I get out and about as often as I can. Because I have a very demanding job, that means less often than I’d like. However, a consequence of being trans, particularly when my wife takes quite an aversion to my being so, is that I have to think carefully about my social life. Activities are often planned well in advance, especially if they involve meeting up with a friend, and an unexpected consequence of this has been that I have often made a more determined effort to plan for “down-time” than I might otherwise have done. This has undoubtedly been a benefit to my mental health! While I don’t think I ever plan an excursion specifically as a means of relaxation, its certainly been the case that they have regularly jolted me out of the stress of my day-to-day existence. The picture above was taken on an evening out in Leeds, and the picture below at the National Railway Museum in York.
I travel quite a lot with my work, and this provides opportunities to have excursions: often there will be a little down-time while waiting for a flight at the end of a meeting, or I’ll tag a weekend onto a trip and do some sight-seeing. The photo below was taken in the beautiful city of Genoa, in front of the Cathedral of San Lorenzo. A short way away is the Ducal Palace, which houses a fabulous art gallery – well worth a visit. The labyrinthine streets and alleys were great fun, full of intriguing shops – although its very easy to become disoriented. I managed a trip to Milan at the end of the visit, which was a really memorable experience.
I managed a visit to Amsterdam in 2016. My hotel was a little outside the centre of the city, but had bicycles for hire. This is without doubt the best way to see Amsterdam. On the first day I cycled for almost an entire day along the dykes. It was the most fantastic fun. It is easy to forget that one is in a major European city – the cobbled streets and beautiful architecture feel more redolent of a large village. But Amsterdam also offers grand architecture and some stunning art museums, such as the Rijksmuseum where I spent a second day sheltering from the rain and revelling in masterpieces by Rembrandt and Vermeer.