Simple Things

When you live on the road, it’s the simple things that you miss most: a cup of coffee, a hot shower, clean clothes. Unfortunately, these little pleasures haven’t been in abundance during the last 16 months, and so I’ve had to get creative.

Here’s how I manage:

A Cup of Coffee

Weirdly, I can usually buy a single-cup cone filter for drip coffee, but I can never seem to find the actual filters that go in the plastic sieve. So here’s a trick I learned while camping – use toilet paper! The thin fibers let the hot water seep through, while keeping the grounds out.

The key is a very slow pour and never in the center of the cone, otherwise the boiling water will tear the TP and you’ll ruin your cup of joe. If you’re ever in a pinch, give it a try!

A Hot Shower

While hiking in the Himalayas we had to pay for hot water, which is fine, it was the actual showers that were in short supply. The answer was a bucket shower with water boiled on the stove.

Now, last month was not my first bucket shower (sadly), but it was the first time that the water was so hot that I needed to add toilet water to cool it down. This sounds disgusting (actually it was disgusting). But bear in mind that the toilet water wasn’t actually from a toilet (because there was no toilet), but merely an extra pail of water standing alongside the toilet to be used as a manual flush.

No doubt the joy of the hot water “shower” was diminished by the use of a toilet water coolant. And truthfully, I’m not too sure how clean I got.

Clean Clothes

I’m starting to lose count of the number of times I’ve had bed bugs, which is a mildly depressing thought. But I got them again in Nepal. Fortunately, I now know how to get rid of them. It’s a 2-step process: Bake & Boil.

First, you put your entire backpack in a black plastic bag and place in the sun for at least 10-12 hours. The plastic bag becomes an oven in the hot sun and bakes the buggers!

Next you pour boiling water on all your clothes and on your backpack, paying special attention to the seams, where the bugs like to hide. The good news is, they cannot survive intense heat, so this 2-pronged approach is a sure winner!

Here’s a photo of me hanging my clothes out on the roof in Kathmandu after a laundry boiling session.














One TP-Toilet Water-Bug Infested Big Adventure!

So now, thanks to just a little ingenuity (and a whole lotta desperation), I can sit down to a nice cup of coffee filtered with toilet paper, after I’ve bathed in toilet water, and put on my newly bug-free baked and boiled clothes.

Ahhhhh….the life of an adventurer!

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This entry was posted on Saturday, May 5th, 2012 and is filed under Hearth, On the Road.

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