He Said/She Said: So it’s come to this…

He Said/She Said: So it’s come to this…

While traveling for a long time in distant lands there are a lot of comforts of home you have to give up.  That was how it started at least.  There was no Whole Food’s I could sneak off to for snacks, the beds were of questionable quality and cleanliness, our wardrobes were severely limited.  The longer you go though you start to stoop lower, you do things that would be downright shameful to your former self.  You do things that surprise you as they cross boundaries that you were certain were impenetrable.  Here are the things we are most surprised that it has come to…


I wish I could say this is a short list, that there just weren’t many things that I’ve had to do that breached my established comfort level, but the reality is that I don’t even know where to start.  Some things I’m just not willing to mention online, even  worse though are the things I don’t even realize I am doing now that would have been unacceptable in my former life.  Here is a selection of “I’ve been on the road too long” things I’ve been doing.

Sharing deodorant with LOCAVORista. I noticed she smelled quite nice when she purchased new deodorant in Hong Kong and thought I’d give it a try.  Just kidding, that is absolutely not how this happened.  I have used Old Spice since I began using deodorant, I like the smell and my wife does too, sadly I ran out in Beijing to find they do not sell men’s deodorant here.  Actually they do sell one, that looks exactly like the women’s kind LOCAVORista has, for about $10.  I have wondered all around town looking for something, anything, that I can use to no avail.  Adrianne, please bring a two-pack of Old Spice to Indonesia for me…please

Regularly eating Ramen noodles. This isn’t completely surprising, I love noodles of all varieties, but in our household we didn’t eat packaged noodles.  LOCAVORista rolled fresh noodles to my heart’s content.  She made sauces from scratch with Penzey’s Spices that I don’t even want to know the cost of.  After Japan, South Korea and China though I have come to appreciate many flavors of Ramen, just-add-water soup bowls.  I like the taste, but also the fact there are no language difficulties to get a quick meal and I know what I’m getting.

Maximizing our purchases. This may seem obvious, but we have been thrown many curve-balls along the way.  For example, we ran out of toothpaste in Japan.  Packages we could make sense of or Western brands cost about $6 while there was one local tube that cost $2.  We bought the $2 tube to find that it was wall spackle relabeled as a tooth care product.  Undeterred by taste or our tooth enamel we squeezed that tube dry until we could buy a new one.  I replaced this with a tooth whitening, mint-flavored, Colgate 360 uber paste.


When thinkCHUA suggested this post I protested, because frankly it’s embarrassing what I’m willing to do to save a few dollars and how quickly I’ve come to accept sub-par comfort and cleanliness levels.  My standards for a meal, accommodation and even personal hygiene has sunk to an all time low.  The worst part is, I’m so pleased by my money saving measures and proud to share stories of “you don’t even know dirty until…”

Showering every two days. Okay, if I’m going to be completely honest it may be every three days, however I’m trying to cut down on too many degrading details to help insure that I can actually get a job again in life.  I have cut back on showering daily to avoid the less than desirable showers and lack of hot water.  Asian showers are breeding grounds for colonies of mold larger than the Europeans first created in America.  I’m convinced that the variety of species found in Asian showers could insure scientists job security for decades.  However, I’m not sure I would want any of these species actually identified, I feel safer not knowing what they are or what disease they might give me.

This is an actual mushroom growing in a shower in Myanmar

Dirty clothes still serve the purpose. So, I’ve already admitted that I don’t shower as much as I should, what’s worse is I also don’t launder my clothes as often as would be desirable.  Too often I take a whiff of my shirt, reel from the smell, then examine the stain on the front from who knows what and throw it on anyway.  Laundry is often inaccessible or would leave me naked, so soiled clothes are the only option.  I hate to think of how many people’s elevator rides, lunches and line waiting experiences I have spoiled due to my stench.

Eating fast food. This may not seem like rock bottom to many people, but I was an all organic, direct farm to table eater prior to this trip.  I actually knew the farmers that produced almost all the food I ate at home (I miss Mike from Burning River and Mike from Braucher Sunshine Farms).  I enjoy trying the local delicacy, but sometimes you just need something familiar and hassle free, which is where McDonalds and KFC have there place.  I’m ashamed to admit that I even know the lunch and breakfast specials at these establishments.  KFC’s August lunch deal is an especially good value and quite tasty.

Know that these things are not complaints, but rather realities of long term travel, yet more proof that it’s not for everyone. To end on a grateful note, I realize now more than ever the luxury of my life back home.  How lucky we were to have clean showers, non-bug-infested beds and plenty of safe and delicious food choices.

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» Dad :
Aug 25, 2011

I understood the hygiene stuff……but…….KFC……whose child are you anyway?……..still love and miss you dearly……dad

LOCAVORista Reply:

Dad, I know KFC is tough to admit, but sometimes you just need a hassle-free, clean, cheap meal. Besides, there chicken is pretty delicious!

» Adrianne Gammie :
Sep 2, 2011

Matt, I can’t wait to see you at the wedding… but only if you’re properly deodorized. I’ll be sure to resupply you with Old Spice as a wedding favor. Seriously, if there’s any other “luxuries” from home you’d like me to bring, I’d be more than happy to restock you guys as you approach the end of your 1st year on the road!

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About the Author

thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.

About the Author
thinkCHUA: Photographing and documenting the world on a 3 year round-the-world trip to help future travelers discover new places, travel longer and enjoy the world's great experiences.


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