Travel Challenges: The Shower

shower ninjaIt never occurred to me that travelling domestically would involve so much mental energy given towards executing a proper shower.

I’ve showered in 12 different places since I ceased to have my own. Something like one-third of those twelve showers had the hot and cold tap labeled incorrectly. Some had no place to put a razor or bottle of shampoo where it would not immediately fall into the tub. Only one had radio as a permanent fixture. Blessedly, all had plenty of hot water.  You don’t think about how different showers can be from one another – even when they’re all in the same country, with the same level of access to things like water and technology and whatnot – until you have to figure out a new one (seemingly) every day.

How do you make the water come through the shower instead of the faucet below? Where can you put the clean towels so you can reach them without dripping all over the floor? Are there clean towels? Where do you put the towels once you’re done? Did you remember to put your shampoo/conditioner/razor/body wash in the shower before you got in?

I know, these are not difficult questions. But how often do you have to ask them, on a regular day? Never, that’s how many. You do have to remember to buy shampoo when you run out, but it has a place it belongs, and you probably stopped thinking about that place a long time ago.

In my world, showers happen in the morning. Morning is not the best time for Bev to come at a problem with all cylinders firing. I was shocked at how often I failed at showering by having to drip on the floor to retrieve some forgotten item, wasting five minutes waiting for the cold water tap to give me warm water, or being unable to determine where I should really be hanging those wet towels. And I was sure I’d mastered showering before graduating high school.

Turns out showering is not the only thing I struggled with. Did you know that not every town in America has a Fred Meyer and carries my favorite breakfast foods? Or that hair salons do not all like people to just walk in and ask for a hair cut for less than $20? Also, toll roads: Can we all decide on one way for them to work and stick with it? And why can’t I buy an EZPass somewhere on those many toll roads that wants me to use one so badly? Seriously.

I knew that quitting my job and running away would present me with new and interesting experiences.  I just didn’t realize they would show up in the form of failed hygiene rituals and a burning desire to return to my neighborhood grocery store. Life is some crazy shit.

I can’t believe I only have one photo from a bathroom in the last few months – I’m always taking pictures of weird bathrooms! All I’ve got is a photo from Reed’s birthday weekend, during which we rented a house where ninjas were lurking everywhere, even in the shower.

Bev’s First New Rule of Travel

When in doubt, take your stuff with you.

I’m on the Maine coast for the weekend – gorgeous sun, beaches and rocky coastlines and seafood restaurants every block. I mostly came to see the Atlantic Ocean – having driven over from Oregon, I felt like I had to go All The Way, so I could legitimately say I’d driven all the way across the continent in my little red POS.*

Atlantic Coast, Maine Coast
Cool library!

I got a cheap room on Orbitz** that was close to the beaches and not far from Portland, ME. Also have to go to this Portland over here because, duh.

I’ve been at Laurie’s house for more than two weeks now, and I got all settled in and shit – took the tubs with extra clothes, snacks and whatnot into the house. I unloaded the bags I had full of ‘hotel room’ amenities like paper plates and extra cups so I could use those bags for other things.

I looked at all that stuff when I was packing to come here this weekend. Looked right at it, and then left it behind. And I’ve been mad at myself ever since.

List of things I left behind that I totally could have used in the last 24 hours:

beach towel
paper plates (purchased again)
crackers and cashews for snacks (purchased again)
actual shorts (rather than just capris)
laundry bag for dirty clothes
HDMI cable so I could watch something I *chose* instead of whatever was on TV

List of things I just got lucky were still in the car:

fork/spoon/knife set (you know those three little ones on a ring, that you have for camping? Yeah, those) to eat the ice cream I bought at the store and to stir my tea in the morning

beach chair (which did a pretty good job of replacing the towel I would have laid on at the beach)

Ogunquit beach, Atlantic Ocean, Maine Coast
Taken from my beach chair. These two girls were having a blast jumping over the waves, and the sailboat decided to make my photos even cooler.

It’s not even that I left anything important behind, or that my trip is ruined, or I spent a lot of money on things I didn’t need. It’s just SO annoying to know that the exact thing I wanted SHOULD have been in the car, and would have been if I’d been on the road rather than planted somewhere. These were the things I carefully curated before leaving Susan’s house, to maximize the useful things I’d have with me without carrying around a bunch of stuff I wouldn’t use.

I didn’t really pack a lot of extra stuff, so I should really have it all with me. Again, duh.

Now I have to figure out what I’m taking back to Portland, OR in a few weeks. The car-traveling-kit is too big, and a lot of it is pretty specific to traveling by car – but I don’t want to spend weeks pissed off that I left a stupid towel behind.

*And yes, I acknowledge that Portland is not on the coast, but I have indeed driven that car to the coast – more than once – so I’m totally counting it.

** I’ve used Orbitz a few times now & I’m liking it. They keep sending me discount codes, and I earn points with them pretty quickly that will get me a free hotel room soon. No, they are not paying me to say this. But I’m totally willing to accept any and all such endorsements, if anybody knows somebody there.