Tag Archives: travel

TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers (re-blog)

19 Mar

In its new post (TSA Posts Info for Trans Travelers), the blog of the National Center for Transgender Equality summarizes a new info page that the TSA posts to make traveling easier for transgender people.

I’m glad to see another step forward being taken in terms of transgender equality (who’d’a thunk I’d be giving props to the TSA?), but there is much more progress to be made.

For example, now transgender folks will (hopefully) face less hassles while traveling, but in almost twenty states they still face obstacles in voting.

Idea: How about everyone flies into D.C. to lobby their legislators?

Rumi, Adventures, and Getting Ready for a New Year

1 Dec

Come, come whoever you are, wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving,

it doesn’t matter.  Ours is not a caravan of despair.

Come, even if you have broken your vow a thousand times.

Come, come yet again, come.

-Rumi

This poem is resonating hard with me right now.  Having just made a 1,400 mile move, accepted a job in a state I’ve never visited, and worked on coming to terms with some of the poorer decisions in my life (even as I celebrate the wise ones), my life is feeling both full and in flux.

Yet, I feel damn good.  I am learning more about myself every day, and now I am fortunate to be in the position to strengthen relationships with the family members I love and see too rarely.  Things are going well.  I landed one of my dream jobs, and I get paid for writing about bands, too(!).

As some of my friends would say, it’s pretttttty good!  But I know I’ll have to keep challenging myself.  I want to have even more adventures in 2012.  Not because I believe it will be my last year on Earth, but because growth is important to me.  My New Year’s Resolutions include reading (and writing) more poetry, studying more philosophy, and leaving the country.  I certainly hope to stay connected and see the friends I’ve left behind in Boston… I miss them already.

Whether I caulk the wagon and float it, au pair abroad, or fulfill my dream of taking a cruise with someone sexy:

Ours will be no caravan of despair.

Ostalgie, Memory, & the Formerly Familiar

29 Oct

WERS has been playing this song by The Heavenly States and Spoon‘s Britt Daniel with stuck-in-your-head-whether-you-like-it-or-not frequency lately, and so of course the fun, catchy track’s been looping between my ears.  It’s also made me think, and remember.

I used to live in Mitte, Berlin.  For almost six months I biked under the stately Brandenburger Tor to get to classes, rolling right over the former boundary line of the Berlin Wall.  One hundred and thirty-six people were killed trying to cross from East Germany to West Germany during the wall’s eighteen year reign.  They lived under a kind of socialism, and decided that they would prefer to live in a capitalist society.

This mirrors an internal question I’ve been grappling with: which side of Die Mauer am I on?

Cut off from their families, spied upon by their government, limited in their choices, East Germans were both endangered and taken care of.  Today, a phenomenon exists among Europeans known as Ostalgie – nostalgia for the long-gone East German way of life.  Films like Goodbye, Lenin! capture this tragic, perhaps ill-advised, yet sort of beautiful longing.

Berliner Mauer - the Berlin Wall. 1961-1989. Image via http://www.dartmouth.edu.

For half a year I lived at what had been the crossroads of the twentieth century’s greatest idealogical clash.  I loved it.  I made wonderful friends there, studied an intensely fascinating language and culture, honed my love of and skills in far-flung travel, and ate some ridiculously good currywurst.

Upon my return to the states, I changed my major and academic focus, a new U.S. President was elected, and I fell in love… then fell in love again.  I decided to travel to east Africa and try to make myself useful, and soon after, I was a passenger in a fatal car crash that cost the life of a friend and role model.  I never got a chance – or made the time – to fully consider and feel the time I was fortunate to spend in Germany, and what it means in my life.

An Ostalgie-style reconnection to the past is tempting, and potentially dangerous.  I don’t know if I can make the important choices I need to make about my future and my take on the world until I have a grasp on my complicated past.  But then I wonder, do we ever really have that grasp?

What experiences have you had, but not yet processed?

Which sides are you on?