One of the less inspiring aspects of trailer life has been the effect it’s had on my personal grooming, fashion, and hygiene. While I have not turned into a complete troglodyte, I will say I’ve regressed somewhat since hitting the road.
A number of factors conspire to create this effect.
- I just don’t encounter as many people daily since I no longer go to an office. Thus less need for being polished.
- Most of the people I do encounter, I will likely never see again, thus making a good impression is less of a priority.
- The small shower and bathroom make it difficult to style my hair without a lot of hassle.
- The limited space in the trailer means we don’t own a lot of clothing, so it gets worn and wrinkled faster.
- Being outdoors a good deal of the time, you get grungy, sweaty, and disheveled much more often.
- The small shower and sometimes limited access to water or sewer encourages you to keep full showers to an “as needed” basis.
- I wear hats a lot more to shade my eyes outside and thus “hat hair” is an ever-present peril.
- You tend not to keep a lot of mirrors around in a trailer, both for safety and because there just aren’t a lot of places to put them.
- Trailer life can encourage junk food eating in various ways which is not so good for one’s figure or complexion.
The Dirty Details
The most noticeable impact of schlub life is that Bed Head, Hat Hair, and Wind Tossed Locks are pretty much in play 70% of the time. Runner up is my attire which trends heavily towards REI sheik. Slowly but surely my wardrobe is being taken over by very practical clothing that resists rain, mold, wrinkles, sunlight, bacteria, insects, and whatever else nature wants to throw at you while remaining machine washable. It’s great, well-designed stuff but it tends to put utility before fashion. The alternative tends to be “old T-Shirt” that I don’t care if it gets trashed while rock climbing or cleaning the truck.
I suppose it should come as no surprise that trailer life is somewhere between suburban life and camping in terms of scruffiness. Camping is, however, a transitory state, a once in a while event as where our life on the road is persistent and perpetual. There is something of a tug of war between a sense of social propriety that says we should look good, and a practical outlook that says, who is really going to care if we don’t? I am always in some conflict between a sense of vanity and pragmatic laziness.
Ironically the occasions when I am most motivated to make myself look spiffy is when we go for a long trek in the wilderness. I want to look good for the pictures Trail will end up putting on the blog. As you can see in this article, it doesn’t always work. It’s funny that a situation in which you would most likely look disheveled is the one you most want to appear sharp and clean but that is the way of the travel blogger. I’ve stopped short of bringing a grooming kit along when we go on hikes but I probably should.
If you read my RV Park reviews (and bless your heart if you do) you have no doubt noticed I’ve got a kind of “thing” going for RV bathrooms. Most parks get either a grumpy scolding for having dirty, dysfunctional bathrooms or shining praise for spacious and cleanly facilities. This is because those parks that do have nice showers, especially private ones, afford me the chance for a kind of spa day. I can luxuriate in a hot shower. Thoroughly wash and style my hair. Trim all things that need trimming, and generally get spiffy and shiny. Of course, what I do afterward is jump into the trailer and do some blogging. Only Trail knows how shiny I can become.
Ways to stay shiny
Sometimes if feels wrong to offer advice you don’t always take to heart yourself. None the less, I think it’s worth going over a few of those that I practice at least some of the time and have found helpful.
- Keep your hair cut short and in a style that can be accomplished with just a bit of combing.
- Keep refillable travel-sized containers of shampoo, soap, and other toiletries while keeping the main supply stored away.
- Keep a grooming-kit/shower-bag that has all your grooming essentials and is easy to tote around. This way you can easily avail yourself of any opportunity and groom on the road if need be.
- Buy clothing that does not wrinkle easily, is stain resistant, and looks somewhat nice on you. Or if you are like me, have your wife pick it out for you!
- When boondocking, consider the magical properties of dry shampoo and scented aerosol deodorant or as it’s sometimes known, Shower in a Can.
- Make it easy to take out whatever it is you store in your shower so it’s not a hassle to use.
- Keep in mind you can use USB cameras and cell phones like a mirror if you don’t have one handy.
- Keep a hat in the car and in the trailer so you can at least hide your disheveled hair on short notice.
- Keep a good supply of healthy and not messy snacks on hand wherever you go so you avoid junk food impulse buys.
PS: What’s with the top 9 lists? Who does top 9? Apparently, I do, though it was completely by accident here.