15 things I’ve learned in 6 months (and counting) on the road

I’ve been on the road for over 6 months now. Here are a few tidbits I’ve learned.

  1. The single most important aspect of traveling long term in a vehicle is having a comfortable place to sleep.
  2. People as a whole are simultaneously much cooler in general, and occasionally also much more fucked in the face, than a settled familiarity might have you believe.
  3. Unscented baby wipes, while not entirely sustainable/earth friendly, are one of those industrial world things I am not going to give up. When dried out, theym ake great firestarters. Also: ALWAYS keep your extra napkins.
  4. A spray bottle of lightly fragranced water within reach is a godsend when you live in a van with no amenities or air conditioning, and are a great substitute for running-water showering. When it’s extra hot, like when I was working outdoors in Austin Texas in the dead of summer, adding about 20% alcohol to a bottle of water makes the cooling effect more pronounced.
  5. Trapping a sweatshirt in a rolled up window and driving around a bit does, in fact, do wonders for getting rid of the smell of smoke from ones clothing.
  6. A tiny bottle of lightly scented hand sanitizer works great for smelly arm pits between spraybottle showers, and has allowed me to use cancer stick deodorant very sparingly, generally only during ‘that time’ of the month when even two showers a day wouldn’t fend off the pitfunk.
  7. Keep every zip-lock bag that comes with anything you buy. Not only are they absolutely essential to making your first human poop pickup a bearable experience by giving you a method of hermetically sealing the doobag until you find a trash can somewhere, they are great for stinkyfood trash, storage, and keeping things dry in your ice chest.
  8. Have an ice chest.
  9. Keep grocery bags, too. They are good for trash, the aforementioned poop scooping incident, and also keeping the neverending trickle of things you realize you don’t actually need/want to give away organized. I have about half the crap I started my trip with.
  10. If you are a woman/penilely challenged, get yourself a pstyle. Changed my entire world.
  11. Thermos. You need one. Make it a good one.
  12. The dead of night is the best time to get shit done. Also night shift waitresses in 24 hour diners really appreciate people who are not being drunk assholes and sometimes offer to fill your thermos with road coffee for you.
  13. Hiking pack > Rolling suitcase.
  14. Grocery store > Fast food.
  15. Wherever you go, there you are.


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