It's easy for us to stick with the familiar. It's easy for us to be comfortable with the things we like. It's sometimes harder for us to step outside of the box, meet new people and experience things we wouldn't otherwise experience.
That's one of the things that I love about being on the road. It means meeting new people, learning about new ideas and participating in activities I wouldn't normally do. The past two weeks on the road have brought me back to friends I met in just this way.
A couple years ago I was approached to perform at Gay Sprit Camp at Easton Mountain in Greenwich, N.Y. Now, folks had been telling me that I should play at Easton Mountain for years, but I was skeptical. Contrary to popular belief, I'm a little shy and timid. I'm sure they describe what they are much more eloquently on the website, but if I were to sum it up in one sentence I'd say clothing-optional, gay men's spiritual retreat center. That's a lot to digest. But once I got there I fell in love with it. The scenery, the vibe, the workshops, the massive sauna -- most importantly, the people.
Northeast of Albany, Easton Mountain draws its clientele mostly from Boston and New York, although you will meet folks from as far away as Florida and California.
The thing that makes Easton Mountain so special is not that you get to run around in the woods naked (although that is definitely a draw), but that people are yearning to have conversations about something other than politics. Religion, spirituality, sexuality, philosophy, and the paranormal, these conversations run the gambit. I've spent days sliding down a huge, inflatable Slip 'n Slide, nights talking about Native American shamanism during a multi-hour sauna session, and even later nights discussing sensory-deprivation chambers while soaking in the hot tub. Those aren't even the workshops! If you're sick of the same old party conversations in your best friend's loft, then Easton Mountain might just be for you.
Now, full disclosure, this next event, I have not yet been to. However, for the past couple years I keep running into folks while I travel who tell me I need to visit Between The Worlds in southeastern Ohio. Like Easton Mountain, the folks at Between The Worlds seem proud of their ability to create a spiritual retreat, but one that more specifically caters to the queer pagan community. I am booked to perform this year and I'm eagerly anticipating more mind-expansive conversations and growing friendships.
The thing that's most impressive about these folks and their events is the community they create. Both these places put you into a space that allows you to share deeper, love harder, and more fully understand who you are as a gay man. They are definitely worth the trek off the beaten path.
Where to eat: Whatever they serve you at Easton Mountain, it's all tasty. But when you hit Ohio, know you've got to make a couple sweet stops. Jeni's Ice Cream in Columbus is amazing, with its gourmet flavors. But then head south to Cincy and hit up Graeter's for traditional home-style ice cream. That is, if your house made the most amazing ice cream ever! But don't make me choose one -- it's impossible.
Tom Goss is a singer, songwriter and activist who lives in Washington, D.C. His songs and videos continue to capture the hearts and minds of the LGBT community here and abroad. Tom is currently on a 10-week, 50-city national tour in support of his new album, Lost Songs and Underdogs. You can check out his music at tomgossmusic.com.
Get Elsewhere in your inbox. Join our mailing list.