Well, another year has passed and I attended another conference, this time my 2nd Esprit Conference in the lovely small town of Port Angeles, WA-about two hours west of Seattle on the Strait of Juan De Fuca. (You can read my articles about last year’s trip by scrolling back through the Articles page on CDH or clicking on these links https://www.crossdresserheaven.com/cynthias-esprit-2017-travelogue/, https://www.crossdresserheaven.com/cynthias-esprit-2017-travelogue/, and https://www.crossdresserheaven.com/esprit-2017-what-did-it-mean-to-me/).
There were some differences in this year’s adventure-starting with the fact that the entire trip including the flight both ways was in full Cyn mode. I had taken time earlier this year to get my Global Entry ID (which includes TSA Precheck). Despite some initial trepidation, I was determined that I would not let the reactions of others determine what I did. So I walked boldly up to the TSA checkpoint, showed my (male) ID, and breezed through in less than three minutes with not even an odd glance thrown my way. I had an hour plus til boarding began, so I went to the restaurant nearest my gate, sat at the bar and had two beers while chatting online. Flying was similarly uneventful with the flight attendants calling me ma’am and smiling genuinely just as they did for every other passenger.
After spending the night at the hotel near the airport, April and I left for Port Angeles Sunday midday. We checked into the conference hotel, unloaded our voluminous luggage (limited for me by my baggage restrictions from flying), and headed for Walmart and Safeway for toiletries, groceries and of course alcohol. We met Kate Pearce and Gina Angelo from the site who were also attending this year and headed to the cocktail reception. I already went through details of the week’s activities in last year’s articles, so I won’t repeat all of them. I didn’t win the pool tournament but did finish 3rd, finished just out of the money in the betting for the Ascot Races, and replaced the high tea with a trip to the Butchart Gardens (which were beautiful)! And I repeated my dancing in the Metta Room for three nights and a total of 11-12 hours!
The bigger difference was that I was more comfortable talking to everyone because so many were friends from last year. There were new folks, too, including someone from DC who I hope to visit with later this year. Yes, as those lucky enough to have met her themselves, Gina was gorgeous in person and, far more importantly, even more beautiful on the inside. April was my gracious hostess and roommate again and Kate was the same wonderful person she was when I first met her at SCC with Samantha G in 2016. This conference is not as big as Keystone in number of attendees, but it does have a long history (next year is their 30th anniversary in the same town) and it has an intimacy that larger groups have difficulty replicating. I got to know folks better this year and got contact info for many of them. They run the gamut of the TG spectrum, just as our members here do, including a great SO program.
Once again, the part I enjoyed best was the Club 130 room where I took a more active role in providing assistance with supplies and setup. But it was the same two folks Alison and Tiessa who made me -and everyone who entered their haven-feel like they were the most important person in the world. I was there until it closed every night-which was anywhere from 230-5AM! This place they provide-which started as an impromptu dance party ten years ago- now has a place in all our hearts as “home”! I was moved to write the below as a tribute to what they do. I dearly hope that many of you join us at next year’s Esprit-you won’t regret it! For me, it now has a permanent place on my calendar.
We checked into our hotel room and put away our things;
The week was just beginning and we knew what it would bring.
The weather was delightful and that only buoyed our mood
The welcome back reception promised tasty drinks and food.
We saw so many folks that we had met in previous years
And also many new folks who had overcome their fears
And come to spend the week expressing who they are inside
The part of them they yearned to show but always had to hide.
The clock struck eight and it was time-we walked on down the hall-
Each step we took, our eyes grew moist as tears of joy did fall.
We gently knocked as we arrived –the door said one three O
And then that door was opened and the world began to slow.
The room was full of people and their voices reached our ears
As they shared their inner hopes and dreams, their worries and their fears.
The love and warmth we felt was overwhelming and the weight
Of all life’s tribulations somehow now seemed not so great,
For when we walk alone life can be difficult it’s true
But when we share with others then our spirits get renewed.
And as we thought about the many places we had roamed,
We knew in Club 130 that we finally were “HOME”!
(We all owe a huge debt that can never be repaid to Alison and Tiessa and all those who help them make Club 130 a life-changing experience for so many. I am personally humbled and blessed to know each of you)
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