Seriously. That’s not a “one liner” bait and switch headline, but it doesn’t mean that I haven’t kept clean.
I think it’s been at least 5 months since my last civilized shower and, well, living on a boat, there’s really no way to take a bath.
Part of the whole idea of living on a boat and simplifying was to truly reduce our consumption of all things. That includes fresh water. It began with shorter showers. Then fewer showers. Now it’s no showers. For me anyway.
When we returned to Harborwalk last September, I slowly started reducing the number of showers that I took. Even then, I only showered 2, maybe 3 times a week.
Usually, the only time I’d shower would be because I “needed” to shave. My face AND head. I did this rarely because I’m pretty cheap when it comes to purchasing and using $20 razors. That means I use fairly old and dullish razors and that leads to some pretty nasty scalp burn. I also just used soap and that didn’t help either.
Harborwalk had one shower per dock. And it never failed, I would pack up my shower stuff, head to the shower at the front of our dock, and it’d be in use. Then I’d head down to the shower at the next dock. About 40% of the time it’d be in use. Then I’d trundle back to the boat and perform the “sailboat wipe and rinse” and skip shaving until the next day when I’d try to shower again.
I eventually got tired of this and the super cold winter this past year helped me change my programming.
My morning routine is pretty standard. Wake up at sunrise. Get dressed. Walk the dogs. Put on a kettle of water to boil. Feed the dogs and cat. Start making breakfast (usually oatmeal). Brew coffee with the boiled water. Dress up the oatmeal and eat. Piddle around until 8:30. Then clean.
My cleanings are pretty simple. Water and a washcloth are all I use. If I choose to shave, I put a little water in the sink and shave with that. I use Renpure Cleansing Conditioner as my shave cream now. Jodi got it to try to stop using shampoo. I decided to try it as a “shaving conditioner”. It works well enough for me. But, understand that I used plain soap as my shave cream before that. Once done, I empty the sink out and then refill with fresh water to clean. I pour the rest of the hot water from the kettle into the bathroom sink and then give myself a vigorous scrubbing with a wet washcloth. I use just maybe 2 quarts of hot water. I’ve even eliminated soap.
What has happened in these past months is that my skin doesn’t have that itchy feeling. Nor does it seem too dry or too oily and my armpits have lessened their odor. I suspect, though I have no scientific evidence to support this, that the bacteria that cause the odor have been kept in check by beneficial bacteria which are no longer killed off by the soap and/or the chemistry is now in balance with no pH changing chemicals being applied. I think the fact that we eat very little processed food and NO meat also helps with the body chemistry. But, who knows.
Jodi and I use Crystal Essence Lavender and White Tea Body Spray as our deodorant. Of the non-industrialized types that we’ve used, this one works the best and doesn’t irritate either of our armpits. Remarkably, just a spritz or two works. (Your results will no doubt vary.) We’ve tried homemade deodorant. It kept the odor away, but after a couple of days our pits would be irritated. So, no recipes for that as we just can’t suggest one that works. Of the others we’ve tried, one of the Schmidt’s deodorants burned Jodi’s armpits SO bad it looked like a 2nd degree chemical burn. Eventually it started stinging me as well. We’ve tried Tom’s of Maine, too, but meh.
I’m sure it all sounds “hippie-ish”. I suppose it is.
But, living simply and deliberately is unconventional and kind of subculture.
I look at it as training for being in the woods at months at a time.
You’ll notice something about almost all of the lifestyle changes that I discuss: they did not happen overnight. Some have taken years. I think most of us get caught up in the “style” of it and forget about the “life” of it. What I mean by that is we don’t seem to realize that it is life first. We weren’t born overnight. We didn’t grow up overnight. Our habits weren’t created overnight. If we truly have a desire to change our lives, we must realize that it will take time, patience, effort, and sometimes discomfort. And, as evidenced by my cleaning process above, we must change our “styles” as well. We have to evaluate the psychology (or societal marketing) of something, get to the root of the emotional process and then start hacking away there first. Once that starts, then it takes time, effort, and discipline. Eventually, we get to a point where it’s no longer a “lifestyle” . . . it’s just “life”.
And in the end, that’s what it is all about. Life.