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Note: All travel is subject to frequently-changing governmental restrictions—please check federal, state, and local advisories before scheduling trips.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and while current travel restrictions may hinder an escape to some far off paradise, Orbitz still wants to provide you with a stunning mountain, beach or poolside view—a rear view, that is. To that um, end, we’re changing our name to Orbuttz this February 14 and partnering with the popular travel Instagrammer known as The Travelin Bum to take us on a virtual tour of the world that’s a bit cheeky (pun intended)​. But before heading over to our IG feed for the goods, here is The Travelin Bum founder Jeff Perla on why he’s making the world a more inclusive place, one gorgeous set of cakes at a time!

RELATED: Visit our LGBTQIA travel hub for welcoming hotels, the ultimate queer events calendar, inspiration, and more!

So Jeff, how did this all start and why bums?

My first butt photo went up in the fall of 2016. I wanted to remain anonymous because I was looking for my first real job out of grad school. I became infatuated by social media and wanted to create a feed showcasing all the places I’ve traveled. And I made it a tradition to take a butt photo whenever I traveled somewhere scenic. I did that for a good 6 months before I even realized I could expand this to other men around the world. Who doesn’t like a nice butt?

Is The Travelin Bum about LGBTQIA empowerment specifically or just body empowerment?

My initial mission was to be the gay version of Humans of New York. I was always captivated by their stories and as someone who came out around 2016, thought it would be a good outlet for me to learn how other people came out. As time evolved, more and more stories were shared. I started sharing deeper issues that individuals have faced within the community like being ghosted by a guy or someone telling you he isn’t sexually attracted to you because of your race. My current goal is to create a platform that showcases all body types and ethnicities so people can look at The Travelin Bum and find someone who looks like them.

Why are all the photos featured in nature?

I want to be viewed as [both] art and a travel page. People have sent me photos of them downloading my pictures and framing them in their home. The Travelin Bum will never be one of those accounts that features hot men laying naked in bed just looking for followers.

When did the Travelin Bum’s really take off?

My first “blow up” occurred in 2017 when Elite Daily did an interview with me. I had around 10K followers or something at the time, and they wanted to feature the guy behind the account. Remember I was still anonymous, so I was scared to showcase my identity. I spoke to my mom about the opportunity and she said later on I would look back on my life and regret not doing it. I ended up getting 15K more followers over the course of that week and a lot more press. 

What’s it like having the world look at your bum?

If you can visually catch someone’s eye on social media, they will listen to what you are saying. So I enjoy being able to vocalize my opinions and feel as though the world hears what I’m saying. On the other side of things, I have been in public and men immediately assume they can touch me because they have seen my butt on social media. So you take the good with the bad, I guess, haha.

Tell us why you’re excited to partner with Orbuttz, um Orbitz.

I love the idea around Orbuttz. Travel has been fairly non-existent for the past year and what better way to bring people together than to showcase a takeover of an array of people in the LGBTQ community celebrating Valentine’s Day safely from their current cities? Also, I think a lot of companies only reach out to LGBTQ accounts during Pride month because they care how their brand looks and want to look inclusive. Orbitz isn’t one of those companies. They celebrate the LGBTQ community all year round and understand that everyone has a story that deserves to be shared. My goal of this partnership is to bring people together no matter what city you may live in. I know we have all gone through a lot this year and Valentine’s Day can be one of those days that catches us in our feelings. So I hope this brings a smile to people’s faces. 

What have follower reactions been like?

I have some of the most supportive followers in the world. Whether you are a celebrity or a young kid in college, we can all find common ground on The Travelin Bum. People have told me it’s helped them come out. They’ve said it’s helped them feel better about themselves knowing someone has gone through what they’ve gone through. Just the other day I received a message that said, “thank you for tagging me in your story,” because then a man messaged him, they went on a few dates, fast forward to today they just got married on January 17th! 

Wow! Is that the most moving story a follower has ever shared?

One of the most moving stories that I will always remember, which to be honest gave me the real direction for The Travelin Bum, was in 2017. A guy messaged me this black and white butt photo [of him] walking down the road and the caption was all about how he came out. He was in his 40s, married to a woman with children, and he shared how heartbreaking it was for him to tell his family he was gay. It shows that no matter what age you are, it can be a struggle for anyone to come out. 

 

All photos courtesy of Jeff Perla

Tagged: Feature

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Orbitz Travel Blog Editors

Orbitz Travel Blog Editors

We're the editors of this travel blog, brought to you by Orbitz!

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