If I clear my mind, I can transport myself back to so many fun moments during the 2010 Gay HIV Cruise Retreat. Maybe I'm zip-lining through the rain forest of Costa Rica, or I'm gorging myself at the dessert buffet. The water slide high above the 3,000 passenger ship will always make me smile.
For the 200 people in our group, it was more than a vacation. It included education seminars (AIDS treatment updates from activist Nelson Vergel, author of the new book Testosterone: A Man's Guide), live game shows just for our group and shore excursions that tested our spirit of adventure.
There was a minimum of the strutting or posturing you would normally find among a large group of gay men. Instead, there was a vulnerability we shared (body image issues, from lipoatrophy to weight, were empathetically embraced) that helped us feel closer to one another from the start.