Photo credit: Rhys Harper of The Transcending Gender Project
Hi! My name is Malcolm Ribot. I’m a transgender individual, and some of you may know me as #FTMTraveler on social.
I’ve spent long hours in the car driving around the country with my well mannered pup. I’ve made my way around to over 30 states in about 6 months, and have visited and helped connect with upwards of hundreds of other trans men thus far.
Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll need to be smart when you travel; I have been staying frugal using my savings and credit cards while still paying monthly bills on top of food and gas.
For anyone looking to go on an adventure around or across the country, here are a few tips for how I’ve been able to travel this far for this long (and have a blast doing it!)
1. Keep fit and clean on your cross country trek
Want a cheap way to be able to both workout and shower all over the country while you’re traveling either for an extended period of time or for shorter trips? I got myself an inexpensive membership to one of the many national gym franchises that allows me to do both almost anywhere I go! These gyms are all over the place, and the membership I got allows me to use any of their locations as well as a friend! So, if you have a travel buddy, they can work out with you and also not stink up your car. Plus check out these trans fitness tips to take with you on the go!
2. Know where you can sleep
Reach out to brothers you know who might have a couch for you. You might even try reaching out to trans people you haven’t met yet via forums, social media, or friends-of friends — it might be the start of an awesome new friendship! We have a wonderful community full of kind and helpful, loving humans who might be willing to lend you a hand with a place to stay and some friendly conversation for the night while you’re passing through. If there aren’t any trans folks in your area or if you’re more comfortable sleeping solo, you can camp out in campsites or sleep safely in your parked vehicle in the lot of a certain popular 24 hour supercenter. (They even have apps to help you find safe overnight parking.)
3. Don’t forget to eat well
Maintaining a healthy diet can be tricky on the road. This is something I didn’t quite master my first 6 months out, but I have a couple plans to try for the future. Go grocery shopping for wet and dry non-perishable food items: canned tuna/other meats, vegetables, fruit cups, applesauce, meal and granola bars, nuts, dried fruit, etc. It can be tough not to eat out everywhere you go (especially if you are going somewhere known for specific delicacies), but if you are on a tight budget and want to stay healthy, these non-perishable foods are a lifesaver. You could also prep meals at a friend’s/brother’s home while on the road, or take along a one burner camp stove and the small set of pots and pans on your travels. Depending on where you’re traveling, if there are grocery stores readily available often, you could even purchase small portions of meats and fresh vegetables to either eat cold (if the ingredients are fully cooked, of course) or cook just enough for a meal or 2 each day, keeping your leftovers in a cooler with ice in the meantime. Either way, buying food at a grocery store tends to be cheaper than always eating out.
To check out more from my travels and to see and connect with brothers near you, feel free to follow me on Instagram @gorillashrimp or #ftmtraveler, and Tumblr, Twitter, and YouTube all @gorillashrimp. I also have a travel/mission specific Facebook page: Malcolm Ribot – FTM Traveler, where you can view albums per state with all of the brothers I’ve met thus far and keep up to date with where I’m at and where I’m heading next.
–Malcolm Ribot (FTM Traveler)