Jon Bailey (2DadsWithBaggage) is a CLEVER influencer and travel blogger who, along with his family, shares stories about two dads raising two daughters in today’s crazy and wonderful world. As we celebrate Pride with National Give Out Day, we celebrate him and all of the LGBTQ+ influencers who create incredible content all year from a place of authenticity and truth.
Where are you based?
San Diego, CA
How long have you been a content creator?
We launched 2DadsWithBaggage in Summer, 2016.
How did you get started? Do you remember the first thing you posted?
We started 2 Dads With Baggage as a platform to raise awareness for families like ours — two dads raising two daughters we adopted at birth. Now, our girls are 18 and 16 and same sex families are more common. When we started our family, things were less accepted. We wanted to share our lives to help normalize our parenting experiences as the same as every other parents’. Triumph, pride, fear, heartache, frustration, joy, impatience, kindness — but most of all, love.
Many of our friends knew we had traveled with our daughters extensively, and started asking us for advice about places to go that cater to families with young kids. Some specifically wanted to know where LGBTQ families would be safe and welcome. I started writing long itineraries for our friends, complete with recommendations for hotels, attractions and restaurants.
When I was forwarded an e-mail about Hilton Hotels looking for brand ambassadors, I scoffed at the opportunity to pitch my work to their family blog, “Hilton Mom Voyage.” But I realized they might want a dad’s perspective and they did. I was awarded a position on this panel of wonderful family travelers. I remember being so proud to see my first story about family travel in Amsterdam go live on this blog, and it lit a fire.
A friend in the Hilton Mom Voyage community was very kind and taught me the basics of starting my own blog, and 2DadsWithBaggage was born in 2016. I think the first thing I posted was a piece about being out somewhere pushing a double stroller and continually asked “Where’s the mom?”
What do you create content about? Why? For whom?
Although travel is a family passion, our areas of focus have broadened. The more we heard from and talked with families like ours, we realized our community needs more voices representing us out in the world. We’re not trying to be the poster family or make huge political statements (mostly!) but instead just show that our family is just like any other. We are all parents raising our children in this modern world, consuming products, living our lives, making our homes, working our jobs, helping our kids thrive.
We’ve received a huge amount of support from our audiences — LGBTQ and otherwise. There are a ton of mom voices out there, but not a lot of dads who talk about family, lifestyle, food, products, and yes- even travel.
What is your advice for brands who want to make more authentic connections with the LGBTQ+ community?
How has your work been impacted by the pandemic?
This pandemic has affected each and every one of us in ways we could never have imagined – both horrific and hopeful. We’re devastated and personally affected by the effects of COVID-19 on our lives and have lost loved ones as a result of this pandemic. Business has been affected and many friends and family are enduring scary financial impacts.
Still, we’ve experienced some positive side effects for 2DadsWithBaggage. Our traffic numbers are down for travel related content (big surprise), but interest in our lifestyle and food content has skyrocketed. We’re so thankful we diversified years ago to not focus solely on travel, and our audience has stayed with us. Brands are seeking partnerships with us because they realize this is the most authentic way to reach consumers and establish a loyal relationship.
What is your hope for the future?
My hope is that we find a vaccine quickly and future health effects of COVID-19 can be eradicated. My hope is that this vaccine is available to ALL people in every country in the world, regardless of income, race, religion or politics.
My hope is that global economies can stabilize and return to some state of normal, whatever that new normal is. I’d like to see businesses recover and financial markets settle down. I’d like people to be able to get back to doing their jobs and be paid for their hard work.
Most of all, I carry great hope that what we learn from this downtime that a gentler pace is more healthy. Our go-go-go world has been a little too much to handle, and we can all benefit from a more simplified, paced, grounded lifestyle. My hope is we can balance family time, home, work and play in a new way.
I hope that part sticks.
Which National Give Out Day non-profit are you donating you and why?
We choose to support The Trevor Project on National Give Out Day and throughout the year, because this organization offers free counseling and services to LGBTQ youth who are at risk of suicide. Now more than ever during COVID-19, calls to The Trevor Project’s crisis hotline have doubled and they need our support.
This cause is near to our hearts, because as gay men growing up we faced severe prejudice and ostracism from other school kids and the public at large. Luckily we both grew up with loving and supportive family members who accepted us for who we are and have always been there for us for support and guidance. Others have not been so fortunate.
It breaks our hearts to know there are kids out there who do not have that support from the parents and families and might feel there is no way forward for themselves. Suicide is never the answer, and good organizations like The Trevor Project show LGBTQ youth the path to stability, mental health and acceptance.
This is one of the reasons we tell the stories of our family and lives so openly at 2DadsWithBaggage. We want to show people there is a path, there are families like ours, that we are not scared, and that we are loved and supported. Maybe our voices will help change a bigot’s mind, or inspire a young person to live their dreams.
And yes, we put our money where our mouths are and regularly donate to organizations that support the LGBTQ community. As part of National Give Out day, we know our donation to The Trevor Project will be joined with other donations to make a major impact.