There are a couple of girls I wouldn’t mind to impress with my worldliness when I get back – this is not gonna help me…
02.08.2013 - 21.08.2013
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Travelling often reminds me of attending a festival. I’ve changed my daily routine, I’m absolutely free to do with the day’s 24 hours as I please and the normal rules for when to drink, relax and shower gets somewhat blurred. In fact, they often disappear altogether!
Granted, I’ve never been a freakish about my personal hygiene at home, but I usually take my daily shower, at least on days where I plan to actually leave my apartment. Anyway, I’m sure I have a rather complementary natural scent as my roommates and friends rarely complain. But I know people back home, in comparison, which would shower up to three times a day – that’s just silly.
These people probably won’t continue talking to me once I’m back after they read this. But personal hygiene just isn’t that important when I’m on the road. And I’m not alone to embrace these doubtful standards of cleanliness. Loads of fellow travellers’ standards drop when they leave home on longer trips. I like to think that it’s somehow related to the historic and romantic notions of travelling. James Cook’s sailors, the great African explorers or the first settlers of the Wild West weren’t too concerned with showers in the face of the rather dire odds for survival… But that is hardly an excuse in this day and age.
Or is it? I have, plenty of times, on this trip gone for days without getting close to a shower. Days and days where the closest to a shower I got was when I spilled water on my shirt while trying to drink it… The longest runs have probably been longer than ten days, but I haven’t really counted – that would be too disgusting!
Some of my rock-bottom accommodation didn’t have a shower (or what they called ‘showers’ would have made me even dirtier had I dared enter). For nights in a row I have been travelling on night trains or night buses, gone trekking in the mountains or camping in the dessert. Showers won’t be available for days like those, though other times I just haven’t bothered getting clean.
Somehow it just seem to be a good idea to mentally accept that you’re kind of filthy, sweaty and wearing dirty clothes in order to enjoy travelling around on a budget. When it’s not always determined when I’m gonna get my next shower, it’s just easier not to care. And once you’re there, it becomes hard to bother – even if there’s a shower right next to the dorm.
When temperatures hit 35+ you’ll be sweaty again minutes after you’ve showered, dust will cover you as soon you step outside and the dirty clothes (I’m only packing two trousers and less than a handful of boxers, which get less washed than me) suddenly feels very disgusting on my clean, baby-powdered skin.
I mean, I still brush my teeth and tongue, I still use my deo and I still splash my upper body in a sink-shower most mornings – but actually taking a full shower? I really can’t be bothered taking the time out of my schedule for that. I get up too late most mornings anyway. There always seem to be a bus leaving soon, a bazaar about to close or an epic sunrise I need to catch.
And evenings… If I’m during this travelling right am I often too exhausted – or drunk – to do anything that just flat out on a teabed or in my dorm. Usually discussing the day’s findings, the visa requirements for different citizens (for countries I’m not going to anytime soon) or whether there is an Irish Pub in Kabul (there is) or North Korea (there isn’t) with my fellow travellers. And who can possibly find the strength to get up in the middle of blood racing topics like that?
I’d almost argue that being covered in a layer of old sweat, dust and sunscreen is healthy. At least it makes me very comfortable with all my small shortcomings that people are still willing to share rooms and talk to me in such a condition… And as long as nobody can actually smell me, I really don’t need a shower… Right..?