The longest I have gone without a shower (so far) is about 6 days. It was between Moab and Las Vegas. We went through a lot of wet wipes in that first stretch and I think we both wore a lot of hats, but we made it. Since then we haven’t gone more than 3-4 days, but after a month or two on the road, our bodies started to get used to it. Our hair felt clean even on that 4th day. Our bodies were producing more of their natural oils so my skin wasn’t as dry as it was before we left. All in all, the things I thought would be the biggest sacrifices weren’t really that bad.
When you are a woman on the road, there are a few things that are different. I wouldn’t say harder because seriously we are full-time vagabond deadbeats nothing is that hard, but it’s different for sure. When you are having cramps, or haven’t been able to find your favorite brand of shampoo, or you just want to put on clean clothes, but you haven’t been able to do laundry in weeks, it can be a little challenging. But it’s all worth it when you roll into the next town and see a gorgeous cityscape, or you drive through the countryside and wave at locals driving their donkey carts with their whole family on the way to the market. We make these sacrifices for the chance to see the world and it is so worth it.
I’m going to keep this post short because this week has been crazy! I am starting my last week of work in a couple days, and my dad is getting married tomorrow (Saturday) and I have to sing/give a toast/be in the wedding so I’ve been consumed by that, but I have been wanting to write this post for a while and tell the story of one conversation that has added so much value to my life.
Back in June, we were in El Salvador with the Vagabroads, Sunny and Karin, and we were talking about a post on one of the quintessential Overlander’s groups where a woman asked for advice about what to do when you have your period on the road. Considering that the vast majority of Overlanders are couples, and of that group, most are heterosexual, that means approximately half the people traveling are women. So this should be a valid question, right? Well most people that responded had good information to give and legitimate answers to this question, but a lot of people (men) responded by saying “this is not the appropriate place for this question,” to which the people who had already responded said “why the hell not!” But that was the only time up to that point and since I had seen a woman bold enough to ask a question like that.
So us ladies (and KP) started talking about how crappy that was that the menfolk could ask the same 4 questions about tire size, fuel capacity, road conditions, and best borders to cross ad nauseum, but us ladies couldn’t possibly ask a question about something feminine that affected us on the trip. So we decided we needed a safe place where we could ask anything we wanted about Overlanding, whether solely female, or broad travel related (no pun intended). And so Women Overlanding the World was born. Our small Facebook group started at us three founding members (KP was of course excluded from membership, even though he was there at the inception) and has now grown to almost 600 members and counting.
Having a support system of people you trust and can regularly talk to about anything is such an important part of life, but it’s something we mostly have to give up when we choose our nomadic lives on the road. This group has given us all a place to connect and feel a little less alone in this incredible experience.
Some of the amazing women of our group!
Probably the most amazing thing that has come of it though, is that the intrepid, and always entrepreneurial, Vagabroads have compiled a book (yes a real life book!!) of 50+ amazing women of the road and their advice and comments on life as full-time Overlanders. It is going to be an amazing book with gorgeous photos from every corner of the globe and I hope that it serves as a reminder of just how capable and unstoppable women are. Check out the video below and be sure to click on the link to the Kickstarter as well. When I last checked they were 80% of their goal with just a couple weeks left and I think they are going to hit it no problem, but a little bit goes along way people! You can find the book here.