ways to advocate for your beliefs and agendas without attacking the humanity of those out there just as convicted as you with their own beliefs and agendas.

We are all fundamentally human. We want to live and love. And I’m not saying that everyone deserves your kindness and understanding, because there are certainly some people, like Trump himself, who in my opinion do not – and there are others in the world which truly are monsters. But to automatically isolate everyone who disagrees with you from your life, you are simply contributing to the endless division of identity and belief that wracks our world. Bubbles of people who exclusively agree with everything you say and believe can feel good, but it can also be dangerous.

I hate everything about Trump and his policies. But I love a heck of a lot of people who voted for him. And that will never change. So I encourage everyone to see beyond party politics and always try to understand the perspectives of those who disagree with you, no matter how challenging it can be. I’m not saying people were justified in voting for Trump, but I am saying that their humanity and whether they’re deserving of respect isn’t over ridden by their political beliefs.

And I know that we need to maintain our mental health, and there are some who truly do wish to destroy others, especially those of us in minority sexualities, genders, and races. But I want to end by reiterating the title of this post – I love my Trump-voting republicans. And love is, truly, what this world needs more of right now. Thank you for reading!

Saying Sorry is a Skill I Won’t Apologise For

It’s no secret that the British are chronic over apologisers — but that’s not actually what this blog post is about. It’s not about culture, but rather pride, humility, and being able to recognise one’s own mistakes.

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Someone once tried to insult me, saying “Bradley, it sure seems like you have to apologise a lot.” I was actually apologising at the time, and their words struck at me as if to discount the sincerity of my sentiment. As if every time you say sorry the word loses more meaning.

The thing was, I didn’t take it as an insult. Saying sorry is a skill I won’t apologise for. It occurred to me then that not everyone has this skill. Not everyone can look within themselves and say: “You know what — I messed up this time, no ins and outs about it, and I need to say sorry for that. Maybe I said the wrong thing, or did the wrong thing, and it hurt someone’s feelings. It’s time to rectify that.”

Saying sorry is humility just as the unwillingness to do so is pride. I, for one, will not harness pride as an inappropriate excuse for an inability to recognise errors in judgement, and an inability to express remorse for those errors. Rather I will take pride in my ability to recognise when I have erred and do everything I can to express my desire to rectify words and actions that may have caused harm.

At the end of the day, we are only human – and I’ve come to realise that those who can put their pride away, to apologise, have a certain strength that many lack. And I’m not saying that I’m strong, but rather that I’m grateful that I possess this skill, and I’m grateful that this skill has helped me navigate the complexity of human emotion and experience. With this skill I pursue love in all that I do – and where I fall short of spreading love and peace through my words and actions, I know just how to rectify it.

But I’ll pass this on to you. Is saying sorry a skill or a detriment?

An End to an Episode

22045906_631783297209718_1476909031104575656_nI’ve been a wix.com website owner for years now, and I loved fidgeting with their many features and gadgets – but the time has come for a more professional front to my creative online presence, and unfortunately wix.com just isn’t that (not to mention they’re expensive, and I could only afford the free version).

It’s somewhat sad saying goodbye to my old blog, and I have decided not to import my old posts into my new blog – but it’s also exciting because I get to create all new content on a new platform, and my old blog was terribly outdated! Quite possibly the most exciting thing of all is finally getting to use bradleybirkholz.com, and saying goodbye to wix.com/bradleylecrivain/wix! However if you ever want to check out my old blog, all the posts are still there (see previous link), I just won’t be updating it any longer, and the rest of the website is gone. I hope you guys are as excited as me to start this new journey. Be sure to subscribe for new posts!