Hitting the Road
In about three weeks, I leave my beloved stomping grounds in Australia for a three-month galavant through the United Kingdom and Europe. This has been a big year for me for touring, and I'm finally starting to get a wrangle on how that functions for me. It's absolutely exhilarating to incorporate travel into my work, and it's truly one of the greatest pleasures of the job. It can also be incredibly hectic, and perhaps a little awkward at times (that thing when your luggage is overweight and you open your bags to transfer things and what happens to sit at the top of the pile but a 12", 2.2kg dong). But it's something that really keeps me on my toes. Travel necessarily changes the way that I play, and has been a huge influence on the development of my practice.
BDSM sessions can require an incredible amount of gear. Some of my colleagues in the BDSM world have invested tens of thousands in their fully-equipped playspaces, including purpose-built furniture, bondage gear, fetishwear, rigging, and other equipment. They cultivate incredible spaces that say so much about their style and the way they work. Each space is incredibly different, and where I've had the opportunity to explore those spaces myself, I've gotten a lot of insight into the aesthetic and tone of their play and the way their sessions might flow. It's a sort of kinky feng shui, if you know what I mean. Whether or not they're my particular taste, I am always truly amazed at the creativity and intensity with which people set up their perfect playspaces.
Whilst I certainly enjoy sessioning in dungeons / equipped BDSM spaces, my status as a touring worker has meant that I generally have an entirely different approach to spacemaking for play. I may come back to the same city multiple times in a year without ever sessioning in the same space twice. This necessarily means something for my practice. Each time I tour, I enter into an unfamiliar space - an apartment or hotel room, for example - and begin to calculate how it can be bent to my purposes. Re-arranging and re-purposing furniture, improvising anchor points, finding ways to display (or hide, as the situation warrants!) the small collection of portable BDSM gear and toys I take on the road with me - these are parts of the process I go through each time I travel to establish my territory and create a space that I hope will hold the play I conduct well.
For me, the liminal spaces created by travel encourage me to keep the core of my attention on the connection between myself and my client. You can do a whole lot with very little gear, or in a space that is less-than-ideal, provided that you can keep the 'bubble' of intimacy intact. I pride myself on being able to enter a space I've never used before and create something within it, with or without physical tools. Some of the sessions I enjoy most are conducted with little or no gear at all. There is way more to play with in the mind and body than I can possibly get through in a few hours. Sure, it's plenty of fun to have a million different sensory inputs at your disposal, as enabled by a well-equipped space, but it's just as possible to do that using things like breath, impact, movement, and physical restraint.
I also love learning the character of the clientele in each place I visit. Each city will have its idiosyncrasies to do with things like session length, preferred modes of negotiation, preferred day of week or time of day for sessions, and even fetishes and types of play! It takes a few visits to get a strong sense of a city's character and to learn to adapt my practice to that. That process tends to feel wonderfully flirtatious, though, and it suits me - getting into some of the more dense psychology of a situation is part of my job, after all!
So while the idea of packing a bag for three whole months of kinky roaming is pretty intimidating, I know that in each destination, I'll be able to adapt and connect. Some places will suit me better than others, and I'll certainly be challenged on a regular basis by both spaces and personalities, but I'm really looking forward to the freedom that travel can offer, and the pleasure of being able to meet new people and find out exactly what makes them tick. If you'd like to catch me before I go, check out the touring information on my profile, and you might just get in for last call! I look forward to connecting with you all again when I return to Australia in November.