During the middle of May, I attended the Esprit 2017, a crossdresser / transgendered conference in Port Angeles, Washington, which is about two hours outside Seattle. Having attended the Southern Comfort Conference last September in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I was not a novice to attending such an event. This was my first time at Esprit and my first visit to the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. This piece will be sort a travelogue describing my experiences and adventures. I want to provide a picture of what occurred in the hope of encouraging others to take the opportunity step out of their comfort zone, (or break out of the prison walls of their home). Perhaps, my adventures will inspire other to let their true selves experience a taste of the real world. In a separate piece, I will explore what I drew from the experience and the deeper thoughts about how it affected my life and future path.
Unlike the Southern Comfort Conference, which was a “mere” 925 miles or a thirteen hour drive, the Esprit Conference was a tad too far for a practical drive. At just under three thousand miles, I would have been looking at 43 hours of driving, which is too much, even for one who regularly drives hundreds of miles to watch college football! Even the train would have taken three days, so the only truly viable option was to fly, about five plus hours travel time. Of course, that meant I would have to face the fierce dragon known to strike fear into the hearts of all who travel the “friendly skies” — the dreaded three letter beast known as TSA !!! (Insert frightening, ominous music here!)
Before that encounter, I first had to winnow down a selection from my wardrobe that could fit into two checked bags and one carry-on bag, three bags of less than fifty pounds each? Are they crazy? Can any woman fit a week’s worth of necessities into such a pittance of travel bags? Heavens to Betsy, for Southern Comfort, I had packed my car with eight suitcases, (two of which had only shoes), and five wardrobe bags! Now I had to decide what items would make the cut, and which would be left out of the trip. Hours, days and weeks of agonizing was completed at four in the morning, the day of my departing flight.
Once at the airport, it was time to face the dragon. The two bags were checked, and I approached the TSA security check with my carry-on and laptop bag. I had considered making the flight in full Cyn regalia, but I was a tad too cowardly to do so. Instead I wore ladies’ shorts, socks, and shoes with a t-shirt and my baseball cap. Nearing the x-ray scanners, I dutifully emptied my pockets completely, (“Even paper receipts can set off the machine!” one TSA agent reminded me and my fellow travelers.), before removing my hat, shoes, coat, belt, panties, and shorts. Okay, I am kidding, but only about the last two items! I even checked my navel for any lint that might have been there. As I emtering the full body scanner, an agent came up and asked, “Is this carry-on bag yours?” I replied yes, and he said to come meet him at a separate table after being scanned. As I approached the indicated table, the agent opened my carry-on bag. While I was wearing a male (or neutral)t-shirt, that was the only non-female item that I had in my possession. Beginning his search of the bag, he removed my purse, rifled through it, took out my rolled skirts, dresses, and tops, and placed them in a bin. As many of you may know, I am a huge fan of peanut butter. Apparently, I accidentally had placed a butter knife in my carry-on which had triggered the alert. I quickly apologized, and said, “Please, just throw it away! My travails, however, were not over. The next words from agent’s mouth were “What’s in this box?”, as he held up the box containing my breast forms. There was nothing to do but answer honestly, so in a semi-quiet voice I said “breast forms”! He said “I need to open the box” to which I said, “Okay.” (Really, what else could I have said?) He ran his chemical residue skimmer around the forms and the box, and said, “Okay, you may go on now.” The breath that I had held in for the last three minutes was finally released. I quickly repacked the items into the bag, and left to enplane. Thus was my first TSA experience with Cyn’s things!
After the excitement of getting through security, it was a relief to experience an uneventful flight. Arriving in Seattle, Saturday evening, I was met by Crossdresser Heaven’s own, the lovely Pacific Princess April, who had invited me out to Esprit, and would be my roomie at the conference. She helped me gather my checked baggage, and we walked from the SeaTac Airport to the hotel across the street where we stayed that night. We rested for an hour or so, before Cyn and April went out for drinks that night. Heading back to the hotel around one in the morning, we fell asleep with visions of what we would experience in the upcoming week.
Be sure to read Cynthia’s continuing adventures at Esprit 2017.