Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label travel. Show all posts

Saturday, June 15, 2024

Trans Girl Vacations

Archive Vacation Image from Kansas.





Since it is summer time, it is vacation time around here. Spoiler alert, this post is not about flying these days as a transgender woman or making it through airport check points unscathed. It is about ground based transportation. I did all the flying I wanted to do at an earlier period in my life when the military flew me all over the world.

My problems with going on any sort of vacation at all began when I was cross dressing as a man on a vacation to Michigan one year with my second wife. Very early on, I began to feel the pressure coming on when I couldn't go out in the world as a novice transgender woman. Then, I began to resent the fact I needed to be a guy at all and I wanted to be a woman with all my being. By doing so, I started to grow quiet and introverted which alerted my wife that something was wrong with me and she started to pry. After all, we were on vacation from two successful jobs we liked, were blessed with my daughter we both loved and a 1860's restored house we lived in. Ideally, we shouldn't have any problems but I did. 

As I internalized my gender issue, I never answered her questions as to what was wrong. There was no way I was going to tell her I would rather be spending my vacation time as a woman rather than my male self. So I shut up and did my best to change or hide my feelings. By doing so, I was able to salvage what was left of my vacation. 

When I met my wife Liz, she had a passion for travel and we decided on several rather lengthy bus tours to places such as the Southwest, Maine and even Mardi Gras. The major problem I had except for the often brutal bus rides to my back was the fact the bus's restroom was off limits except for major emergencies. Which meant I needed to stand in line with a group of other women at mostly road side rest stops along the highway. Since there was no way I could hold my business an entire day, I needed to quickly learn what it was like to stand in line to use the rest room. Seemingly, either I became used to it in a hurry or the other women on the bus became used to me being there because they didn't seem to care I was there. 

Even with all of my acceptance, I still felt potential issues coming up when we traveled through deeply conservative states such as in the deep south. In fact, I received a real fright during a rest stop on the Alabama-Mississippi state line. To start with, in addition to the long line waiting to use the facilities, there was the faint smell of sewer gas and all I wanted was to do my business, wash up and get out. On this trip however, there were two women glaring at me when I left the stall, so I immediately thought the worst was going to happen and they were going to attack me. Thankfully, they didn't scream out there was a man in the woman's room so I did get out and hurried my way with Liz to the bus. Once we were safely back on the bus, my paranoia set in and I kept looking for a southern cop trying to pull the bus over. It never happened either and the next stop was a huge truck stop just outside of New Orleans where the bus needed to refill. This time, I didn't have to go and just had to wait for Liz in the so called souvenir shop. The only challenge I received on the trip was when we stopped to eat in a big venue just outside of the "Big Easy."

In the restaurant, I waited as long as I could for the restroom to be empty and took my chances. When I did, one of the women on the trip entered the room with me. She was very civilized and I didn't expect any problems and didn't when she look surprised and just said Oh! you use our restroom. She ended up sitting right across the big table from us and didn't say anything else. 

Our trip to West Virginia to check out local short line railroads we could ride proved to be fun and easy and proved to be a great beginners trip since it was relatively short distance from our native Ohio. Our trip to Maine was a fun trip also since for the most part we were passing through transgender friendly states, so I did not have to worry about harassment. Plus the Maine lobster (or Lobsta) did not disappoint. Finally the trip out west to Colorado was just too long although I did really enjoy the train rides we took out there, especially in Durango. 

Recently, we have not been able to find or afford any more tours so Liz and I have had more "stay-cations." Plus I don't have to worry about my gender when we go or what to do about restrooms. As the years have gone by, I have grown so much more confident about my presentation as  a transgender woman.

Can't wait for our next adventure.


Friday, August 18, 2023

Transgender Vacation Blues

 

Image 
from UnSplash 

Back when my second wife was still alive, in the early fall or late summer we used to vacation close to the same area every year. 

We used to just take off and travel from our home in Southern Ohio and make the trip up through Toledo and Detroit up into northern Michigan. Often trying to escape the late summer heat, we went as far North as the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It was a great time to go because many upscale venues in places such as Traverse City discounted their prices for off season tourists and we didn't have crowds to deal with. 

During that portion of my life, things should have been going good. My restoration efforts on our 1860's brick home, were coming together and both my wife and I enjoyed jobs which provided us with a little spendable income. What could possibly go wrong? In reality, just one major one. My battle with gender dysphoria. I was just beginning to experience more success as a novice public cross dresser and or transvestite and I wanted to do more. I was also riding the waves of gender euphoria when I went out and gender repression when I couldn't. Part time exploration of my transgender needs just wasn't working. 

It figured then, if I wasn't able to try to experience my gender euphoria just before we went on vacation, most certainly I would mentally crash and burn during our vacation. Of course when I did I would grow grumpy to the point where my wife would ask me what was wrong. She would ask what else I needed in life to be happy. At that point I just couldn't tell her the truth. The only thing which would have made me happier at that moment was if I was making the vacation trip as a transgender woman. From then on I did the usual male response and internalized my feelings and acted as if I was feeling better.

Sadly my gender dysphoria managed to ruin several vacations for me as time after time I fell into bouts of gender depression. I was even affected when we made our annual stop in the village of Frankenmuth, Michigan to look for rare Christmas tree ornaments my wife didn't already have since she was a Christmas fanatic. I over compensated by encouraging her to over buy every year. As we walked through the stores, no matter what I was outwardly feeling, inwardly I wanted to be doing it with her as two girlfriends. Naturally, the entire process ruined the vacation time I should have been enjoying.  I had the vacation blues which at times frustrated me even more because I should have been enjoying my hard earned time away from my pressure packed job.

Since I never had the courage to face my transgender truths until much later in life, my vacation blues never changed until I retired and met Liz, my current wife. The vacations we have taken changed the vacation narrative for me. The blues have disappeared and for once I have been able to enjoy myself. . 

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Alawys Going Somewhere

Image from Louis Paulin
On UnSplash

 Back in what I call my formative years, I grew used to trying to outrun my problems. Between college and my military service I literally was moved or decided to move on my own an average of every year and a half. It all started when I left home for college for a year and a half. Amazingly, during this time my gender dysphoria disappeared and suddenly I was free to live a somewhat normal gender life. I say normal because during this time I had several dates with girls from the East Coast who were much more sophisticated sexually than anything I had seen in my shy Midwestern upbringing. In fact, my Mom unknowingly set me up with my first sexual experience with one of her older (not a minor) students where she taught high school.  I think she was nineteen and I was eighteen, so I had a lot to learn. 

The school I went away to was one a group of Midwestern Ivy League schools for students on the East Coast who couldn't make it into the top notch schools or universities in their back yards. What happened was I ended up partying with my friends mainly from Philadelphia and Baltimore and not studying enough to maintain grades to not get drafted into the Vietnam War. After a year and a half I picked up and moved back home to attend a much more academically forgiving nearby university where I could thrive. Which I did by even making the Dean's List several times before I graduated. More importantly to me back then was the fact I was drawn back into my old cross dressing memories of home while I was able still to land a Disk Jockey job at a small local radio station which happened to be owned by a very powerful congressman which turned out to be very important to my future. For awhile I was quite satisfied with satisfying my cross dressing desires by putting on my feminine clothes when my parents weren't around just like the old days while at the same time attending to school while I built my self a career in the commercial radio business. 

Just when I thought I had it all together, Uncle Sam came along with several all expense paid tickets to work and travel in exchange for three years of my life. I was able to salvage my radio career with the help of the congressman I worked for but my cross dressing would certainly have to be on hold for the foreseeable future. My first move was a bus trip to beautiful (?) Ft. Knox in Kentucky for Army basic training. I didn't get to see any gold but I saw many fellow recruits going through tank infantry school. A nice way of saying they were headed to Vietnam to be cannon or grenade fodder for the war. Basic was tough but not tough enough to wash out any or all ideas I had of ever following my feminine dreams. In fact in many ways I think basic just made my dreams stronger because I couldn't wait to get out and live them.

Following Basic at Ft. Knox, little did I know the amount of travel Uncle Sam had planned for me. It all started innocently enough by getting transferred for advanced training at the Defense Information School in relatively close by Indianapolis, Indiana. It was close enough to my home I could drive back and forth for weekends and leave but not close enough for me to cross dress when I was home. It turned out I wasn't going to stay in Indy long before I was sent to Thailand along with my close knit classmates to help run a radio/tv station in Udorn which had recently been destroyed by a battle damaged F-4 fighter jet which crashed at the end of the runway killing all working in the station. Since we were Army working for the Air Force, we received extra pay to live off base. Of course living off base put me face to face with the Thai Ladyboy culture. As advertised, many were indeed beautiful but all I did was admire from afar. I was afraid of any stigma which would have been attached to me if I had tried to know any of the alluring creatures further. 

After my year in Thailand, I was trying hard to get assigned to Europe and work for the AFN Radio Network. I finally did make it but not with more moving around. What happened was I had two sets of orders. One verbal and one paper. I decided to follow the one on paper and report to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland for duty in their information office. What turned out was I wasn't supposed to be there and was sent back home with another weeks worth of leave before I had to leave for Germany, where I wanted to go to start with. After all those convoluted military moves I finally had the chance to live out my dream of seeing Europe because once again I received extra pay to live off base.

I am fairly sure all of this moving affected me in many ways when I was honorably discharged from the military and through with school. More on how it affected my gender dysphoria in another post. 

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Mardi Gras

 

Photo by Ugur Arpaci on Unsplash


Several years ago, pre Covid, my partner Liz and I decided to take a bus tour down from our native Ohio to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We had done a couple other bus trips in the past so I was ready for the rest room challenges I would face...I thought.  

Very early on I learned  the toilet on the bus would be off limits to all except those in dire need. Which meant the bus would make scheduled stops at certain rest areas. My first learning experience came when I stood in line with approximately twenty other women waiting to use the bathroom. At the time I thought I never signed up for this but the first couple places we stopped were in rural areas, so everything went fine. So, at that time I started to gain confidence that no one on the bus would complain a transgender woman was using the wrong rest room.

On the way down to New Orleans, things began to change. The rest stops turned into truck stops and other stops along state lines in deep southern states. The worst by far came when we stopped on the Mississippi/Alabama line. I was petrified but had to go so I had no choice to join the waiting line of women. Even then, all went fairly well until I was coming out of the stall I used and came face to face with two obviously disapproving women. I tried to speed up the process and get my hands washed and leave the bathroom before I happened to run into those women again. I was so scared I was worried about a state patrolman or local sheriff pulling the bus over for a check. Fortunately nothing like that happened  and the bus rolled on without incident. 

Ironically, the only push back I received from anyone on the bus was when we arrived in New Orleans and stopped to eat at an upscale seafood restaurant. After dinner I excused myself  to use the Ladies Room and when I stepped in the door, one of the other passengers was washing her hands. She looked at me and said with a little surprise "Oh you use the same bathroom we do." She did not refer to the experience again and life on the bus went on until we arrived at our destination. A beautiful restored hotel within walking distance of Bourbon Street and the French Quarter. 

We then took full advantage of the two unplanned days we had to take advantage of the "Big Easy". Also most ot the pressure of using the rest room was  taken away. Until the night of Mardi Gras itself. Since rest rooms were at a premium, venues were requiring a purchase to use theirs. We did make our way through the madness of Bourbon Street to finally learn a couple of the venues we could eat and use the facilities at were just a block off the strip. One turned out to be the oldest gay venue in the city which we stopped at and the other a tavern which served food which had a patio style courtyard  where we could eat. 

Before it was time to turn around and go back, I decided to use what could only be described as an out house with a flush toilet. It reeked of sewer gas, so I hurriedly took care of business and started to leave. Of course when I opened the door, a line of women had formed on the other side. I felt bad if they thought I had caused the odor, but it was time to face the long walk back to the hotel. 

As far as the entire Mardi Gras experience went, I wouldn't trade it for the world but it is certainly designed for a younger person than me. It's definitely the party to go to if you are worried about presenting as an out transgender woman. Obviously nearly anything goes. 

Restroom availability and usage are a different story. At some point you are going to have to pull down those big girl panties and go for it. You haven't lived until you have waited in a line of women at a rest room. Mardi Gras or not it is a rite of transgender passage.  

Friday, June 3, 2022

Peaks and Valleys

 I used to think crossing the gender frontier was similar to negotiating a maze when you have a series of walls to negotiate. Now I think the entire journey may be similar to climbing very steep hills and then completing the return trip down. The reason being is the severity of what we are attempting. After all, changing ones gender is one of the most difficult journeys a human being can undertake. 

Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash

As we climb our first hill or even mountain, many times we face the possibility of losing our family, friends and even jobs.  Many times it seems as if we are barely hanging on as we leave lives we were living in often comfortable yet non authentic lives to begin a whole new existence. 

In my case I can understand the idea of holding on to my birth gender for dear life. In fact I worked hard to achieve a quality male life. I had a very good job, fathered a daughter and was honorably discharged from the military. I did many of the guy things everyone did and effectively hid my desire to live a feminine life from everyone I met. So again, it was difficult to let it all go.

Another problem I had with being in the valley once I started my gender transition was being able to see where I was going. Many times I couldn't see the forest for the trees when I was learning a whole new way to live. I found all those years I spent being a cross dresser turned out to be a waste because the entire experience was so shallow. I found the hard way when I started to explore the world as a transgender woman there was so much more to the process than just looking the part. I learned quickly I needed to allow my inner feminine self. I found I had to work surprisingly hard to climb another mountain and establish a whole new feminine personality. Which turned out to be a labor of love. What happened was the more I was out exploring the world as a transgender woman, the more the world (primarily other women) wanted to interact with me. They didn't know it but many times I used them as examples of how I wanted myself to become. My partner Liz put it best when she told me very few people have a chance to re invent themselves totally. Don't screw it up. Which actually I added in to her original comment. 

Over the years I have been fortunate in the number of friends I have found who helped me establish gender base camps as I climbed the mountain peak I am on now. I have copied more than a few and have cherished knowing some of the others. I was so afraid of losing what was left of my male self until they helped me through. 

We all have our own peaks and valleys to negotiate when it comes to our gender journeys. I hope yours goes as smooth as possible,  

 

Workplace Issues

Image from Gabrielle Henderson  on UnSplash. Sadly, many transgender women and trans men still get discriminated against when they seek out ...