One difficulty of traveling is laundry. It’s not really a problem to wash socks and underwear in the sink, but it does get annoying to do it daily. Also, if I am traveling the next day I have to pack my damp clothes into my bag, so I try to put out my clothesline when I’m staying somewhere for a couple nights. With my elastic clothesline I carry a drain plug, detergent, and myrrh oil to scent my clothes. But really, sometimes just rinsing the clothes makes them shrink back to their original size and feel clean.
Traveling can be hard on a hygiene routine too. Hostel showers generally suck, so there’s not much incentive to bathe. There’s hair on the floor, the water automatically turns off every 9 seconds, and there are no shelves or hooks to hang your clothes or toiletries. Also, with a 32 L daypack as my bag, I can only carry a few of my most loved familiar products. My mom sends me travel sized bottles filled with my favorite organic lavender lotion. I have a few bottles of essential oils for hygiene purposes, and they also do double-duty as aromatherapy (rosewood oil is anti-infectious, anti-fungal, a local anesthetic, and it smells good). One thing I don’t carry is shampoo, because I can always find or borrow some and it’s not something I’m particular about. It’s fun buying new toothpaste in a different countries, although I could only find unwaxed dental floss in France. I’ve always heard about how wonderful European pharmacies are, and it’s true, but I don’t have enough space to buy all the intriguing lotions and cremes I see on the shelves! Even more so than with my clothing, I make sure that every beauty product I carry is exactly what I want, so I can pretend to pamper myself.
Coming to Izzy’s is great for a lot of reasons. I can relax, let my backpack hang out, and, perhaps most importantly, take a bath. A real honest to goodness bath. Hot water, some lavender oil, and me with a crossword puzzle. It’s easy to loose an hour in there and I’m always glad to do so. Even Buddy the dog comes out of the tub smelling nice and feeling silky (you may remember him as the astro-dog who ate my Dutch brownies).
So now I am back in Prague, having fun with Izzy’s even though I saw her 4 weeks ago in Marseille. When I arrived at her apartment we immediately set out for a friend’s cottage on top of a mountain overlooking the city. We all had a great time drinking beer and grilling sausages around the fire with some Czechs. The dog had a great time rolling around in some dead animal he found in the woods. We didn’t sing, but there was an iPod playing. The rest of the weekend is spent eating, drinking Coke, and watching TV. Just the break I need before heading east to Poland!