Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Challenge to You

I just met a wonderful woman named Lisa setting in a local coffee shop where we shared some thoughtful ideas and experiences. It is always refreshing to meet people along your journey. I would like to challenge all my friends to talk to someone outside of your circle of friends and share a part of yourself and listen to their story. It is amazing what you can learn from others.

Today I met a woman writing a pile of cards to sent to her loved ones at a coffee shop. She was warm and full of kind words. It was a conversation that we were equally present in. She share stories of the area and stories from some of her travels.

The other day I encountered a homeless woman that had just arrived back in Albuquerque from Las Vegas. She told where to get a huge cup of coffee for cheap and where to get a free meal except on Thursdays. I think I enjoyed her company as much as she did. She had asked for 40 cents and I didn't have any change but I am the one that came away from the conversation richer.

So try it have a conversation with a stranger. I would love to hear of your experiences.
Best wishes to all

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holy Tamales


Staying with my Aunt Melly and Molly has been a great experience. I have thoroughly enjoyed catching up with them and getting no them after many years of being estranged. They have a beautiful home, great food, and seem to be up for adventures too.

For the first time ever, I got to enjoy Thai food at the Orchid Thai restaurant Melly and Molly shared a few of their favorite Thai foods with me. Uuuummmm… it was delicious. Then they took me to the river of lights show at Rio Grande Botanic Garden. It was so neat. I got to ride a mini train from the parking lot to the River of lights. Then, we experienced a fabulous light show of animals and larger than life plants made of lights. The children’s place was very neat. In classic Ryan form, I was acting my age (somewhere around 10) as we weaved through a maze of larger than life creatures and plant life. At the end we went to Snow people’s land. It was a work of art itself. A person could spend hours looking in to the land of glass and fiber optics. Thousands of snow people living their lives behind planes of glass made for happy pointing and conversation. We all had an amazing time.

The next day we cooked tamales and cakes. I learned to make tamales and pound cake. Melly and Molly are really good cooks. I may be spoiled for the rest of my trip. These were the best tamales I have ever had. I am so lucky to have some to take with me on my journey.
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Baby Limo

It is amazing how insecure driving a baby limo can make a person. WOW what and experience! Tiara and I went Christmas shopping and I was helping push the stroller. I would say this was like pushing a limo down a one-way alley, the wrong way, trying to avoid smashing into a trash truck, while protecting something priceless like babies. Call me crazy but it made me a little insecure. Once while shopping, A lady commented on how beautiful the boys were and that I must be a very happy father. WOW WHAO!!! All I could think of was how glad I am to not have children now and how I could see myself having children one day. My ears turned red immediately and I was so embarrassed. I guess to some folks that would be just another day at the office but for me babyland is intense. I have a great appreciation for mothers and especially parents of twins. Ethan and Dylan are very cute and much loved by their mother’s Tiara and Trish. It was truly an experience worth sharing.

Couch Surfing Cherry


Despite my nerves and fears of meeting new people I stopped in Las Vegas, NM to couch surf. It was an amazing experience one that I will never forget. I made some new friends and got to experience things that a normal vacationer or passerby would never. The couch surfing host I stayed with was wonderful. When I arrived at Rebecca’s house, my nervousness left and it was like reconnecting with an old friend. We talked and shared our stories for a bit; then she did her thing a while and I got to do mine. Then Rebecca took me to a couple of local bars where we met a couple of her friends. I met Jesse and Ben. We shared stories and talked about a variety of things for hours. They also shared some places that I might be interested in visiting along my travels. In the morning, Rebecca took me to a local coffee shop called the Traveler’s CafĂ© and a great little local burrito joint. Had it not been for Rebecca and couch surfing I would have not stopped at any of the local establishments that I was fortunate enough to experience. I found that being open to new experiences and adventures enabled me to meet new people and experience the local things that many miss. I also found that I have a lot to contribute to others as well as others have much to offer me.
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

I'm off


Well here I go. Today, I left for my much anticipated journey. But not before I lost two yahtzee games to Bernice and Tony and received a warm send off from Lisa. I am grateful to all the wonderful people in my life. I hope to meet many new wonderful people along the journey. Which brings me to my first stop, Las Vegas, NM; where I met my first couch surfing host. My host Rebecca is very nice, laid back and just a cool person. She has a wonderful funky house with lots of personality. The weather here is great; I am warm and very comfortable. Tomorrow I will get to experience New Mexican food and a good coffee shop here in Las Vegas. Then, I am off to Albuquerque, NM to stay with some great friends and my Aunt. Stay tuned for my tour of Albuquerque.
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Monday, November 30, 2009

Rules of the road


I expect this trip to be full of adventure and challange on its own but to guide me I have set up some rules to help me. So when at all possible here are the guidlines I will be adhereing to...
1: Remember to sieze the moment
2: Stay off Major interstate highways
3: Drink only local Beers and coffees
4: Support local business
5: Fill-up with gas once every 4 days
6: No Driving at night
7: Couch surf once a week (at least)
8: Write everyday
9: Talk to 5 new people at each major stop
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Thursday, November 19, 2009

Tranny’s at the University of Arizona

There is not any one way to be human let alone transgender. So, while you are already in the business of living outside of the box; do it how you feel best. Be gendered as you see fit.
Tony and I went to the U of A tonight to a transgender remembrance event. “Ask a Doctor anything” seminar, where Doc Jennifer answered many questions and talked about trans treatment. She had some good things to say about the standards of care and why doctors do it, a few of the challenges that are presented by the gatekeeper role, and spoke a lot about hormones.
After the talked I stopped and talked with many of the students who were there. I think it is important to meet trans people that are simply living their lives. Or to meet people that being transgender is just another part of their life. I think it is important to remember the struggles of others and remain a positive light for them. We have too few positive role models in this community and some communities there are none. It is good to have support, very important but sometimes we need people that cross our path that keep us longing for more in life.

Gender is a verb, it is an action.

Another thought on this topic: A speaker yesterday asked what the major legal issue is for transgender people. I responded with "It depends on where a person is along their path, because whatever the challenge is at the moment seems to be the greatest hurdle to jump." Generally speaking I am happy to be transgender and appreciate the experiences it presents. But sometimes the experience is tough and I get tired of everything being a major hassle or moment of restraint and growth.

Silver City, New Mexico

Who couldn’t love a town that was home to “Billy the Kid” or someone with toilets lining their driveway? Or a place where the people are friendly, the coffee is good, and the internet is free. Silver City is lined with mom and pop shops, home to Western New Mexico University, and copper miners.
I smiled when I left the local coffee shop to see many of the town elders setting outside in sun drinking their coffee and sharing some laughs outside the coffee house. Silver City seemed to have culture, art, and beauty. The Gila National Forest surrounds to town making the view in every direction awesome.
It is funny what just a couple of days will do to a person when they are unplugged. Tony and I went to the Mogollon Indian Cliff Dwellings and when asked what the day was, neither of us knew. Tony filled in a question mark in the space. I truly astonished that I had no concept of time or day. I knew it w as day time and that it was November. This trip will do wonders for my soul but nothing for my concept of time. When the sun rises it brings the heat and signals time to venture out my pile of blankets and when it goes down the heat is gone and it is time to go to bed. The day doesn’t seem to matter and time is only important when day or night has come. Nothing else really matters. It is only time, it is up to me to decide what I do with it. Life this way is very intentional.

Gila National Forest

I am sure the Wal-Mart guy that sold us our single day fishing license for $22, is laughing his ass off. Because...well… WE DID NOT FIND WATER IN A RIVERBED FOR 200 MILES!!! On a positive note, the view and drive through the Gila National Forest was priceless and worth every extra mile. Today, we started in Albuquerque, New Mexico with a nice dusting of snow covering the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Then saw the golden tree colors tracing the banks of the Rio Grande River that shown especially bright against a beautiful blue New Mexican sky. The land of enchantment may have been rediscovered in the small quaint mountain towns of the Gila National Forest.
Out here the only thing that moves quickly is wind. The wind seems to slow anything moving west, even the livestock set and wait out the wind. We drive through to find ourselves in terrain that looks like the southern mountains of Colorado, even though we were far from home. Pinion Pines and sage quickly turned to tall lush green pines and the roads were steep and windy. We were surprised when we crossed the continental divide at only 9,000 feet then drove like NASCAR drivers down the Gila Mountains in search of waters to fish.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

“Enchantment now comes with a price rather than a soul.”

There are certain stops along the way that bring about thoughts of enchantment and novelty. Santa Fe is one of those stops. Ten years ago I remember mom and pop shops, small diners, street musicians. My buddy, Tony, recalls greasy diners with great food that a person could afford to eat. Today, romanticism and beauty of Santa Fe gave way to the posh west and exploitation of the indigenous people of old Santa Fe. Fancy galleries and expensive coffees are the backyard of the Hilton Hotel. The glamorized west has won. Capitalism has won the enchantment of Santa Fe.
The simulation of life doesn’t seem to feel enchanting at all. A Navajo woman sitting on a milk crate waiting for the tacky tourist to pass by. Tourist scouring for good deals to take home. Boasting to friends “I bought this in Santa Fe” as if that trinket carried the spirit of Santa Fe. Maybe they did take the spirit of Santa Fe home with them. Walking the streets of Santa Fe was like something had sucked the spirit right out of the city and the people of lived there. The tourist must have transported the spirit right out through the trinkets of Santa Fe.
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Leaving Colorado

Tony and I are packed up and ready to go. We are off to Nogales, Mexico; Tucson, AZ; and the Gila National Forest. We will be gone about 2 weeks. Tony is teaching me how to travel by living in my truck and how to fly fish.
It was interesting to how anxious I was as I was waiting for the trip to began. About 2 hours into the trip I was still talking about the trip as if it hadn't started yet or as if I were waiting for a sign from the GODS that it had begun. What I realized was that there would be no sign and that there was really not a begining at all. If I were present in all moments of my life the daily trip to work or the grocery store can be just as profound as leaving for this trip that has been labled " A Trip of a Life Time".
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