Unlike many gay excursions the emphasis here is on rejuvenation and restoration through activities including meditation, yoga, group discussions, snorkelling / diving, walking, experiencing nature, learning about local culture and bonding with your fellow travellers.
Thailand, Bali, Cuba, Europe and America are some of the locations on offer.
An opportunity to experience far off places with a group of diverse and mindful fellow gay travellers.
Great Gay Getaways are designed to give you space to do your own thing as well as join in group options to explore restaurants, beaches, local life, yoga, meditation, walks, culture, nightlife, nature, creativity, holistic therapies, adventure and connection.
It’s hard to imagine being all alone halfway up a mountainside or deep in a valley, but thats exactly where Daniel Havlicek has been for a whole month now trekking 1,000 km to raise money for The Quest.
Part of me is frightened by the prospect and part of me is jealous – how Daniel will emerge from this adventure is unknown but one thing is for sure: it will transform something within him.
This New Year I want to thank everyone who has had any contact with The Quest. Participants, their families, friends, partners and husbands. Thank you because you make up a body of people that have collectively helped shape my life over the last few years.
The work we have undertaken together has changed my understanding, my emotional connection and my sense of purpose when it comes to relationships and Gay men.
I had no idea at the outset how much lay below the surface of my life and of those I came into contact with, but together this has evolved into a rich and eye opening experience. I see things so differently now and as a consequence I have more compassion, empathy and patience. Continue Reading →
We are getting ready to facilitate our final The Quest Program of 2016. It will be the 31st one, with around 500 guys who have now dared to embark on the Program. Those numbers exclude the thematic workshops, retreats and socials that we have hosted over the years. When we include those numbers, we’ve had over 1,500 guys who have interacted with The Quest in some shape or form.
When Darren and myself ran our first offering for Gay Men in the Summer of 2011, at the now closed Barcode, under the arches in Vauxhall, I had no idea that we would still be as passionate in creating a space for Gay Men to come together and untangle the emotional and psychological stuff that can often get in the way of living a life in alignment with our values and/or intentions. Continue Reading →
Curious minds come together to explore the personal implications of the new book “Straight Jacket – How to be Gay and Happy” by Matthew Todd.
Written by Matthew Todd, editor of Attitude, the UK’s best- selling gay magazine, Straight Jacket is a revolutionary clarion call for gay men, the wider LGBT community, their friends and family. Part memoir, part ground-breaking polemic, it looks beneath the shiny facade of contemporary gay culture and asks if gay people are as happy as they could be – and if not, why not?
Meticulously researched, courageous and life-affirming, Straight Jacket offers invaluable practical advice on how to overcome a range of difficult issues. It also recognises that this is a watershed moment, a piercing wake-up-call-to-arms for the gay and wider community to acknowledge the importance of supporting all young people – and helping older people to transform their experience and finally get the lives they really want.
Ade: I think a good place to start our conversation would be on the title of your book “Gay Men and the New Way Forward”, how did you come up with it?
Raymond: I wrestled with the title and had about 6 different working titles throughout the whole process. It was at the end of writing the book when this phrase “the new way forward” appeared. It struck me as the essence and the core of what we’re really about, which is – introducing new ways of being in the world.
Also, at a time when we’re so out of balance because of patriarchy, with the masculine running amok and the feminine devalued. This idea of a “new way forward” is one that integrates balance of masculine and feminine, human activity and nature, and individual rights and group responsibility. It really struck me as very core to the essence of gay men – what we’re really doing, without even conscious awareness; by coming out and by living openly. We can lead humanity through the new way forward when we become aware of our capacities, what we’re currently doing, and then using those skills purposefully. Continue Reading →
I was talking to someone recently about the work of The Quest. I had mentioned ‘shame’ as part of my response to a question he’d asked. “I do not feel ashamed about being gay”, he said very firmly, before I could finish my sentence.
It’s a response I’ve heard from a few people when I have mentioned “Shame” and “Gay” in the same sentence. In this particular conversation, I responded by mentioning the work of Dr Brené Brown, who defines shame as “the fear of disconnection”. I explained that, according to Brené, the majority of the population feels shame, which can be triggered for a variety of reasons because, as she and many others have said, “we are wired for connection”. Brené goes on to say that “when we stop caring about what people think, we lose our capacity for connection.” He was not buying it and the conversation soon moved onto other topics. As I left that evening, I found myself replaying the dialogue over and over. The word ‘ashamed’ had struck a cord and I could not get it out of my mind. Continue Reading →
The Quest Co-founder, Darren Brady talks to Paul Cons (CEO of Konditor & Cook) about his recent participation on The Quest Programme and the reason his company is supporting our Social Enterprise
Darren: Paul, I was so delighted when you recently became involved with The Quest. Could you explain more on how that came about?
Paul: I guess you told me about it a couple of years ago and I was interested, but also very involved in my own personal development work and possibly a bit nervous about trying something else out. However it planted a seed. So when you announced you were doing The Daring Way™ Program with Brené Brown, I was impressed by her TED talk, and again whilst a bit nervous at first, decided to take the plunge. It was an amazing weekend, and after that doing The Quest Programme seemed like a no brainer! Continue Reading →
Ian McCurrach talks to Nirmal Sandhu about being Gay, British and Asian
In what specific ways is it difficult being a gay BME around the issues of sexuality in your experience? I’m thinking family, culture, friends and peers.
Family: Being gay feels at odds with a sense of responsibility that I used to feel about carrying on my family’s name. I am the eldest child and had a sister who died 16 years ago and so I felt a real pressure to marry and to carry forward the family name. I am from a Sikh background and there is a great emphasis placed on the role of the traditional family and your role within a community and actively participating in the community rather than acting on individual preferences. The dominant feeling is that being gay is dissolute and runs counter to these values because it doesn’t take into account the benefit of the community as a whole. I remember being called out on my choice of living away from my parents, and taking ownership for the way I want to live my life at a religious blessing by my parents local priest. Continue Reading →
Ade Adeniji (Co-Founder of The Quest) speaks to Jeremy about being black and gay, online dating, relationships, being an outsider, and much much more.
Jeremy Helligar is a journalist, author, pop culturist and world traveler from New York City, where he spent 15 years working as a writer and editor for People, Teen People, Us Weekly and Entertainment Weekly. In 2006, he moved to Buenos Aires, where he learned Spanish and launched his own blog, Theme for Great Cities, a travelogue, memoir, entertainment bible and Sex and the City rolled into one. He followed four and a half years in BA and two and a half years based back and forth between Melbourne and Bangkok with one month in Berlin, one month in Rome, and one month in Tel Aviv, before landing in Cape Town. Jeremy currently resides in Sydney, Australia. He is the author of “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?: Tales of Love, Lust and Language Barriers on the Other Side of the World“.
Ade: I first came across your work on The Huffington Post and when I then started reading your book (Is it true what they say about Black Men) I immediately felt this urge to have a conversation with you, because right from the beginning you talk about being black and being gay. What was your inspiration for writing the book?
Jeremy: It’s funny because it happened in spurts. I didn’t set out to write the book. I have a blog called “Theme for Great Cities.” I’ve been maintaining that for about six and a half years now. And it just started off as me wanting to share my thoughts with the one or two people who I figured would end up reading it. Over time friends and strangers who ended up reading the blog kept telling me ‘you really ought to write a book. Because you have all of these experiences, you’ve traveled to so many interesting places, you’ve met so many different people, you should write a book’. And after a while I started saying maybe they are on to something, maybe I should write a book.
And the title, well…. a lot of times I talk to different writers and they have a lot of trouble coming up with a title because they want something that encapsulates the theme of the book. For me I don’t think that the title “Is It True What They Say About Black Men?” necessarily encapsulates the theme of the book, but it’s definitely the theme of my life since I left the United States. As I’ve said so many times before, it’s the one question that I’ve heard in every country, on every continent, in different languages. With the book title, I wanted to take ownership of it and have a little bit of fun with it. Continue Reading →
We are conscious that this time of year is often a time of reflection and anticipation. We therefore felt it would be a lovely idea to once again kick start the new year with a blog post featuring some of the gay men who have journeyed with The Quest.
We hope that by sharing their responses we can highlight that we all connected and ‘hardwired for connection’; even though our journeys might often take us on different paths and look very different on the surface.
We asked the men to complete the four statements below:
Robert Weiss LCSW, CSAT-S is Senior Vice President of Clinical Development with Elements Behavioral Health. He is author of Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men and Sex Addiction 101: A Basic Guide to Healing from Sex, Porn, and Love Addiction. An author and subject expert on the relationship between digital technology and human sexuality, Mr. Weiss has served as a media specialist for CNN, The Oprah Winfrey Network, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Today Show, among many others.
Ade Adeniji (Co-Founder of The Quest) sat down with Rob during his recent visit to London to talk about Addiction, Drugs, Intersection of Race and Sexuality, Gay Culture and much much more.
Ade Adeniji: Having read your book [Cruise Control: Understanding Sex Addiction in Gay Men], one of the things that struck me is that I meet a number of gay men who have many of the signs of sex addiction that you identify in your book, and yet, they don’t use the word ‘addict’. Do you come across that in your work?
Rob Weiss: I think it’s very individual, but there’s also a lot of denial. If you look at the back of “Cruise Control”, there’s a little section about why I wrote the book. What it says is that I was at an HIV conference in the 90s and I was sitting backstage with a bunch of therapists, who were gay men. They were complaining about how they could not talk about the problems within the gay community – such as domestic violence, drug and alcohol problems, and sexual acting out – because there’s this thought that when you have an oppressed minority, and if you’re among that minority, that you don’t want to say what your own issues are.
It’s like being in an unhealthy family where no one talks about the problem. Because if, as gay men, we say we have sexual problems, then the larger culture says, “See, we knew that. We knew those people were all sick, and all sick about sex,” so it just doesn’t get talked about. This was during the height of the HIV crisis. Continue Reading →
Ian McCurrach talks to Darren Brady (Co-Founder of The Quest and The Daring Way™ Certified Facilitator-Candidate) about The Daring Way™ workshop
Ian: Can you tell me what The Daring Way™ is all about?
Darren: The Daring Way™ is the way in which Brené Brown translated the findings of her research and the content of her book “Daring Greatly” into an experiential workshop.
The workshop explores what it takes to ‘Show up, Be seen and Live Brave’ in the world. The premise is that we can live our fullest life when we move beyond fear and shame and learn how to navigate the negative inner dialogue that keeps us small. The workshop develops our ability for self-compassion and empathy as we identify what brings us joy, passion and fulfillment. It is very much an examination of where we are today and where we want to get to tomorrow. It is interactive, creative, educational and pioneering. Similarly to The Quest, this workshop takes place over a Friday evening, Saturday and Sunday daytime. Continue Reading →
“The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.” – Maya Angelou
I was disowned for 10 years when my family found out about my sexuality. About 3 years ago, one of my brothers died and I reconnected with my family through the mourning period. Right now, I am at my dad’s house and frequently spend time with my family.
I remember having a conversation with my brother within which I asked him to explain why he had disowned me. Continue Reading →
We are conscious that this time of year is often a time of reflection and anticipation. We therefore felt it would be a lovely idea to kick start 2014 with a blog post featuring some of the gay men who have journeyed with The Quest. We hope that by sharing their responses we can highlight that we all connected and ‘wired for connection’; even though our journeys might often take us on different paths.
We asked the men to complete the four statements below:
Our intention for The Quest has always been to provide a platform that enables Gay Men to transform their lives; so that they can embrace Life from a place of authentic self-expression, compassion and fulfillment – this in turn helps facilitate a healthy and nurturing gay community.
2013 has been a beautiful year for The Quest and we have journeyed with many amazing gay men. Some of the highlights from 2013 included: Continue Reading →
I am from a sea-side town in Sicily. Christmas is one of the few times of the year when I get to come back and spend time with my family. There’s lots of noise, lots of bickering, lots of talking of who’s eating what and who’s driving who to the shops, lots of talk about nothing. My parents show affection by filling the fridge. Today for lunch it was savoury pastries, fries, aubergine lasagne, lentils pasta, chicken escalope and a slice of panettone. I have to remember to go back to the gym when I come back to London.
There is still so much I haven’t said to them, yet so much that I have allowed them to see of who I am. I love my parents, they provided for me, made sure my belly was always full and bought me toys and clothes and gave me pretty much everything I ever asked. We weren’t very good at talking about feelings, we brushed things under the carpet. When I was 8 years old I walked inside the bathroom to find my sister unconscious; she had tried to commit suicide. We never talked about it since. If we didn’t talk about it, it didn’t exist, it never happened. Continue Reading →
Today at 4.37pm Scott, aged 5, looked at a Christmas brochure and pointed to a doll set. It includes ‘realistic’ doll, clothes, hair accessories and a dressing table. His eyes lit up and he jabbed the picture shouting “me, me, me for Mistmas ”
It was 10.14 am when Jason, aged 12, spotted David in to school corridor. Heart beating, Jason approached and stuttered…”See you at morning break?”
Dwayne, aged 8 has made a Xmas card for his teacher Mr Brown. His pen hovers over the greeting he is writing inside. He hesitates before writing “love” in front of the “from Dwayne” Continue Reading →
Short documentary following Ade Adeniji, Co-Founder of The Quest and Paul Woodward, international theatre practitioner and academic, as they prepare for their two separate one-man storytelling performances, ‘Killing My Mother’ and ‘Fathers & Feathers.’
The performances were developed in collaboration with The Quest and premiered at The Pinter Theatre, in London, on 5 October 2013.
David, a previous participant of The Quest Workshops, recently performed on stage in the autobiographical storytelling piece ‘The Haunting’, here he reflects on his journey with the production.
When I first said I’d participate in The Haunting, I had no idea what it would open up, where it would lead and what I would confront during the process.
After my first meeting with our director Paul Woodward, the subject of my ‘haunting’ shifted and I saw that it was really about my relationship with sex and money. It was a surprising revelation at first and then I started to see how it wasn’t always about that directly, but more about having sex always be something ‘in exchange’ for something else.
I looked at the significant relationships in my life – and I saw how I was almost always the one supporting the other guy, financially or materially. Sometimes, it was really blatant – as with the straight guy who I met when I first moved to New York in 1975: I literally paid his rent, bought him a piano, moved him to L.A. with me – all with the unfulfilled ‘promise’ of sex that actually only happened 11 years later after he was married with children! And then, I asked myself ‘that’s all there was to it?’ Continue Reading →
There are two distinct and very different stories being told about the experience of being gay in the UK in 2013 and the difference in these stories could not be more stark.
On the one hand, we have the positives – the soon to be legal status of gay marriage, established civil partnerships, increased visibility in the press and media, an equal age of consent, mainstream support for positive role model and anti bullying work, cross-party support for gay equality, the effective treatment of HIV, governments globally legalising equality and gay marriage, increased openness about sexual identity from public figures and gay parenting becoming widespread. This picture has lead to some naturally optimistic assumptions that things are looking good and that being gay is no longer an issue for those lucky enough to live in a progressive United Kingdom. It is a picture and a set of assumptions we all so desperately want to believe. And it is a picture that is so at odds with all the data available that demonstrates so alarmingly the state of Gay mens’ mental health both in the UK and around the world. Continue Reading →
Ernesto Moreno, Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji recently sat down for an interview with Brené Brown to talk about her work as it relates to the lives of gay men. Here Ade shares his reflections on the journey to meeting Brené.
I remember being filled with such excitement and anticipation when in early April I discovered that Brené Brown was coming to London to give a talk at The School of Life. I immediately posted the details on Facebook, and notified a few of the guys who had journeyed with The Quest about the event. Since discovering Brené’s work via her TED talks, Darren and myself had often referred to her research in our work with gay men on the issue of shame, vulnerability and courage.
I got out my diary to put in the date and then noticed that I had another engagement on the same day, which I could not get out of – or could I? I was in the process of starting a monthly group coaching session in June, and our second session would clash with the Brené event. I debated whether to move the session, but everything was already in place and so I gradually settled to the possibility of the talk making its way to YouTube and seeing it there.
Few weeks later as Ernesto told me that he had his ticket for The School of Life event, I silently debated whether I could take my coaching group for an outing to see Brené, but by that stage the tickets were all gone. ‘Oh well, that’s that’ I thought! Continue Reading →
Ernesto Moreno, Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji recently sat down for an interview with Brené Brown to talk about her work as it relates to the lives of gay men. Here Darren shares his reflections on the journey to meeting Brené .
There are moments in life where reality meets a dream. The moment someone agrees to a date, we hold the keys of our new home in our hand, we look into the eyes of our new born child for the first time, we open the letter containing the results of our hard earned qualification. These moments can be large or small, outwardly major or seemingly insignificant but they contain a magic where suddenly what we imagined becomes possible, what we dreamed of emerges in front of our eyes. And so it was for me on the day we met Brene Brown.
A few days before we received confirmation that Brene would be able to meet us during her upcoming trip to the UK, a friend had sent me an Internet link to one of her famous Ted talks. Ade and I had just completed one of our foundation weekend workshopsand as I watched this talk I had the repeated realisation that almost everything she was saying was the same as what we were doing with the gay men who had just completed the workshop. It was as though her last 12 years of research was being plugged directly into what we were exploring within our workshop. Continue Reading →
Ernesto Moreno, Darren Brady and Ade Adeniji recently sat down for an interview with Brené Brown to talk about her work as it relates to the lives of gay men. Here Ernesto shares his reflections on the journey to meeting Brené .
Since I was a young teenager, I have been reading lots of personal development and psychology books. Throughout all these years I have come across wonderful books, those that change us and leave a profound impact in us. Brene’s latest book ‘Daring Greatly’ is definitely one of these wonderful books. Sometimes I even say that ‘Daring Greatly’ is probably the best book I have ever read – and yes, I know that is quite a statement to make!
I am also aware that how good a book is, depends highly on where we are in life at the time we read such book and it’s normally a very subjective matter. A book that can be great for me is not necessarily as good for someone else. I believe this is the result of how well we can relate to the book personally. If the book resonates with something we are going through or have experienced before, then the better the book is. It is like if the book was directly speaking to us. This is also why when we read a book again some time later we discover complete new meanings, because we are now reading it with a different state of mind. And this is probably why ‘Daring Greatly’ was such a good read for me; because it came at the right time and it relates to things I have gone through; and I continue to go through. Continue Reading →
Brené Brown PhD, LMSW is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestsellers Daring Greatly and The Gifts of Imperfection. She is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work and has spent the last 12 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame.
Brené became a global sensation after her TEDx Houston talk on The Power of Vulnerability went viral and became one of the most watched talks on TED.com with over 10 million views. In 2012, she returned to TED and gave the closing talk – Listening to Shame – at the Conference in Long Beach. Brené and her work have been heavily featured in media all around the world, and Oprah recently interviewed her on Super Soul Sunday.
In our work at The Quest we spend time exploring shame and how it relates to the journey of gay men. Brené defines shame as “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.” In her research, Brené found that shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence and depression and that this ‘shame’ is ultimately what prevents people from ‘Wholehearted living’, which she defines as the ability to engage in our lives from a place of worthiness, and feel love and belonging.
Brené explains that for us to feel love and belonging, we need to embrace vulnerability, share our story and let ourselves be seen; this is the essence of our Weekend Exploration Workshop for Gay Men and lies at the heart of The Quest.
We sat down with Brené on her recent visit to London to discuss the insights from her research as it relates to the lives of gay men. Continue Reading →
When I was in Thailand recently a very powerful thing happened to me. Bear with me as this may sound a little strange… my body started talking to me.
Many times before on holidays I have made it a routine to go running along the beach and this time was no exception. I found myself jogging, barefoot along the beach and I could suddenly hear my body talking.
“oh, this feels gooooood ” it told me, “I really needed this, I need to move through space”
It was a different sounding voice to the one I was used to. That voice said things like –
“oh, ok, were going running but not too far. Look for a marker in the distance and that’s as far was we will go and then turn back. Let’s not overdo it”.
This voice was absent. Continue Reading →
On Wednesday 22 May we held our first Bitesize event. The Quest Bitesize is an evening designed exclusively for The Quest graduates to come together and explore issues relevant to their journey of authenticity, reconnect with other graduates and to learn and discover new things that can facilitate their journey of self-discovery and authenticity. In a way, it is an evening that is aimed to reignite the passion that brought us together in the first place.
You must know the feeling. You go through your drawers and find an old favourite shirt you’ve forgotten about. You think: “Gosh, I wondered where this had gone. I thought I’d lost it.” When you put it on and look in the mirror, it still fits like a dream and looks smashing.
That’s how I felt when I recently landed back on the ‘dating scene’ — pleasantly curious and ready to strut my stuff. With 40 around the corner and because I’m wary of repeating old patterns, I was a bit apprehensive too despite my enthusiasm.
Nowadays, gay men are certainly spoiled for choice when it comes to how we can connect with other guys. The obvious and easy choices are online dating sites and smartphone apps. I’ve tried both and I know they offer loads to look at and hold the alluring promise of immediate gratification, but they’re also time-consuming. I mean really, how many frogs can one man kiss? Continue Reading →
A participant on our recent one-day workshop ‘Getting Clear on Sex & Intimacy’ shares what led him to attend, and his insights from the journey.
Reaching my mid 30s and not having a sense of what imtimacy is, let alone what it means to be, has been rather disconcerting. A comment Darren (co-founder of The Quest) made recently resonated with some of the thoughts on sex and intimacy I had been having in recent months. He reminded me of a time when I was younger, when my identity as a gay man was not determined by sex or the overt sexualisation of the gay scene I find around me. It permeates so many aspects of our lives whether we choose to admit it or not: the gay press, scene magazines, limitless online pornography, online hookup sites, phone applications.. the list is endless. Continue Reading →