Skip to Content


Hi there! I’m Maartje Hensen (she/they), a Dutch queer travel expert and all-around creative. I run the queer lifestyle and travel brand Once Upon a Journey. My idea for Once Upon a Journey began in 2016, fueled by my passion for traveling and documenting through the written word and captivating imagery.

Travel is for everyone because—contrary to popular belief—it doesn’t have one look. I’m determined to showcase how beautiful the world can be!

Maartje Hensen from Once Upon a Journey queer travel writer photographer

About Queer Travel Blog Once Upon A Journey

In March 2017, my then-partner and I sold everything, left home behind, and started traveling full-time. On the road, Once Upon A Journey came alive.

There were, and still aren’t, many online travel resources for queer women, lesbians, and trans folks. Initially, I wanted to write about folk- and fairy tales worldwide. And while the original concept didn’t work out, my journey nonetheless unfolded as a fairy tale.

The ‘once upon a’ part suggests a fairytale or magic. Traveling is a ‘magical’ thing, like a fairy tale. And the name as a whole suggests something is about to happen; a story is to start. And that is what traveling is like; it is magical and always the start of a great story.

Why Do I Travel?

According to my mum, I was born with the travel bug. Ever since I was a little kid, I told everyone I was planning on emigrating ‘when I was old enough,’ and I would first visit the United States. In 2015, I crossed that one off the bucket list while studying abroad.

I had this crazy idea to make travel my work, and I can be very stubborn, so Once Upon A Journey was born on the road!

I don’t shy away from countries that aren’t queer-friendly, but I also celebrate the places that are. Visibility matters, and I hope my travels can help LGBTQ+ people globally to have hope and inspire them to think bigger!

It’s my biggest belief that travel is for everyone, and I’m determined to show how beautiful the world can be.

On my travels, I (un)learn from others, submerge myself in all cultures*, try traditional cuisine, wander in nature, and roam around cities.

I love meeting the local LGBTQ+ community and hearing about their experiences and favorite places. In addition, I am always looking to support queer-owned businesses.

You’ll find this blog highly visual, as I can tell my travels and tips best through written and visual content!

Travel Photography | Queer & Lesbian Travel | Travel Tips | Lifestyle

Want to send me a message? Say hi on Instagram @maartjehensen, or send me an email.

Check out my work with me page if you connect with my brand and think we’re a good fit.

Maartje Hensen Once Upon a Journey queer writer and photographer

More Photography

In addition to Once Upon a Journey, I run an Amsterdam photography business specializing in LGBTQ+ storytelling. And I am available worldwide for photoshoots.

Once Upon a Journey