7,568. That’s how many miles I’ve traveled in the past two weeks. A Sex Week keynote speech at a small liberal arts college in rural Iowa, a presentation at a Women Grow Signature Networking Event in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and three separate trips to Los Angeles. I brought my geekiness all over the United States in the past 14 days — even sharing my stories and perspectives with folks I randomly met at the airport.
Medicating on the road can be tricky, especially when visiting prohibition states and dealing with federal regulations. LAX airport recently released new, more relaxed guidelines regarding traveling with cannabis, but there are no guarantees. I like to stick with edibles and vape pens if I happen to be traveling. When in doubt, I rely on the generosity of others. I know I’m always happy to offer some flower to an out-of-town visitor who might be otherwise without, and I’ve found that sentiment returned when I travel.
Sometimes the culture in California makes me feel like I need a passport to visit other states, especially those known to be more rural or conservative. Southern California is warm, literally and figuratively, and I have become accustomed to the smell of burning sage, the sight of crystal-toting humans in yoga pants, and the reliability of finding avocado something on every single food menu. I frequently worry that I won’t quite fit inwhen I visit other states, especially since I’ve gone so heavily progressive and witchy since ditching the East Coast in 2013. I was delighted to find that I worried needlessly.
I was returning to Cornell College in Iowa for the third year in a row, which was especially cool because some of the students who brought me out for the first time in 2016 have now graduated and are living their lives, but still come back to visit when I’m in town. The current students who bring me out are all trained sexual assault crisis counselors, and I get to regale them with tales from my own humble beginnings as a rape crisis counselor in college. My talk was about queer sex and the things you’re not taught in school (not about sex and cannabis, at least), and when I asked students to raise their hands if this was the first time they were hearing queer-affirming, pleasure-positive sex information from an adult, almost every hand went up. Clearly, I need to visit more colleges.
I found myself invited to Ann Arbor after giving a pre-conference talk to the Market Leaders at the Women Grow Leadership Summit back in February. I’d never been to Michigan, and pretty much everything I knew about the state came from the “American Pie” movies. Not a helpful education, it turns out, because Michigan has had medical cannabis since 2008 (although dispensaries only started opening in 2016). Last week, Michigan voted on a measure legalizing recreational cannabis, which was heavily supported by the local business owners with whom I spoke. I was having lunch with a bunch of the executive leadership of Bloom City Club in Ann Arbor, and I remember looking around the table feeling absolutely thrilled to be connected with such powerful, motivated women.
I’m going to do a longer blog next time about the incredibly transformative experience I had during one of my trips to L.A. for my first every Body Sex workshop, but suffice it to say, an extremely close-knit community was forged that day, too. I am so grateful for the ways that passion and kindness can bring people together, no matter their geography.