Sunday, August 21, 2022

Bodily functions when traveling

I'm not going to panic, but time is slipping through my fingers, and I'm NOT READY!

I managed to get seven of 30 blocks done for the magazine quilt. They are on the design wall, and I LOVE the quilt. I think you will, too, and it looks just like I envisioned. Of course, it does as I designed it in EQ8. I did NOT scan the fabrics in-- that takes way too long and too darn fiddly. I just choose similar colors, and away I went. Keep it simple! By the way, the design originated from something I saw on one of my travels, and I always wanted to make a quilt from that. Now I have, and I'm happy!

DH had some friends over (who I know), and I ended up talking travel for more than I should have, but that's OK. So I'm behind and have to play catchup today. 

I had my one Zoom session yesterday, and all is good in that department, with the homework and links all sent. I need one solid hour with the computer to tidy up those pending e-mails, and I will be good to go on that end. So it's all coming together, but there are three more Zoom sessions today (I had to reschedule some of them because of my absence), and those are all prepped and ready to go this morning. 

What I need to focus on is packing! So I did that last night. 

I started by cramming everything I had gathered into the backpack, including shoe boxes -- everything! Then I weighed it. Just because I like to do this elimination thing. It gives me great satisfaction. 

The whole thing weighed 14.3 pounds. OK -- so that is a doable weight for me, but who wants to carry more than absolutely necessary? I was chatting with one of my military friends the other night, and he mentioned carrying 55 lb rucksacks on forced marches as part of their training. No, thank you! 

I emptied the pack completely and started sorting through the toiletries. I found that I had shoved a few duplicates in there, including THREE floss containers. I think one will be sufficient. I'm taking a few bandaids with me, and those got placed into tiny Ziplocs with a tiny label from the packaging. I didn't take pictures of the individual stuff, but I will when the light is better today. All the toiletries and medical stuff fit into the 1-gallon Ziploc with plenty of room to spare. 

Then I sorted through more stuff - I do not need two towels, so I ditched one of them. I did add a facecloth which can do double duty. I can use it to wipe the sweat off my face during the day and double as a wash item in the evening. That was a good suggestion. Thanks!!!

I decided to leave my down jacket at home, and I bought a thin fleece to replace it. So far, this is all that I ditched from what I had originally packed. Surely, that must weigh four pounds? I think not! 

What will NOT be coming on the trip

I also have to be aware that the items I'll be wearing will NOT be counted in the 10 LB limit I've imposed on myself. So the hiking shoes, a pair of socks, pants, a shirt, as well as the hat can also be eliminated from the 10 lb limit. I'm getting closer to that goal!

I sorted through the stuff I absolutely need to take, and I laid that all out. This included the sandals for after hiking, a towel, my sleep sack, backpack rain cover, etc. Then it got packed into the backpack and weighed. All of this, including the backpack, weighs 6.0 lbs. That gives me four more pounds to play with. I still have the rest of my clothes to pack, the electronics, and those extra items, so I'll be waiting with bated breath to see if that book and a crossword book will be a reality. 


So let me tell you about this item. It's called a Pee Cloth. This sounds gross initially, but it's not. It's a very practical item; if you don't have one, you should invest in one! I got two in my package. Seriously -- go to that web page and read all about it -- there are videos to explain how to use it. I think it's an amazing idea! I mean -- you could even use it at home! I'm tempted. Then, if there was a TP shortage, it wouldn't quite so bad! 

The Pee Cloth

It will happen that you're on the Camino and have to pee (or worse). While washrooms are available along the way, they may not be convenient, especially for people with small or leaky bladders! Now you could just discreetly go on the side of the road (which I've done many times on my cycling/geocaching adventures), but what to do with the TP? Apparently, it's a HUGE issue on the Camino. People do their business but leave the TP behind; in some areas, it's an environmental disaster. 

You have some options -- take TP with you (apparently, people steal this from the cafes -- seriously?), and when you are done, put the TP in a plastic bag and dispose of it in the next garbage bin. That sounds great, and while gross, it's not really. Apparently, urine is very "clean" -- we just have a bad connotation about it. 

The other, much more practical option is to use a Pee Cloth. And this is for the ladies, not the men, as they do not need one. After your business is done, use the pee cloth to wipe. It's quick to dry, with anti-stink (I believe), and at the end of the day, you rinse it out. Leave it hanging on the outside of your backpack for easy access. Most have snaps, so you can fold them into a triangle and another snap to attach to the backpack. I think this one even has glow-in-the-dark threads, so you can find it at night. 

Let's face it -- this is downright PRACTICAL, and I discovered it several months ago and picked it up. I'll use this on all my walks (not my urban walks, of course), but geocaching, cycling - whatever. There's no need to be environmentally bad, and you don't have to carry TP, at least for Number One. 

As for number two, that's a different story. The first thing to do is try and train your bowels to work in the morning. I'm not sure how one goes about this, but I know on my bike trips, it was a routine -- do the business in the morning BEFORE leaving on the bike, and then I didn't have to worry about it during the day. My body liked that routine, and it certainly made things easy. 

If you can't get into a routine and there isn't a washroom around, then you have no choice but to hit the side of the road discreetly. Again, one area along the Camino is in bad shape because of this. The best way to handle this is to take a small shovel (mine is orange, of course), dig a small hole, and bury everything. It just makes sense -- we pick up after our dogs -- why should we leave human waste around? 

In the 12 years, I've had that orange shovel, I've never had to use it once. Let's keep our fingers crossed that I'm carrying it and will never have to use it. I had to laugh because one guy I was following used his as a shoe horn! I guess if it's clean -- why not?

Here are my hiking shoes. They have purple trim on them. Kind of hard to get orange, so technically, they match my backpack. 

My hiking shoes

And I got my socks ready as well. 

My shoes and socks for the travel day

Here's what is still to go through and decide. The electronics -- that all comes, no questions, and my credentials and passport -- that all comes, but the ID won't be in the backpack, so I'm not going to count that. I'm still down to the barebones on that -- a NEXUS card, a passport, my credentials for the Camino, a debit and credit card, and some cash. I'll be taking photocopies of all and leaving one at home, as well as a copy in the backpack -- just in case. 

Electronics and ID to sort through

Like on my bike trips, it took a couple of days to get organized and find the best spot for everything in the backpack, and this will be no different. 

Here are my clothes. I need to remove the tags from everything and pick out my travel outfit -- long pants, a T-shirt, and my fleece (that's not really a choice!). The rest goes into the backpack. 

My clothes for the trip

And hopefully, once that is all in the backpack, there's still room for some entertainment. I may not need it while I'm gone, and that's great, but I can't see myself going for five weeks with nothing to do! 

My last two items have shipped but are not supposed to arrive until after I leave. DARN!!! I really want those two items, and I think they could make or break the trip. I can find a substitute -- it just won't be as pretty. 

I have two short-sleeved T-shirts, one long-sleeved T-shirt, a fleece and a rain jacket. I've got one pair of pants, and one pair of shorts. For cover-ups - I have the sarong and my buff. That's it for clothes, and I'm debating leaving one of the T-shirts at home. But they are so light -- I think it will all stay. 

I'm really liking this LIGHT packing thing, and I can see myself always traveling like this. I don't change my clothes multiple times a day; I'm casual, and I hate checking luggage. This might become a thing of the future. 

One of the guys who was here yesterday (we used to work together a long time ago) loves to travel. His wife, not so much. I offered to become his travel buddy! I should rephrase that -- his wife is more like DH -- they like to travel, but not backpack! I may have to give up teaching and become a nomad! Me and my girls!

Doug thinks I'm aggressive in my 10 LB limit -- but I know it's possible. And if I'm over a smidgen -- I'm OK with that. Although I must remember that I have to pack glasses -- three darn pairs -- regular ones, sunglasses, and readers. So there are going to be small things that I need to pack, and I'm very cognizant of how much everything weighs. 

Perhaps I'm sounding too rigid, but I'm going to walk 6 hours a day for 30 days with weight on my back; I want it to be absolutely necessary. Here's something to think about --  I'll carry 10 lbs daily for at least six hours. At the end of my 6-hour daily hike, I will be tired. But I can take that 10 lbs off at night. Imagine if that 10 lbs stayed with me all day, every day? OK -- I need to STOP eating sugar. It crept back into my diet, and it's not good for my waist. I eat sugar, and it goes right to my muffin top. I HATE it, so I must use this trip to permanently get off the sugar thing. PERMANENTLY. No cheating because I'm only cheating myself! 

OH --- I'm happy to report that I figured out how to map my walks using my FitBit, and thankfully, I have a SIM card so I won't care about roaming charges. I'm not going to show you my route from walking the girls, because then you'll know exactly where I live, but it's amazing!! I'm going to try and share those maps on the blog. The only thing I haven't done and I should do before I leave is test blogging on the phone with the foldable keyboard. I wonder how easy it will be to transfer photos to the blog. They might end up on Facebook only. I'll have to see how that works. I don't have time to do it, but if I work hard and SMART, I might eke out an extra hour here and there. 

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!



  1. You may also consider baby wipes. They are quite gentle and cleansing. They are available at the dollar store. Laura

    1. Thanks for the suggestion, but baby wipes are NOT environmentally friendly!

  2. I download an ebook or two onto my phone when travelling. Prefer “real” books, but a great backup. And baby wipes do not decompose. Shirley in BC

  3. Oh my, you cost me money, again, LOL! I'm used to packing very light, on our bicycle trips we take all our luggage on our bikes with us (that's why we don't use race bikes but what we call tour-bikes.) I always have a roll of TP in one of my bags.
    In September I'm going on my first week-long hike, but only with a daypack (my back is not ok, I can't carry heavy weights for a day). The travel agency will transport my luggage, very luxurious!! On my day-packing list is of course TP. After yesterday's blog I searched and found a German retailer, yeahh! My kula is due this week!!
    So thanks again for blogging about something I had to buy afterwards :-)
    I wish you all the best for your trip, I'm sure we'll be with you in our thoughts 😊
    As usual, Nina

    1. Sorry Nina!!! But you will love the Kula cloth. It's so practical and very environmentally friendly. I'm so excited for your hike! Enjoy!!!