After I was discharged from the Army in 1975, I essentially loaded all my possessions (including my ever present gender dysphoria) into the back of a VW Beetle I had bought in Germany, spent some time at home in Ohio and headed for Texas. I had a real close friend who was being discharged about the same time in El Paso. (Ft. Bliss)
I had packed my stash of women's clothes and almost was brave enough to try my hand at walking around outside my room at a motel I stayed at on the way down to Texas. The mirror was busily lying to me and telling me I was the best looking blond ever when I came to my senses, became scared and spent the rest of the trip feeling guilty about at least trying a short trip to the motel's restaurant/bar.
Of course I didn't have too long to ponder my insecurities when my car broke down outside of El Paso in the dessert. I don't even remember now what I did to get a hold of my friend in the dark ages before cell phones, so I waited until the morning and flagged down another motorist to get me to the nearest garage. Fortunately, all I had was a destroyed distributor cap (remember those?) so relatively quickly I was back on the road with too much time to think about my future.
My friend was married so I slept in the guest room and both of them worked during the days so I could cross dress to my heart's content. Unfortunately I was becoming increasingly frustrated with simply staying inside. Looking back, I should have started to realize then I was so much more than a cross dresser but I would continue to try to outrun or out drink my feelings.
After a couple months I moved back to Ohio if for no other reason than I knew the territory better and what I would have to do to try to finally try to get out the door as a woman. I can use the "woman" word now because back in those days, transgender wasn't even used as a word and quite frankly I didn't know what I was.
The defining moment I do remember was the first time I saw my reflection in the window of a store on another night I yet almost went into another.
The huge defining moment of my life though, came in 1975 when my first wife was discharged from the Army and came to live with me in Ohio and about the time I was about to run back to Texas, we found out she was pregnant. (Even with birth control.) My daughter beat the odds and forced me to settle down.(Kind of.) I went back to school, bought a small bar with my friend and tried to out drink who I really was.
The revelation was still decades away.