Five Facts I Love About the Clitoris a.k.a. Happy National Clitoris Day!

Today is National Clitoris Day or as we call it at my house, Thursday.

I have no idea why today is the day to celebrate the clitoris, but I’m glad this wonderful organ is getting the recognition it deserves, if only by me. A quick Google search shows that while a group of places celebrate Clitoris Awareness Week in May, I seem to be the only person who celebrates National Clitoris Day on March 20, so there’s a chance I made this up years ago when I wrote my first National Clitoris Day article.

No, I’m quite positive I read it somewhere and that’s what sparked the article. Maybe it was something going around on MySpace. Yes, MySpace, that is how long I’ve been celebrating this glorious day.

I have no facts or sources or clues as to why, years ago, I put in my calendar a reminder that today is National Clitoris Day, but there it is, beeping at me, reminding me to write a post about clits.

I’ve celebrated National Clitoris Day on this site in a various ways. One year, I wrote about how cocks helped me figure out clits, one year I gave away Moregasm and Sex Toys 101, two of my favorite sex ed books, and this year, I’m giving away the most important thing you could ever have in your life: information.

Top 5 Things You Should Know About the Clitoris:

1. It is the reigning sensory organ.

The Clitoris has 8,000 nerve endings and affects over 50,000 nerves all over the body when stimulated. To put that in perspective, the penis – it’s closest competition for nerve endings in one place in the human body – has 4,000.

2. It is the same organ as the penis.

The clitoris and the penis are the same organ, just shaped differently. For an interesting read, check out this Wikipedia article on the formation and structure of the clitoris.

3. The clit is larger than you see.

The clit looks like a wish bone, with only the tip hanging out where we can see it. There are two “legs” to the clit that go along your labia and can be massaged or stimulated during penetration.

Clitoris_anatomy_labeled-en.svg

It’s like we got our wish come true. (image via Wikipedia)

 

4. The clit is selective in where it appears.

Did you know that the clitoris is only found in mammals, ostriches and only a select few other animals? I’m glad I’m one of the chosen.

5. It comes in varying sizes, shapes and styles, and can appear in various ways on various genders.

Like your labia, there is no one way for your clit to look, and I’ve seen clits of all different shapes, colors, styles and sizes in my life, including one that had freckles!

Most often, we see medical facts about the clitoris as it is found on the average body of a cis-woman – someone identified as female at birth who still considers themselves female. But I think it’s important to remember that there is no real “average” when it comes to sex or gender because they are such varying and fluid things.

For some varying views on the clit, check out a trans* woman’s perspective on hers, an intersex person’s comment on mourning the loss of theirs, and this article on what terms can be more comfortable for genderqueer and trans* men to use instead to describe their genitalia.

 

What are some of your favorite facts about the clitoris?

Posted in Sex, Stuff We Love | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Why I Spent My Saturday of Catalyst Con Crying Instead of Having Sex, a.k.a. Grief Hits at the Worst Times

For the most part, I love speaking at conferences.

Very excited to be a keynote speaker at Catalyst Con East this weekend.

Very excited to be a keynote speaker at Catalyst Con East this weekend.

For the most part, I love being the person who encourages people to dig deep and share their Truths, to talk about the difficult – from money to grief to racism to sex – and to share their stories with the world. I love when someone runs up to me after I speak and says that I’ve given them the permission they needed to take on a passionate endeavor, the motivation they needed to keep going along a bumpy path, or the vibrator suggestion they needed to finally come.

For the most part, I am fueled by their excitement, pushed further along my path by their passion. The people that I meet are the reasons I attend conferences. I love being surrounded by their energy.

 

My name was on the banner for the keynote!

My name was on the banner for the keynote!

For the most part.

This weekend at Catalyst Con, things were drastically different. This weekend, I broke.

On Friday night – sixteen hours after flying from San Diego to DC and one hour before I had to be put together and on camera – I finally finished the website and guides for Frisky Feminist Press, the exciting new business endeavor on which I’ve been working for months. One quick nap, shower and a smudging of rouge on my lips later, I was gathering sex educators in front of a camera and answering questions from people all around the world.

Chatting with the world about sex.

Chatting with the world about sex.

Two hours after that, I was a part of the opening keynote plenary for Catalyst Con, on stage in front of a group of my peers, answering questions thrown at me by the formidable Tristan Taormino, attempting to match the wit, intelligence and articulation of my fellow panelists Melissa Gira Grant, Mo Beasley and Del Tashlin.

Twelve hours after that, I was teaching a workshop on the business of blogging with Epiphora and Mona Darling. Two hours after that, I was moderating a conversation about the legal atmosphere for queer people in the United States.

And two hours after that, I was curled in a ball on my hotel room bed, cuddling my pillow, crying.

I wanted to stay downstairs. I wanted to look everyone in the eye and listen to their stories. I wanted to brainstorm and collaborate, mix and mingle.

But all I could do was lie in bed and cry.

Something in my broke, and I could no longer be the put together, professional, friendly, motivating woman that Queerie Bradshaw is in the public light. I needed to be Lauren Marie Fleming, the broken girl who battles depression and is stricken by grief.

At one point, I got up, put on my bathing suit and headed to the pool, which was luckily empty except for two energetic young girls who stared at me for awhile until they decided they liked my buzzed hair and asked if I wanted to play “floating on water” with them.

I did. And it was nice to just float on the surface, letting the water hold the weight of my grief.

But all too soon, the pool closed, and I had to hold my own weight once more.

In the shower, I wept again. And again. And again.

I needed to get up, get dressed and go out to meet people with whom I had plans, but all I could do was drag my naked body into bed and stay there all evening.

That’s the thing with grief, it doesn’t care about timing. The higher you are, the farther you have to fall into the all too familiar pit of despair. The more I want to shout my monumental moments from the rooftops, the more I wish I could still text my brother about the little, minuscule things.

I remember when I spoke at an Ivy-League school for the first time (an accomplishment I was so damn proud of) and I didn’t heard a word from him about it. Sometimes, when I’m going, going, going, it just feels like that again. Like my brother is too self-centered and immersed in his own world to call and congratulate me on the accomplishments in mine.

Then the realization hits that he is not the asshole brother who forgot about my big day, he is the asshole brother who went and died (literally) on me.

Photo by J.Robert Williams.

Photo by J.Robert Williams.

As moderator, I started our blogging as a business panel with the question “describe what your blog was like when you started, what it is now, and what contributed to that change.”

I don’t know why I asked that question, when I never know how to answer it myself. It’s one thing to slip in the mention of a dead brother, it’s another thing to explain that watching him bleed to death in your mother’s arms after fighting for his life against a vicious cancer changed everything about your being, from blogging to social interactions.

I chose to go with the “I was superficial and SEO-focused when I started and then my brother got cancer and died, and now I am deeper and more soul-searching on my site” route.

But that just skims the surface of my transformation. It completely leaves out the deaths of my grandmother and grandfather, both of which I cared for during the last days of their lives. It leaves out moving from my chosen home of Oregon back to a place that wasn’t all that safe for me as a kid, and the emotional reconciliation my inner child has had to work through. It leaves out my sister almost dying having her second child and the year we spent holding each other on her couch, taking turns building up the energy to put another Disney movie in for her kids and us.

All of that is left out because this microphone on this stage is not the place to divulge all of that information. People are not here to be my therapist, and while the room is full of wonderful people that I love, I am not their friend right now, I am their instructor.

So I instruct, and leave the deconstruction until later, when it can be just me and my computer in a bed alone, typing my feelings into this blog, this place that has turned from a way to get free sex toys, to a way to express my Truth and connect with my readers (and occasionally still get free sex toys).

I made it through my engagements, and then retreated; back to my bed, back into my head, where the only person I have to make time for is myself.

I spent all night Saturday and most of the morning Sunday lying in bed crying, reading my new YA book (the best escape ever for me), and taking some much needed down time. Across the hall, my very sexy friends were having an all girls play party. Upstairs, some other friends were playing hilarious sex games. But all I wanted to do was lie in the dark and listen to my thoughts.

This is not the way I wanted my Catalyst Conference to end, but we don’t always get to decide what happens to us in life. Sometimes we just have to go along for the ride.

This weekend, it felt good to just let myself be present with my feelings, take some time off and do what my body needed, knowing that all the things I missed out on – meeting new friends, engaging in compelling conversations, connecting with important professional contacts, having wild sex – will be there when I am able and ready to return.

Until then, I’m going to stay inside these big fluffy white sheets and enjoy being alive.

Posted in Confessions, Essays, Featured, Headline, Off Our Chests, Personal, Queerie Bradshaw, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Body-Positivity, Relationship Skills and Sex Ed in Porn, a.k.a. My Nerve.com Article About the Set of jessica drake’s Guide to Wicked Sex: Plus-Size

Are porn stars the future of sex education?

“I think the [BBW] genre as it exists right now for the most part is not an artistic genre…[and has] some really degrading titles [that are] disrespectful, demeaning, and encouraging of stereotypes,” jessica drake says as we talked poolside. “I don’t want to do that [with my films].”

jessica drake directing

Read the rest of my article at Nerve.com.

Kelly Shibari and Derrick Pierce

Posted in Body Positivity, Makers of Porn, My Writing Elsewhere, Sex Toys and Porn | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Sex Question of the Day: What body part do you love the most on yourself?

Leading up to my keynote panel at Catalyst Con East – where I will be talking about sparking conversations in sexuality – I’m going to try to start some sex conversations here on the blog and on Twitter. To learn more about this project, check out the original post.

Check out the rest of the days here on the blog or use the hashtag #SexQOTD on Twitter.

Sex Question of the Day-14

I love my lips. I’ve always loved my lips. They’re the one part of my body of which I’ve never been self-conscious, and that is an amazing feeling: to love a part of me without any reservations. I love the way they curl around words and give me power. I love the feeling of them kissing something. I love the way they accentuate my happiness when I smile. And I LOVE them all painted red.

 

Let’s talk! Leave your answer to this QOTD here or tweet it to me @QueerieBradshaw.

Posted in #SexQOTD, Body Positivity | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Queerie Me: What Do Lesbians Think of Straight Women Who Make Out With Girls For Fun

Dear Queerie Bradshaw,

I am a mom of two with a wonderful boyfriend. I have always wanted to have sex with a woman though and I am curious how lesbians view straight women who just want it for fun? Do they get offended that we are not ‘real’ lesbians?

Looking for Fun

 

Dear Looking for Fun,

Note: I use “woman” and “man” here to try to be specific to your question, but I want to point out from the start that, both in queer clubs and in life, you’ll meet a spectrum of gender identities, and that “male” and “female” also includes trans* people. Never assume someone’s gender or the pronouns you use with them. For more information, please read How Not to Be a Jerk About Gender.  

In all these years that I’ve been an active member of the gay club, I’ve yet to see someone present me with a legitimate definition of what makes someone a “real” lesbian. People often try, but in doing so they not only fail themselves but they fail the members of their community as well, ones they ostracize by putting a limit on something as abundant as sexual variations.

My advice is to worry less about not being a “real” lesbian and worry instead about being real with whomever you are courting. There is nothing wrong with being bisexual and it saddens me how much bisexuality is ostracized in the gay community. Don’t try to be a lesbian, be who you are: bisexual, pansexual, curious, ally, just some girl who wants to make out with another girl and maybe touch her boobs, whatever it is be authentic, be honest and be respectful of those with whom you have contact. That’s the only realness we can require from anyone.

Knowing who to approach and how when looking for sex is really important. It’s true that a lot of queer people are not going to want to sleep with you because you are in a relationship with a man. It’s not that being with a man is wrong, it’s that 1. with the exception of poly people, we’re often looking for someone who is single, and 2. we’re hesitant about women trying to bring us home to their men.

Take a quick perusal of your local Craigslist “women for women” and you’ll see what I mean. My first ad I ever put on Cragislist looking for another woman to date got me two responses: a woman asking me to have sex with her husband and a cis-man pretending to be a lesbian, a rude shock for me when I showed up to our first date.

Queer women constantly have to wade through the male fantasy of hooking up with a lesbian, and so many have become bitter and jaded against women who help men gain access to our world in shady ways. When we’re out looking for a woman to date or sleep with, we usually don’t want to find a man hiding in the wings. Being honest from the beginning about the role your husband plays in your fantasy, with both yourself and the women you’re meeting, will help ease that tension. Never spring the fact that you’re in a relationship, regardless of that person’s gender, on anyone.

Additionally, a lot of women aren’t going to want to sleep with you because you don’t normally sleep with women and, as you said, this would just be something you’d do for “fun”. The male fantasy is something we’ve grown accustomed to protecting ourselves from, but the female fantasy of a night with a lesbian still often catches us by surprise and hurts even more because of the shock.

When I’m out at a gay club, I’m looking for someone who calls the place home, not a tourist seeking an exotic romp while on a vacation from their ordinary world. Your fantasy is our life, a life that is constantly intruded upon emotionally, politically and physically. When your “fun” is over, you return to a life of heterosexual privilege while we’re still here fighting for equal recognition.

If you are queer and looking to explore that part of you, that’s one thing, but most queer women aren’t going to appreciate being the tick next to the box “make out with a girl” on your to-do list. Women, especially queer women, are highly sensitive, highly emotional beings and we don’t appreciate feeling used, especially by other women.

But, all hope is not lost. You know what theme resonates throughout the stereotypes of straight women looking to have fun with lesbians? Dishonesty and disrespect. I know plenty of women who are in heterosexual relationships that still sleep with queer woman and do so in a way that is physically and emotionally safe, fun and satisfying for all parties involved. It’s all in how you approach the situation.

Here’s what you can do to make the situation a fun one, instead of one that’s hurtful to you, your partner and/or the women you sleep with:

  • As with any travel into an unknown land, do your research, respect the natives and recognize that you are a visitor in someone else’s home. Don’t run in, guns a blazin’, expecting to get action from the first person you see just because she’s a lesbian and you’re a woman. Have patience, have respect and have fun.
  • While a lot of women aren’t going to be interested in being your one-time-entertainer, there are also plenty of women who, just like you, are simply looking to have a little fun for a night. Focus on finding those women, instead of going to a place where lesbians congregate. Put an ad on Craigslist, create a profile on OKCupid or a similar dating site. State honestly and respectfully what you’re looking for and people will respond in honest and respectful ways.
  • Figure out now whether your boyfriend is ever, even if only remotely possible, going to want to join you, and if the answer is yes tell the people you’re attempting to sleep with this from the beginning. Having that conversation as soon as possible may limit your options but it will also limit awkwardness, emotional pain and heartache later. For all of you.
  • Be honest, tell the women you’re involved with where you’re coming from straight away, respect our boundaries in bars/clubs/online and recognize there is a major difference between going out to a bar to score a guy and going out to sleep with a woman. Respect our emotional sensitivity in a way you’d want us to respect yours.
  • Don’t be a pillow queen. What that means is, don’t just lay there and expect the woman you’re hooking up with to do all the work. Especially don’t make assumptions based on how someone presents their gender. Know what it means to be genderqueer, butch, femme, bottom, top, boi, androgenous, trans*, switch, etc. before you go out. Learn the native language and customs.

So, to summarize, be respectful, don’t make assumptions, be honest, be authentic and use your manners. Treat the women you meet like you’d want to be treated and recognize that, at least until you get your bearings, you’re a visitor in someone else’s home. Do all of that and that’s as “real” as you need to be.

Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Queerie Bradshaw

Posted in Dating, Essays, Featured, Opinions, Queerie Me (Advice Column), Rants, Sex | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

March East Coast Tour: Catalyst Con in DC, Strap-On Workshop at Babeland NYC, Consulting in SF

It seems like I’m never home these days, which is exactly how I like it. Why? Because I love meeting my readers, other sex educators, and new friends from all walks of life, and traveling allows me to do just that.

Especially traveling like the adventure on which I’m about to embark. On Wednesday, March 12, I leave for two weeks on the east coast, followed by one week in San Francisco.

Want to come hear me speak? Here’s where I’ll be:

Catalyst Con East – March 14-16, Arlington, Virginia

Hilton Crystal City at Reagan National Airport
2399 Jefferson Davis Highway
Arlington, Virginia 22202

I’ll be around to chat all weekend, and you can hear me speak these three times:

cconE-badge3d

I’ll also be launching Frisky Feminist Press at Catalyst Con, my exciting new endeavor to bring together the stop sex educators to create judgment-free educational guides and online classes.

Join the mailing list for updates about our guides and classes!

 

Strap-On Tips Workshop – March 20, 7pm, New York City

Babeland LES
94 Rivington St
New York, NY 10002

Picking out a strap-on (and figuring out what to do with it) is serious business and Queerie Bradshaw is here to help. Her new e-book, Queerie Bradshaw’s Guide to Choosing a Harness, wants to get off of the Internet and into your pants so we invited her to divulge her best tips!

This workshop is FREE, but please RSVP so we can get a headcount.

 

Private or Group Consultations and Coaching – San Francisco and Monterey, California

After the East Coast, I’m heading to San Francisco from March 22-26 and am available for in-person, one-on-one consulting and coaching during that week for new and existing clients based in the Bay Area or Monterey.

Check out my consulting page for a complete listing of my coaching and consulting topics, including the business of blogging, gaining confidence in your body, spicing up your sex life and dating coaching.

 

If you see me around at these locales, be sure to say hi!

Posted in Announcements, Events, Featured, Meet Queerie Bradshaw, Speaking Gigs/Workshops | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Queerie Bradshaw Does the Midwest: Part 2 – Bookstores, Sex Stores and Donut Shops

“A woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.” –Virginia Woolf

While I’ve written some of my best work absolutely broke sitting in a library full of people, I think there’s something to Virginia Woolf’s concept that every woman deserves freedom and personal liberty.

There is nothing more free or liberating to me than taking off on an adventure.

One of my favorite stops on the trip.

One of my favorite stops on the trip.

As a writer, I strive to live a life worth writing about, and my trip to the Midwest was chock-full of adventure. From snowstorm white-outs to cheese curds and beer, from roadside sex shops to independent bookstores, we saw, ate, read, bought and drank everything we could get our hands on.

Here are some of the highlights:

A Room of One’s Own – Madison, Wisconsin

Named after the famous Virgina Woolf quote I referenced above, this independent bookshop is known for being a beacon for women authors and readers. I was ecstatic to finally get to see it, and the adorable touches did not disappoint. I especially liked its well-stocked, well-curated LGBTQ section.

“Then may I tell you that the very next words I read were these – ‘Chloe liked Olivia…’ Do not start. Do not blush. Let us admit in the privacy of our own society that these things sometimes happen. Sometimes women do like women.” – Virginia Woolf

Lion’s Den Adult Superstore – somewhere in the middle of nowhere off the freeway

I judged a book (sex store) by its cover (massive and on the side of the road) here, assuming that I’d get some seedy place full of bad toys, bad porn and worse customer service. I was happily wrong! The woman at the counter was very friendly (and possibly queer), the products they carried were mostly body-safe, and the atmosphere was clean and body-positive. If you live in the MidWest and can’t go to an independent store, this is a better chain than most I’ve visited.

Subterranean Books – St. Louis, Missouri

I know I’m going to like a place if the first thing I see when I walk in is April Flores’s boobs on Carlos Batts’s photo book Fat Girl. This cozy yet comfortable bookstore featured many books I had never seen before and many more books I wanted. I bought some great cards for friends and had a wonderful conversation with the sales clerk. It was a great find on our walk, and a nice respite from the cold.

The Donut Whole – Wichita, KS

Looking for a place to eat unique treats, drink coffee while reading, and check out the local Kansas queers? The Donut Whole is the place for you! Covered in kitschy art, this colorful place made me want to stay for hours.

Posted in Adventure, Bookstores, Featured, Gluttony, Sinful Misadventures, Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sex Question of the Day: How Often Do You Masturbate? #SexQOTD

Leading up to my keynote panel at Catalyst Con East – where I will be talking about sparking conversations in sexuality – I’m going to try to start some sex conversations here on the blog and on Twitter. To learn more about this project, check out the original post.

Check out the rest of the days here on the blog or use the hashtag #SexQOTD on Twitter.

How Often Do You Masturbate SexQOTD

As with most questions on frequency of sex, this one depends on my mood and my cycle. Get me ovulating, and I’m insatiable, having about six or seven orgasms a day, sometimes in one masturbation session, sometimes in multiple ones. But catch me right after my period, and I’ll go a week or two without touching myself. During my period, I reach a middle ground, about one or two orgasms a day, usually to try to help my cramps (sometimes it works, sometimes it makes them worse).

Check out the SexQOTD about your favorite ways to masturbate as well.

 

Let’s talk! Leave your answer to this QOTD here or tweet it to me @QueerieBradshaw.

Posted in #SexQOTD, Sex | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Sex Question of the Day: Which porn stars influence you the most?

Leading up to my keynote panel at Catalyst Con East – where I will be talking about sparking conversations in sexuality – I’m going to try to start some sex conversations here on the blog and on Twitter. To learn more about this project, check out the original post.

Check out the rest of the days here on the blog or use the hashtag #SexQOTD on Twitter.

Sex Question of the Day-3

This weekend, I was on a set for a plus-size guide for sex (more coming about that soon) and thought, once again, about how much seeing women my size, naked, sexy and fucking has helped me feel like I too can be sexy while fucking. April Flores, Courtney Trouble and Kelly Shibari are all about my size, and all are people I very much enjoy seeing naked. Whenever I feel like someone may not like what they see when they see my bare body, I try to remember those women and how much I like their naked bodies.

For more on my love of porn and how it has helped my self-esteem, check out my article for Vice.com.

Let’s talk! Leave your answer to this QOTD here or tweet it to me @QueerieBradshaw.

Posted in #SexQOTD, Conversation Starters, Sex Toys and Porn | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Help Me Get an Amtrak Writer’s Residency and I’ll Send You a Postcard

My love of train travel is surpassed only by my love of writing. Put the two together, and I may explode from bliss.

Please help me explode from bliss!

From an Amtrak trip from SLO to SD, I wrote the whole 6 hours and love every second of it.

From an Amtrak trip from SLO to SD, I wrote the whole 6 hours and love every second of it.

Amtrak is doing a very Beta-level writing residency program – where lucky riders just sit on a long-distance train and write – and I want – nay, I need – to be a part of it. Here’s the catch, so far the only way they pick writers is through social media, which means I need your help asking Amtrak to send me on a writer’s residency.

So, I’m asking you all to please, either using the giveaway below or doing it on your own, tweet to @Amtrak and ask them to send me on a long-distance train writer’s residency.

Alex and I on a train from Portland to Eugene.

Alex and I on a train from Portland to Eugene.

In return, I’ll send everyone who helps me (and then sends me their address) a postcard, and one lucky winner will get an in-depth, heartfelt, hopefully poetic letter about the importance of train travel in a world of high-speed planes and massive freeways.

What I will do during this residency:

  1.  Fulfill a lifelong dream of taking a cross-country Amtrak ride and writing the whole time.
  2. Get a little closer to self-publishing my memoir (the one traditional publishers said was “very well written but too niche” but I am determined to publish on my own).
  3. Get a little closer to finishing the second book in Simple Street, my diverse YA series.

So please Tweet at Amtrak, asking them to send me on a writer’s residency! You can use the rafflecopter giveaway below to help you out, or you can tweet something original using @Amtrak and @QueerieBradshaw in it.

Thanks for your support!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to know more about my love for trains? Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote for Curve magazine years ago about train travel.

“Grab your passport and follow me,” Laurel whispered my ear. She didn’t need to be so quiet, we were the only ones around who spoke English, but fear forced us into secrecy.

The man across the train car – the one who had just pulled a gun on us – asked where we were going. “To get food,” my friend replied in the calmest Russian she could muster, and he let us pass.

Less than an hour into our journey across Eastern Ukraine, a young self-identified mobster from Odessa pointed a pistol at us and, staring me in the eyes, pulled the trigger. He would later tell Ukrainian police that he was just flirting with us, but when he cackled, cocked his gun again and put it back in his holster, there was nothing anyone could do to convince me to spend any more of our 12-hour journey near this man.

The train attendants were reluctant at first to believe two American girls “crying wolf”, but a call to Peace Corps headquarter where Laurel worked soon got us a police escort for the rest of our journey.

This is the only bad experience I’ve ever had on a train.

From my first  30-minute ride through the San Diegan mountains as a child, to the trip I took last month through the Pacific Northwest, I have found train travel to be gleefully exhilarating. Where others see tracks with limited destinations, I see a journey with limitless freedoms.

I have dined on five-course meals while travelling through wine country, watched the Alps pass by while playing cards and chatted in five languages while passing under the English Channel, all on trains.

My first girlfriend and I fell in love travelling through Italy on trains. I still remember the moment at the Varenna Esino station that I looked into her eyes and realized everything between us was about to change. We held hands as we rode through the mountain passes from Lake Como to Florence and that evening I made love to a woman for the first time.

Two years later, alone and lost, I boarded my third train of the day, attempting to get to a famous castle on the hill in the Northern Czech Republic. My only companion was Sven, a ceramic gnome my friend gave me before leaving, and I took pictures of him with the red and white striped Czech train cars in an attempt to keep myself from crying of frustration.

Train travel in Italy was easier, not only because I spoke Italian, but also because their system is so well-organized– that is when they’re not on strike. The Czech Republic, on the other hand, wasn’t as straightforward, and I often found myself on the wrong train at the wrong time going the wrong way. Yet no matter how lost I got, I could always count on the lulling clickity-clack of the tracks to ease my worries and calm me into a zen like state of happiness.

 

Posted in Call for Submissions/Help, Featured, Giveaway, Headline, Sinful Misadventures, Travel | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment