Christine's 2015 Grand Tour

This article was written by Christine Parker (#704)


Introduction:

Following my successful 2-week enfemme holiday in 2014, I began planning another 2-week holiday for 2015. This time the focus would be on meeting up with family and friends on a driving trip north to Brisbane, with a couple of stops on the way there and, of course, ending with the Seahorse Ball in Sydney.

This trip with marginally longer in time compared with 2014 trip and included much more contact with people (mainly family), whereas that aspect had been rather limited with the last trip to Adelaide and Melbourne when my main contact was mainly limited to members of the trans-community.

Whereas the 2014 trip was mainly by air, this was entirely a road trip, driving up the Pacific Highway, taking several days to reach Brisbane, where I spent the largest amount of my time. I took no male clothes with me on this trip.

DAY 1: Friday 31st July: Sydney

I drove to Hunters Hill with Julie and back for the Social Meeting. Julie is a fairly new Seahorse member and now a good friend. It is great to have a pleasant travel companion on the 2-hour trips from Newcastle to Sydney and back. It makes the journey so much easier to have someone with whom to talk on the drive. Julie stays at a local motel in Toronto, so that her trip back to New England would be much easier the next day.

Click on any photo for a larger image


DAY 2: Saturday 1st August: Newcastle to Coffs Harbour

I was up at a reasonable time and finished packing a large suitcase for the trip. There are so many more things to organise and pack for travelling as a woman. I then left home by mid-morning for my longest enfemme drive ever.

I had not driven on the Pacific Highway for several decades and found the new road works made it a vastly easier drive, on mainly 4 lane expressway quality roads. I stopped briefly to fill the tank at Kempsey, before reaching Coff's Harbour in the late afternoon.

I booked into the Anchors Holiday Apartments, owned by long-time Seahorse member, Lena, who was very welcoming. She was a great hostess and interesting conversationalist. She is a massive train enthusiast and historian and she has an impressively large model train set-up in in her lounge room. We went out for a Chinese meal that evening and talked until late. Lena has had a fascinating working life and is now retired but still very busy.

DAY 3: Sunday 2nd August: Coffs Harbour

Lena (in boy mode) and I had a nice lunch at the Bowling Club and then she took me for a tour around Coff's Harbour. We had a night-in talking about all sorts of life issues. Lena's holiday apartments were very comfortable, well appointed and reasonably priced. I would recommend them.


DAY 4: Monday 3th August: Lismore & Jiggi Valley

I set off reasonably early for my trip to my brother's place in Jiggi, which is between Lismore and Nimbin. My brother, Greg, and his wife, Colleen, had first met me as Christine back in 2007, my first year out as a cross-dresser and they have always been very accepting.

I arrived around noon, but both were at work, so I went into Lismore to kill time. I was a little nervous about going into a country town dressed as a woman, but had no problems and quickly relaxed. I bought a nice long floral dress. Back to Jiggi and I was impressed by the extensions they had added to their home, which is in the bush up in the hills.

DAY 5: Tuesday 4th August: Jiggi and Nimbin Valleys

My brother went off to work, so Colleen and I drove to Nimbin for morning tea and to look in the shops. Nimbin is still a town of alternative culture and has interesting individuals wandering around. On the way back we stopped at the home of a friend, Alex, who I remembered from the early 1970's. Colleen introduced me as Christine, and after a while I told him that we had met before many years ago. He looked puzzled, then I told him my male name and he was amazed. He had realised I was trans, had not recognised me.


DAY 6: Wednesday 5th August: Jiggi to Bribane

I packed and got into the car and noticed a battery warning light come on, but the car started easily and so I started my drive to Brisbane and drove there without any problems.

I booked into a serviced apartment in West End, a nice cosmopolitan area near the river, with lots of cafes and restaurants nearby. I was booked in as Christine and parked my car in their secure car park.

Brisbane was surprisingly chilly. I went out for a walk around the area and was pleased that I had packed warm clothes. The apartment was a very good size and had a kitchen and a laundry. I unpacked all my things, as I would be in Brisbane for a week. I found a Coles supermarket and bought food and washing powder as the apartment was well setup with its own washing machine, dryer and kitchen with a microwave. I settled in for the night.

DAY 7: Thursday 6th August: Brisbane

I explored the local shops and restaurants. I found a manicurist a few blocks away and booked an appointment. I am used to Thai and Vietnamese ladies doing my nails, but this was the first that an Australian lady did them which meant that we could chat easily. She was very friendly and I could talk openly about being a cross-dresser and my trip. I will add her contact details to the Resources section of the website. Back at the apartment, I did a couple of loads of washing and had an evening in having dinner and watching TV.

DAY 8: Friday 7th August: Brisbane

I met up with my daughter, Giselle (now age 40) and we had lunch. She was very comfortable with meeting me. She had been very accepting of me when I emailed her a couple of months before and told her that I was a cross-dresser. We then drove to her home in the suburbs and met her children, son aged 18, daughter aged 15 and son aged 7. Her mother's second husband was also visiting and was friendly. We all went out to a concert where all the performers were intellectually and/or physically disabled. Giselle is a fitness instructor and takes them for classes. It was a great night. It was very chilly and I regretted wearing a knee-length dress.

DAY 9: Saturday 8th August: Brisbane

After another day exploring the local area, I got a cab out to Giselle's place for my grandson's 18th birthday party. It was another great night. I took a warm woolen coat with me. Giselle and I had a really good talk about our lives. I got a cab back to my apartment.

DAY 10: Sunday 9th August: Brisbane

I decided to explore the Brisbane CBD, stopping first at the Art Gallery and then checking out the shops. I walked back to the apartment and as the weather had warmed up, I changed into my swimmers and went down the swimming pool downstairs. It was too cold for swimming, but OK for some sunbathing; I then changed and went out for walk and a quiet night in.

DAY 11: Monday 10th August: Brisbane

I was up early to get my car sorted out. The RACQ man came and put a new battery in my car. All my paperwork (NMRA details etc.) was in my male name, but he did not even blink and was pleasant and respectful, making no reference to the apparent disparity between my male name and my female appearance.

DAY 12: Tuesday 11th August: Brisbane

I got up a bit late and had an early lunch in an Italian restaurant. I then walked down to the Museum, where I spotted another trans-woman. I decided not to say hello, but was tempted to do so. I was concerned that she may have been uncomfortable about being "read". I then walked into the CBD and found a picture theatre where "The Last Taxi to Darwin" was showing. I always like Aussie movies. Back at the apartments I had a chat with the mature lady on reception who was friendly. I went for a evening stroll, then had a quiet night in.

DAY 13: Wednesday 12th August: Brisbane

This was my last full day in Brisbane, so I shampooed my hairpiece, did two loads of washing and packed my bags. Giselle rang and asked me over dinner. I had planned to attend the Queensland Seahorse Café Night, but I decided that family comes first, so I had no hesitation about changing my plans and have the final night with my daughter's family. Again we had a great night, with Giselle and I having another opportunity to talk. It was very special for both of us.







DAY 14: Thursday 13th August: Coffs Harbour

I booked out of the apartment in the morning and heading for Coffs Harbour, taking a break at Grafton MacDonald's for lunch and ringing Lena to let her know I was only an hour or so away. Again we had a pleasant evening, including dinner out at the Bowling Club. I did notice that I did tend to get more curious "looks" in country towns, compared with the major cities, but nothing negative.

DAY 15: Friday 14th August: Coffs Harbour to Newcastle then to Sydney

I was up and packed fairly early for the longish drive back to Newcastle, arriving mid-afternoon to find Julie waiting for me. I repacked and we headed off to Sydney for the Ball. We dined at the Mercure and caught up with others who arrived early for the Friday night dinner.


DAY 16: Saturday 15th August: Sydney

As the shopping trip had to be cancelled through lack of interest, Julie and I went out shopping at East Gardens and got our nails done (a first for Julie). We bought a few things and headed back to the Mercure to socialise and get ready for the Ball. I ran into our oldest member, Phia, and offered to let her get changed in my room, as she was not staying the night. Phia's health had not been good lately and I felt it was important to give her plenty of support. The Ball was a great success, despite the numbers being a bit lower this year. Everyone appeared to have a good night. The band was great.

DAY 17: Sunday 16th August: Sydney to Newcastle

I was up reasonably early to have a breakfast and to check out. Julie and I headed north, stopping at Tuggerah for a light lunch and a couple of purchases. We then drove back to my place. I turned back into a pumpkin the next day. In all, I spent 17 days as a woman.


CONCLUSIONS

This was quite a different experience compared to my last holiday. This trip was more about spending time with people that I know, family and friends.

I over-packed again. If I had known I would have had laundry facilities everywhere I went, I would have taken less, as I was able to wash my clothes regularly. Sore feet were still an issue, but were better managed compared with last year.

It was a great experience and I have already begun thinking about 2016.


Articles Index Page