Cold showers in cold climates

2021-11-24 @Travel

At morning and night the weather here can get pretty chilly. And I’m too stubborn to turn on the water heater, wait some ten minutes and then further wait for the similarly stubborn shower stream to meet that expectation of sufficient warmth for which we pre-program ourselves.

Showering in ice-cold water in a cooler climate isn’t so horrendous. Granted, I’ve already years of cold shower habits, though less in these conditions. However, it’s straightforward: exercise right before, and, with the blood still warm, dive right in. It seems to simplify the ordeal by something like 60-70%.

But I wanted to speak of these constraints I tend to impose upon myself, which might appear strangely singular. There’s hope, however vain (for a major part of me takes pleasure in these constraints), that the writing exercise might inspire motion towards increased flexibility.

As it stands, my entire nomadic baggage consists of two bags compact enough to be considered ‘personal items’ squeezable under an airplane seat.

Both are sufficiently light to cover kilometers on foot without soliciting transport. I’ve taken both on the most crowded of public buses or packed trunks of shared cars. I’ve not had to deal with or pay checked-in luggage expenses.

All of these conveniences amortize across the long run, both emotionally and financially: emotionally, for the compactness fosters increased mobility and a smaller footprint - something that aligns with, or at least approaches some notion of an austere existence I find too attractive; financially, due to the minimized transport costs, or the purchases avoided for the lack of space to accommodate them.

But there’s a flip side: the obstinance to undertake journeys that might crack the above constraints; journeys that could otherwise stimulate inner development. Thus the two factors remain at constant odds.

For instance, I’ve lately avoided the colder climes, even by the Mexican standards. I don’t even mention the sub-zero environments. Most of my gear was intended for the tropics and (the now) subtropics, where I’ve mainly resided. Yet now I find myself obstinate to explore so much exotic tract in the chiller parts of the country, largely because I don’t want to acquire more - to expand.

To visit for a handful of days I could manage as is, but to transition for any significant time frame, as I’d be inclined, renders the present setup insufficient.

New clothes of any significant volume would effectively transcend the limits of my constrained bags. And then I have almost an allergy for shopping or even entering clothes stores; the mere sight of them communicates chaos. To purchase newly manufactured garments seems wasteful, however cheap their price tag.

It might all seem superficially silly.

That obstinance even challenges the general scheme of simple minimalist travel: travelling with less, sure, yet exercising the freedom to acquire the missing ad-hoc. And here I am, stubborn as an ox to expand - self constrained and proud with the original inventory I’d so cleverly devised.

Or maybe these journeys don’t seem important enough, even if I might imagine otherwise. Perhaps intuitively, I don’t feel the gains to warrant the effort: the extra clothes purchases, the (possible) ‘upgrade’ to one of the bags, the travel expenses to reach the desired destinations, the additional research …

As it stands, where I am, not only is not so bad, but remarkably inspiring, not to mention abundant in potential I’ve yet to exhaust.

Had I managed to pack less on these journeys, rather than leave the extra space, I’d likely squeeze everything into just my one backpack as I’d occasionally done for shorter (1-2 week) trips, or even longer, though inevitably impelled to carry the extras in my bare hands and ultimately purchase additional gear.

Perhaps I too much fancy the compactness in and of itself, which doesn’t stop me, however, from accommodating three books. Priorities …

Questions, comments? Connect.