Travel Tips With Train Slut

When I reveal that I’m traveling alone, whomever I’m speaking with usually expresses a degree of surprise and then praises my independence and bravery. “Wow,” they’ll say, “good for you.” This comes from locals and fellow travelers alike.

On this trip in particular I’ve met several women traveling alone. My first night in Brussels, my hostel room consisted of myself and two other twenty-something ladies exploring on our own. I spent an entire day with two girls (I use that word reluctantly, and only for the sake of diversity), one a recent college grad, and the other about to begin her final year. We drank a lot of beer and ate a lot of fries. Over a few bottles of cherry beer we talked about the loneliness of solo travel. Sure, sometimes it would be nice to have another human along for the ride to share the beauty with. But it’s liberating not to have to adhere to anyone else’s agenda. To not be in a rush.

Plus, moving to another country and traveling on my own has been the best education I’ve ever received. Leaving behind everything and everyone I know and love, being foreign, learning languages, and walking five-hundred miles across a nation all helped me find my way back to myself. I won’t say that I “found myself”, but I have stopped running from myself.

For me, traveling has been about letting me be my own home.

And while this lifestyle has been good for me, that’s not to say it’s been easy. Travel is fun, but anything worth doing requires a bit of work, and I’ve picked up some insider knowledge along the way.

I’m going to share some of those tips with you right now.

Welcome to Train Slut’s first-ever listicle: Travel Tips.

1) Never ever forget condoms.

Just don’t do it. You never know when a hot ginger will want to fuck you in a graveyard.

2) Get drunk every day.

In many places booze is cheaper than water. Save your money and make yourself a more pleasant person to be around.

3) Keep WiFi on your phone switched on.

For real, this is actually practical. Google Maps can still show you your location even if you’re not connected to the internet as long as you have WiFi switched on. Science, yo. Maybe you don’t want the NSA knowing where you are. Ok. Then stop being a baby and ask somebody.

4) If you turn your underwear inside out, you have two pairs of underwear.

Think about it.

5) Make sure your hostel room is empty before jerking off.

Because if you don’t, you might be a weird French dude celebrating life’s greatest gift and end up making eye contact with a nice American girl you thought was sleeping when she rolls over. Look, I’m all for self-love, but God made private shower stalls for a reason.

awkward

You’re welcome.

Don’t Cry For Me, I’ve Already Done It Enough For The Both Of Us

I wanted to give you better than this. I have a detailed list of backlogged updates, and my intention was to have them all to you before I started working. But my first day is tomorrow and you haven’t even seen the second city I visited.

The next post in the queue was meant to be a funny list of travel tips. You’re not getting that today and here’s why:

This weekend I suffered a mild emotional breakdown. It hit between Saturday and Sunday around 4 AM when the entire world was asleep. I woke up around 3, which has become something of a pattern for me since I’ve returned to this continent. Most nights I can roll over and reunite with sleep within a few minutes. This time, however, a family of jitters rented out a penthouse suite in my chest cavity. The night before I’d gotten into bed at 9:37 PM. I was recovering from a cold, high on weed-infused tea, and procrastinating the dozen or so writing projects I have started but can’t seem to make progress on. Surely this state of impermeable alertness was punishment.

I’d been in this house over a week and my suitcases still sat in a corner, spilling their plushy innards onto the floor. Thus, unpacking seemed a worthy use of my time.

Living alone has benefits, not the least of which is being able to blast Florence + The Machine without the slightest consideration for other human beings. I made the bed to give myself a flat surface upon which I could thrust every article of clothing I own.

Somewhere between putting dresses on hangers and folding Superman underwear, I was struck with the reality and the permanence of my decision. Also, I realized if I want to get laid this year, I’ll have to drive somewhere. No more ten-minute metro rides to DickTown. No more bottomless wine on dates. No more late-night burritos in lieu of hookups.

This sent me down a teary vortex for around two hours. During this time I: missed Madrid, missed my friends, questioned my decision to come home, chastised myself for my inability to finish a goddamn thing in my life, sent a Tinder message, told myself I’ll never be a writer, ate hummus, wondered if anyone will ever love me, brushed my teeth.

Around 6 AM I managed to fall asleep again, and was greeted with dreams about decapitating home intruders with a serrated knife. The whole episode rendered me incapable of leaving the house for the entirety of yesterday. I spent most of the day chasing sleep and online shopping for a therapist in my area. It seems there aren’t any that accept my insurance, which I only have for another two months anyhow. Happy birthday to me. My quest to improve my mental health seems to be leaving me less mentally healthy.

I’m better today, but I’m still in the midst of the shame spiral and fighting with myself to get out of my own way and get some fucking work done.

When I arrived in Massachusetts a little over a week ago, my mood seemed to lift immediately. I thought the worst of it was over.

image1

I took this from my window the other day. HOW DARE I BE SAD?!

But being back here is fucking hard. Really fucking hard. I expected this. I am smart enough to know it will be ok. But I could still use a hug.

And hey, if you want to see happier updates, I could use a bit of accountability. If you like reading this, email me at bb@trainslut.com and remind me to keep writing. I know you’re out there, fans. (We need to think of a cute name for you like GaGa’s Little Monsters, or Justin’s Beliebers, but, like, sluttier.) I know you’re out there craving new shit but not wanting to bother me about it. You’re not bothering me. I respond well to a little ass-kicking.

Oh, PS, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my first (and only) WordPress subscriber. You know who you are. xoxo

I Missed You, I Promise

I’ve been a very bad slut, my friends. By this I mean two things: 1) I’ve been bad at being a slut (i.e., not sluttin’ it up enough) and 2) I’ve been bad at telling you about my slutitude.

I’m back home in the U.S. now, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do on this bad boy. Most of my days being back in America have consisted of trying not to cry in supermarkets at the overwhelming selection of yogurt, and remembering to smile and ask the bank teller how he’s doing because if I don’t I’ll be a horrible gremlin. It’s been a rough transition, but my mood has stabilized a bit and I’m starting to feel like an American human again.

First off, I’m sorry. Sorry for not writing to you since Scotland. Since we last spoke, I covered around 3,000 miles (~4,800 km) of Europe, kissed one more boy, and wanted to kiss dozens of others.

When I began this blog I had the hope, but not the expectation, that I’d gain a following. Yet I’ve done exactly that. Which is damn cool, so thanks. However it’s also terrifying. You’re a small yet loyal group, and many of you are my friends. Good friends. And I feel I owe you an explanation.

I wish I could tell you the lack of updates between then and now is owed exclusively to all the fun I was having. It’s not. The truth is, after I published the last update about my graveyard tryst, I experienced a mild meltdown.

This was nothing debilitating, to be sure, but I did panic about what this whole thing meant about me. What did it say about me as a person that I was sharing all of this information? What did it say about me that I wanted to share this information? It felt exhilarating to be so open about the details of my sex life, but it also made me deeply vulnerable.

And really, that’s the curse of being a slut: in the best of times it’s liberating and just plain fucking fun. At the worst of times it’s thankless and even isolating.

But still, it’s one thing to do it, it’s another to talk about it, and it’s something else entirely to publish it on the goddamn Internet. My internal regret monkey had a shit fit the day after I told you all about that blow-job.

If you don't get this gif, go watch Inside Out, then come back so we can be friends bc right now we can't.

If you don’t get this gif, go watch Inside Out, then come back so we can be friends. Because right now We. Just. Can’t.

Except this time it wasn’t over impulse-purchasing another vibrator that I really didn’t need. This time it was because I’d revealed to everyone with an IP address that I’m some sort of deviant. (Regret monkey’s words, not mine.) Not for gettin’ down, but for talking about it.

In the search for the origin of this fear, I traversed a long cold road through a land of judgment and things I’ve learned about being a woman. I wanted to know if this fear was grounded in any sort of empirical truth. Is it inherently, objectively wrong to share the details of my slutitude with friends and perfect strangers alike? As I Magellaned my way down to the depths of that nasty, drippy cave of a place where I store all the ways I’ve been socialized, I discovered that, no, prolly not. In fact, it might even be good for me and for other people. I probably learned this bullshit from a lot of somewheres.

When I got home I had lunch with my mother. She said, “I read your blog. Even after you told me not to.”

“Oh god,” I said.

“Yeah,” she said, “I should’ve listened to you.”

Indeed she should’ve. This morning I mentioned I was going to update it today, and she released a noise of abject horror and told me to please not bring it up again. I suppose that conversation didn’t help matters and probably has something to do with the struggle I’m facing at this very moment to birth this heaping pile of confession.

This fear was born from a giant womb of shame. It was born from myths I should’ve unpacked and gotten over in Women’s Studies 101 but that still sneak up and haunt me when I’m trying to get off or, like, write about them. Stupid shit like, “women’s pleasure is secondary to men’s.” Y’know, that stuff.

But then there was stuff that’s still eerily true.

Things came up like about how women are meant to be the gatekeepers of sex. I started thinking a lot about this and how much this has damaged me. (Please bear with me while I work through this shitty heteronormative view of sex/relationships and totally ignore a spectrum of sexuality for a second, sry, brb.) The idea that women are the ones who get the last word on whether or not sex happens at all.

“You’re a girl,” even some of my most well-meaning dude friends will say, “You can fuck whenever you want.” As if boobs are some sort of all-access pass to bang town. (They’re fuckin’ not, btw.)

Then there’s that awful joke/analogy that tries to explain away the double standard by saying, “A key that opens every lock is a great key, but a lock that can be opened by any key is a damn shitty lock.”

ew

What was/is bothering me the most, I think, is that I buy into this, try as I might to fuck as freely as I damn well please. Because here’s the thing: women may still the gatekeepers to sex, but men are the gatekeepers to relationships.

What I loved most about traveling was that it took the pressure off dating and the hookup scene entirely. This was good for me in a lot of ways that I’m sure I’ll cover at some other point when I get into the nooks and crannies of the dates and non-dates I partook in on my travels. (This shall be reserved for future, happier updates.)

I allowed myself to truly not give a fuck about the outcome of any social interaction. Because I’d be on my way to another country in any given 48-hour period. There was no time for attachment. The future was off the table. When I’m settled in a place, part of me is always hunting for someone to enter a pattern of “binge-watch Parks & Rec, fuck, repeat” with. And in those times, I worry about being too “easy.” I’ve hushed my libido on first dates to preserve my chances at securing a second. The worst part? That shit works.

So, maybe I get to decide when and where the pants come off, but I’m not the one who gets to decide if I’m worthy of meeting the parents. (For the record, I haven’t made it that far with anyone. And it’s damn hard not to wonder whether that has to do with my “carefree” attitude.)

I’ve decided from now on to always bang on the first date (provided I want to, that is) until I meet someone feminist enough not to give a fuck. Because anyone who would care is not someone I’d want to date anyway.

And even though I have to contend with this double standard from the people I fuck, the reason Slut Town is such a lonely place is because most of the judgment and slut-shaming I face comes from other straight, cis women.

To be fair, no one has said anything negative to me, or to my knowledge even about me. In fact, the general response to this blog and the way I conduct my affairs has been incredibly positive. Many people say, “You’re awesome.” A few have called me their hero. Nearly everyone laughs. This probably has something to do with my impeccable delivery. But I think most people laugh because the way I conduct my affairs is a bit absurd. Laughter is* born from a betrayal of expectations. That’s why we laugh out of discomfort just as we laugh out of joy. My friends will probably argue that they do expect this sort of thing out of me. However, being a slut and open about it is disruptive in a way. Therefore, it’s funny.

But I digress; the judgment I’m talking about tends to come in the form of sharp glances. It’s the sort of understated malice girls get really good at when we learn that we’re supposed to be nice to each other and we’re supposed to compete with each other. This judgment comes in statements about other women. Things like, “She has no self-respect.” Every time one woman calls another a slut with venom on her tongue, it poisons me. It poisons everyone. Because even though they’re “not talking about me,” that’s exactly what the fuck they’re doing, whether or not it’s their intention.

And you know what? This steaming pile of shit is still wrapped up in a white bow of privilege. Because even through all of this, as a cis white woman, I’m allowed to be more than my sexuality (if I’m seen as having a sexuality at all). While I’ve had a handful experiences when I felt exoticized, I’ve never once felt like I was reinforcing any stereotypes about my race by being sexual or being open about my sexuality.

You know what else? I don’t know what the hell to do about it. Except to keep telling my story with as much brutal honesty as I can. And fuck, if nothing else, it’s entertaining. And entertainment is useful. I have to believe that.

P.S. Update on the Crypt Keeper: He texted me a couple days later at 4AM with the following: “I’m sorry. I’ve been a dick because I thought I’d never get the flat to myself to fuck you but now I’m sitting here alone realising** I could be fucking you right now…”

Isn’t that romantic? I wonder how many goats his family has.

 

*I have no idea if this is true, but I’m trying to remove “I just think” from my lexicon.

**British spelling for historical accuracy