(Interlude) Tips & Tricks of a Kinky Traveler

Every single time I check my phone and e-mail, there is an increasing number of messages concerning the regards of my welfare, and for one thing it is a good indication of the amount of friends, family, and even readers that continue to look out for me. For this, I take a moment to say thank you.

Moving onto the technicalities of my journey, the first question is where on earth I got the resources to fund this venture. While I am not privy to sharing the details of my financial situation – especially on the internet – the most I can share with you is simply college funding. Not that my family approves of this regardless of the cause and purpose of this trip. Most of my budget is put towards cheap accommodations at economy inns and motels. The question naturally is how safe and secure these locations happen to be. Perish the thought that I wind up in a ‘bad’ part of town and the victim of a mugging or theft.

Travel Accommodations
The first thing I do whenever I travel to a different location is to cross reference hotel reviews with less commercialized sites such as Yelp, along with the references of locals in that area both within and outside of the fetish community. Travel agents are also a good resource for guides concerning parts of cities that one may wish to avoid; however, their advice should be checked upon first, that is in case they exaggerate their claims.

Being able to snag a bargain price stay at a hotel is good and dandy, but the last thing you would want is to wind up in a seedy location. Google is your friend. Checking the annual household income also provides a rough idea of the economic state of cities that you visit. Hostels are a good place to stay if you are comfortable with sharing a dorm with multiple people. Personally I advise that the purchase of sport locks and zip ties be used to secure luggage in those situations.

Most online booking sites also feature photos taken by guests. Naturally if these photos darkly contrast the bright colorful interior on other sites, then it may be best to seek other accommodations. Research the area you are staying at as well. Individual police websites across different cities feature a crime map of sorts. Asking locals such as cab drivers or gas station attendants may also land you an opinion of the less reputable neighborhoods.

Food & Entertainment
In terms of food and entertainment, check out one of the hotel brochures and ask if nearby restaurants have discounts for the hotel you happen to be staying at. Coupons that can be found in travel guides are invaluable. If your hotel comes with a fridge and you also happen to be on a tight budget, purchase fruits and instant foods for nourishment; most hotels come with a coffee machine that, once thoroughly rinsed out, can be used for hot water – obviously just leave out the coffee filter and whatnot. Baked goods sell for cheap at certain areas and fast food is always another option.

Never ever underestimate the use of a student card or a law enforcement/military background. Here in the United States, servicemen and servicewomen have discounts available to them; at certain establishments, students may also enjoy a reasonable discount as well. Always make sure to do your research before planning a night out in town. The transit systems between different cities run at different hours and not always on time. Being stranded out at night can be very dangerous but if there is no other option, set aside some money for cab fare, keeping in view of late night establishments.

Couch Surfing 101
The last means of accommodation comes in the form of couch surfing which is not without risks. Although the fetish scene is supportive and accepting, it is not without its own share of predators and stories of victims. Meeting a potential host for couch surfing is key and asking politely from surrounding peers about their background (otherwise known as “vouching”) is definitely a good option. Arranging to meet with hosts beforehand, looking out for red flags such as avoiding personal information and lewd propositions, is invaluable to the process.

Keep in mind that the person allowing you to couch surf is also taking an incredible amount of risk by allowing a stranger into their home. Do not hesitate to exchange living addresses, work and education information, or a security deposit in advance. Remember to be as helpful as you can, offering to contribute to groceries or take care of household chores. The most important rule is to be as respectful as possible – they are the Mother Theresa to your leprosy, the Princess Diana to your minefield. Use common sense: Coming back at odd hours in the night on a week day, drunk or high as a kite, making a calamitous amount of noise is not disrespectful – its potentially going to get you thrown out in a heartbeat.

Ask questions about their household rules. Are there rooms to avoid or curfews to abide to? Do they have any nosy neighbors or allergies to cigarettes or your brand of deodorant? Are there any pets that they have or animals that might trigger an allergic reaction? These are all valid questions to ask.

Take responsibility into your own hands and remember to be polite. Strike up a conversation while remaining modest for their generous help. You are an extended guest in their household and these people have just as much to fear as you have from them.

Safety Measures & the Monitor system
The “Safe Call” system has worked wonders throughout my trip. Basically you find a reliable and trustworthy friend that is willing to monitor your whereabouts within a certain time frame, such as 48 – 72 hours at length. Post status updates on social networking that could be anything from nonsensical musings to photographs of your travels. When attending private events or venturing to new locations, be sure to write to your buddy and notify them about these things. In addition, downloading SmartPhone apps that track your phone location via GPS satellites is also recommended when traveling alone.

If you are invited to a person’s house for a private session or casual outing, be sure it is with someone that is known to others in the community, fetish or otherwise, and inform your buddy at all times. When leaving parties be sure to tell others whom you’ve met that evening or others about where you are going and how you intend to get back. Posting a followup status on FL or Facebook can be a relief to everyone. Another useful trick is to find a piece of paper, scribble a note on your nightstand or desk, about where it is you intend to go. I confess that it has not always been that way but as of the time of this writing, it will be strictly enforced in the future.

When staying at a cheap hotel or motel, be sure to put up the Do Not Disturb sign and crank up your TV volume whenever you leave the room. This way people who pass by will assume that there’s someone still inside. Another method is to apply a thin piece of scotch tape from the door frame to the door itself whenever you leave – insuring that if someone enters your room uninvited, it would be distinct.

A safe is your best friend for storing valuables. At a more respectable location, such as a franchise hotel, one may rent out a safety deposit box to store valuables inside. Other times it may not be an option and obviously just handing your passport to the nonchalant lobby clerk at the one-star is risky; place your valuables inside a glue-sealed plan envelope. For bulkier objects, such as a laptop or camera, conceal it beneath your pillow or behind the dress cabinet; a simple trick is to place them between the bathroom towels. Keeping a written list about your belongings is useful but can be very tedious to manage on a regular basis.

Outdoor Adventures: The Concrete Jungle
Alright so you’ve got a list of things written down of where to avoid, safely stored your possessions, and have yourself a wonderful plan to tour the city. Don’t pat yourself on the back just yet. While I have no intention of fear mongering to the masses, one should always keep their guard up in a new environment; being cautious can make the difference between a splendid afternoon of tourism or one mistake away from going back home humiliated, empty handed or in worst cases even dead.

Therefore I cannot advise this enough: Use your common sense. Flashing your latest digital camera, Rolex, or snapping photos with your cell phone is a dead giveaway in some neighborhoods. When taking photography, look around your surroundings first; snatch-n-grab crimes are a rapidly growing pandemic in major tourist cities. A wallet chain can be invaluable to prevent these crimes from happening and most importantly, especially in crowded places, wear your wallet in a front pocket rather than the back.

Modesty is applicable in any given situation I find. Dress in semi-casual clothing and try to keep your phone and camera hidden. A tucked shirt with a belt can easily be loosened to shift between a formal business-like appearance to a streetwalker look. Keep an eye on your possessions as you travel around. If necessary, purchase a chapstick and empty and rinse out its contents – it should be able to store a few extra dollar bills that can be safely kept away in your pockets as emergency money.

**Outdoor Adventures: Sandy Beaches & Public Parks**
One of the greatest appeals of exploring a city are visiting the local festivals and events often set up in parks and public squares. These places offer a limitless stream of attractions and activities, drawing large crowds to it at any given time, which means that it never hurts to have a bit of added caution. Pick pockets are prevalent in major tourist cities.

As mentioned before, always keep an eye on your belongings, and carry your wallet in your front pocket. Wear tight pants or jeans for this purpose but nothing that would be too uncomfortable. Unless taking public transport, do not listen to music players – instead take in the sound and air, enjoy the view while you can, and be observant. If carrying a backpack, satchel or purse, keep them closed at all times. For backpacks, a lock is useful to prevent others from simply sneaking up and opening it, helping themselves to your valuables.

When going to the beach alone, pack light, and bring only whatever necessities you need. Buy a cheap sunblock bottle, large enough to fit a wallet, phone, or music player; empty and wash out the contents, remove the lid, and place your valuables inside. Most people will never bother to check the contents of a seemingly harmless sunblock/suntan bottle. Likewise one may also cover it with a beach towel, adding an extra layer of protection against theft.

Avoid going to public parks and playgrounds at night unless you happen to be in a well-lit environment. Most of these places can be very dangerous to a wandering traveler, new to the place, and many a horror story has taken place to the unsuspecting passerby.

Visiting the Local Kink Scene
Alright, so you’ve had enough of the local tourism and want to go out there, toy bag in hand, to explore the local kink scene. Where to begin? If you use FL or alt.com, most events will be listed according to regional directory; check with the host party via e-mail if it is open to public or whether there are certain social rules to follow. Consult the forums and ask around, attend a munch to familiarize yourself to the locals, and never ever go to a party without first informing anyone back home.

For the introverted, such as myself (hard to believe), this may be exceedingly difficult. Remember, as mentioned prior, modesty counts. You may have a massive following and reputation back home, but here in the middle of nowhere, you have little more than these unproven claims. Nobody likes to play with a total arrogant dick. Take the time to converse, ask about the local events, and most of all volunteer if you have the time. Spreading good will and contributing to another community not only shows personal character but also benefits the image of the community back home (FUCK YEAH, 604!) and at large. If the host party offers any food or refreshments, be sure to contribute any funds you have, and always be polite enough to ask if you may contribute to the food.

Always remember to check on the house rules at parties and venues. Ignorance is no excuse for bad behavior and reputation is golden in the fetish community, that is unless you want every single party to bar you from entering due to inflicting harm on others or simply having a bad attitude. Do not go in expecting to play with random people right off the bat – you’re a stranger after all, and these things take time and introductions to make. Do not set high expectations from the get go but rather be amiable yet courteous, socialize and engage in light conversation. Just remember to clean your own mess afterwards – food or otherwise.

If someone invites you back to their place for an after party, be sure to notify someone (coughbuddycough) about where you are going. Not to encourage gossip, it never hurts to ask about someone you may wind up playing with or leaving the party with; believability is one thing, but having the benefit of doubt is another – never worry about drawing the scrutiny for these questions since it is your own welfare that is at stake. In most, if not all, past cases I’ve insured that the person inviting me is someone I’ve met, friended on FL, and seen multiple times in public.

Most public venues, social or play parties, offer a stream of local information. Ask around and be polite. Do not hesitate to answer questions concerning your home community. Just remember to emphasize that your own opinion of it does not represent it as a whole (coughyouguysdontpaymeenoughcough). If you happen to be a smoker, such as myself, don’t be afraid to ask if anyone has a smoke allergy – the most frightening incident, back in Vancouver, took place when the person I sat next to suffered a moderate allergic reaction from my habits.

The golden rule is to always be respectful. You are a guest, a stranger, and an outsider to a community or a family of friends. Your very presence is accounted for, but by entering a party or a gathering, your own personal conduct will determine the course of your satisfaction. While the fetish community is open to everyone, remember that some of these men and women, whether Top or bottom, have been here for far longer than you have. Some of them have experienced unimaginable hardships and abuse, others are familiar and cautious about avoiding them; at times they may be wary, especially in states oppressed by law, but their reasons and concerns are legitimate. Their community, no matter how new or old, has been developed through love, dedication and effort – threatening it or any of their members will quickly earn you the ire of everyone else. In every community you come across, it can easily be said that their inhabitants look out for their own, and if you acknowledge these simple facts there may be a place for you.

Afterword
In closing I will add that the world can be a very scary place therefore I cannot emphasize this enough: Use common sense. The most fundamental element towards surviving at large is to think clearly, be rational and never argue against simple basic logic. Dark alley with ominous figures down the lane? Avoid it. Crossing into the United States border? Don’t bring a whip, metallic claws, knives or instruments that might scare the customs agents. Awesome new phone or camera? Keep it close at all times..

If there’s anything that kinky people are good at, what with their methods of expanding their sexual horizons, it is the ingenuity of their cunning and wit. Heavy groceries and no transport? A standard clip-on ring, sold at dollar stores, can support an average 50-100 lbs of weight. Too much shopping for the day? Use your toy or rope bag instead. Fragile electronics (not vibrators) susceptible to rain and weather? Cover it in saran wrap or mummification tape. Your hair brush can also be used as a spanking tool.

With these things in mind, I strongly encourage everyone to find time to explore the world at large, and meet the people that encompass its cities. There is always room for adventure, no matter how old you are, the kind that is simplistic yet rewarding. Be vigilant, this day and age can be harsh, but be imaginative to the world beyond. That or if you happen to be an amateur adventurer like me, carry a big stick, have a sharp attitude, and always remember to have a safe journey.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Journal, Personal Thoughts/Insight and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s