I have a disgusting travel habit: I am messy. Like, seriously messy. It’s gross, and anyone who’s seen my ‘Don’t go in there’ door-blocking dance, can attest to the fact that I am appropriately embarrassed about it.
Staying in hotel rooms for a night or two at a time seems to make it worse. All of our worldly possessions are crammed in tiny backpacks, like miniature pressurized treasure chests just waiting to pop.
When I arrive at a hotel room, the first thing I do is sling down all my bags in the darkest corner, and quickly walk away. After which point they seem to explode with the reverberating force of an IED. My overstuffed bathroom bag sends out glittery shrapnel of earrings and bobby pins. Within seconds potions and lotions of varying pedigree, veracity and origin are scattered across the cramped room. After 10 minutes the room looks like a cross between a voodoo snake oil peddler’s den and the bathroom of a squatter with an unsavory addiction to the Bloomingdales beauty counter.
After a day or two in the hotel, dirty laundry begins to seep into crevices, like that dense fluffy mold filling the crannies on a piece of expired Wonderbread. To uproot these scraps of clothing is a futile and repetitive exercise. Entropy is the name of the game. I play it well.
In the best case scenario, we are only staying in the hotel room for a day or two and soon enough it’s time to reassemble the puzzle pieces of my backpack. Each item has a tidy little home in my backpack, secured in a stuff sack or travel pouch. This is the sort of organization that I hope reflects my true travel style.
Unfortunately, in many places we end of staying hunkered down in a room for 4 or 5 days. Nearing the end of a stay like that, the room takes on a gruesome pallor, with a few long forgotten banana peels lingering on the desk and spent water bottles wandering across the floor like tumbleweeds. Housekeeping becomes my mortal enemy. I live in fear of the look on their face, should they get a peep of the place I’ve made my own. When they rap on the door, I open the door just a millimeter and blast them back with ‘nothankyougoaway!,’ slamming the door shut again before they can get a word in.
My dominant fear is that this unattractive habit will follow me home. In ‘real life’ (not backpacker land) I’m a very organized person. I make lists, I fold my laundry while it’s still hot out of the dryer, and I generally don’t live like a slob. But on the road, the rules are different.