Un-Delights of Full-Time Travel

Learning, exploring, adventuring, writing, photographing… Amazing.

Babysitting my laundry, having six gallons of hot water for a shower, not knowing where to find good Chinese for the, err, required monthly consumption… Less than amazing.

You’re Traveling, Get Over It!

Indeed, I’m traveling. And it’s wonderful.

But that glee minimizes, not eliminate, realities. These are some of mine.

Big Brother Really IS Watching

As part of the family-sanity-plan established at the start of the trip, my parents and brother have the ability to track my phone. They can go online and see where my phone is. If it matches where they think I am, they’re (presumably) happy.

It seems that my brother checks daily, if not multiple times a day. Sweet. Spooky. Stalkerish?

He emailed the other day to say the service was wonky and wanted to make sure I’m ok. On a different day, I emailed him before starting a hike where I presumed I would be alone. He immediately called and said, “you’re in the Rio Grande. IN it! Is everything alright?” Surprisingly, I had cell service in a canyon, on the Rio Grande, but not below the boulders – good to know.

His vigilance is both creepy and comforting.

How Fast Can YOU Shower?

With only six gallons of hot water, you’ll shower damn fast.

There’s a Goldilocks moment where it’s too hot (scorching), so I adjust and it’s too cold (freezing), and finally it’s just right. It’s a race against time. Six gallons is not a luxurious shower, people.

Forget about shaving my legs. First, the stall is so small the water instantly removes the lather. Second, gotta save the hot water. So I turn off the water and shave with a bowl. Really. Add that in the winter, when the cold affronts through the ceiling vent, and I give up. I’m less feminine than I would prefer, but all in the name of adventure.

Babysitting Laundry is…Yawn

I don’t want to risk other people touching my clothes. So I sit with my laundry and wait for the cycles to end.

Now, presumably the people are clean since they’re washing clothes…but I still don’t want them touching my clothes. And I don’t want to touch theirs. It’s rude to leave the laundry room and hold a machine hostage by your absence.

So I bring a book or my computer. Most laundry rooms and laundromats haven’t figured out that comfortable chairs are a bonus, and that a table would be nice. So I’m adding injury to insult.

Sanity Check on Aisle Four

No two Targets or Walmarts have the same layout. Why? For love of all that is holy, why would they change the way you shop based on location? Add grocery stores which may or may not carry a preferred brand, and erranding becomes, well, a chore.


My Dad handles my mail, which means he tosses, scans, or sends via UPS. He won’t tell me how much it costs to send things, so every few months I just send a check.

Multiple times I’ve sent both he and my Mom on a quest into the basement to look in “THE box” where I left all important documents. Sometimes the grail is there, and sometimes Mom turns it into an un-fun scavenger hunt and opens other boxes at random. That stresses me out.

What am I doing in return for these services? Consuming one-third of of their basement with my belongings. Sending postcards. And on a constant hunt for a gift that illustrates my gratitude.

RV Plumbing…Grrr.

Losing count of how many times you’ve snaked a drain is worse than losing count of your sexual partners.

I am in this situation. To be clear, the former, not the latter.

We’ll just leave it at that.

Are These Travel-Specific?

Actually, no. In some fashion these woes exist no matter your situation. And if this is the worst that’s going on, then things are good indeed.


In what ways does your family stalk you?

17 Responses

IT didn’t take me long at college ( a week, tops) to realize I hated the laundromat and I was more than happy to pay the $.40/pound for someone else to wash it. to me, that was money well spent each week.

Josh–you are a wise man!


To clarify…I do NOT randomly open boxes. I listen to where you direct me and see if something fits the description, only checking what is unsealed and never cutting through tape or opening anything definitively closed. And I only read that which I’m instructed to retrieve and only far enough to identify that it’s the correct piece of paper. So take that off your worry list.
As for your brother checking on you, I’m both impressed and grateful. He’s got plenty to occupy his time and mind, so count your blessings that he’s paying attention, little sister!
And as an FYI, your friend Jana was emotional support to me pre-departure, so I was pleased to share with her my respect, admiration, and appreciation for your accomplishments, including snaking toilets and cold showers.

Mom. I feel better. Your prior descriptions of hunting sounded more significant. 🙂

Family stalking or family concern…

I talk to my family throughout the day, nearly everyday so it is mutual, um, stalking.

The spouse and I use glympse (a cool phone app that allows us to see where the other is on a map) when I travel alone for work. I adventure to some cool and some times not-so-cool spots around the state so it helps to have someone know where I am, in case. Nothing goes wrong and cell service is pretty decent even in some more remote locations.

Regina. Always w perspective. Live you.


You’re so right! My family does take care of my mail too. Feels odd after being independant for years. They’ll never stop worrying, I’ve given in to that. My mom still tells me not to talk to strangers and use my wipers when it rains. Sigh. Love.

Oh and we’ve mastered a 2 gal shower… Using boiled water in 1 gal water jugs. Let me assure you, it doesn’t get one as clean as one hopes to be… We call it a whore bath!

And those laundramats … You’re not alone. Although the last trip we did step out for a quick second and Dennis confessed to hoping that one day we’d go back and our clothes would be gone! Then we could have a good excuse for all new stuff. Uhm, I think I might stage that? 🙂
Jeanette recently posted..Capturing Kitsch: Neon Signs Across AmericaMy Profile

Let the laundry liberation begin!!

How’s this for reverse parental stalking? Back in the day, when I was in my 20’s, my parents left me to care for my unvalid grandmother and took off for well-deserved a road trip through New England and Canada. It was the late 1970’s, so no cell phones. They left with no specific itinerary and the NEVER called. When they got home and I incedulously confronted them about the lack of contact, they told me,”We couldn’t find a phone.” Mind you, they never left the U.S. or Canada and yes, we weren’t as connected 24/7 back in the day, but puhleez. I still occasionally discuss this with my now 87 year mother if she complains that I don’t calk often enough. They couldn’t find a phone. That’s her story and she’s sticking to it!
Just One Boomer ( Suzanne) recently posted..Baby Boomer Travel DazeMy Profile

Suzanne – classic!


HAHAHAHAHA!!!! I loved your mom’s message – sounds exactly like something my mom has said at various points when she’s aided during my travels. And even now, 8 years into living overseas, she still helps with some things that are just harder to do over here, and I’m very grateful. But I totally get what you’re saying, having been there more than once.

In re: to the laundry, I had an entire load of whites (undergarments included!!!) stolen from a machine in California when I worked at a summer camp on a uni campus. I thought for sure it was safe there, but it wasn’t. The campus police thought it was hilarious….and didn’t find any of my undies either. So keep watching your stuff, unless you’re ready for a new wardrobe.

Debbie – how frustrating and hilarious that you had clothes stolen!!


Sorry I’m late in responding to this.
My sister and her husband understand your laundromat pain. They opened a laundromat/cappuccino bar with a small newsstand to give customers something fun to do while waiting. Plus none of those horrible plastic chairs.

I really like that you occasionally write about other things than the sights you’re seeing. Travel is a 365-degree experience, and you’re sharing that, too.

Jeannine – where’s their laundromat? I’ll head right over!! I’m serious. Where are they?


It’s in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, they just closed it. But your own reaction tells you it’s a good business model; it just wasn’t manageable for them.


I absolutely love that your mom and dad read this as you discuss them and your sexual partners in the same paragraph. You’re my hero!

Kristin – I do what I can…

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