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On Bathing as Luxury

On Bathing as Luxury

My journey from Salt Lake City to Riga took three flights and 24 hours. After traversing 40% of the globe, you know the only thing I wanted? A long soak in a bubble bath. My nightly baths at home would last upwards of 90 minutes with the right playlist and excessive pour of bubbles. Well, I mean, I wanted a bath and an In-N-Out cheeseburger. Because God Bless America.

But you know what I got? About a liter of freezing water I hauled out of a well and splashed haphazardly over my body. I was too jet lagged to even bother with soap. And so it began.

Shivering naked with my bare feet on the frozen cement floor of Velta's farmhouse bathroom, I knew there had to be a better way. At least a warmer one. 

The blue basin is for bathing. The white bucket is for "flushing" the toilet, the black bucket it to take back and forth to the well, and the tall cistern is for storing water in the bathroom. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

The blue basin is for bathing. The white bucket is for "flushing" the toilet, the black bucket it to take back and forth to the well, and the tall cistern is for storing water in the bathroom. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

The things I get myself into. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

The things I get myself into. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

The Libra in me won out. She always does. There was very little luxury to be had, but I was determined to find every last drop and employ it in the service of bathing. I flipped my script: Just because I don't have plumbing doesn't mean I can't have a luxurious bath. It does mean I quickly redefined what "luxury" looks like. 

Unlike my first attempt at bathing, for my second try I boiled the well water (duh) on the big wood stove. I maneuvered the blue ceramic basin up the steep, creaky, twisty steps into my room in the attic. I fetched more wood and got a fire going strong. I got to work. 

Here's the thing: Sitting naked on a stone cold floor in a primitive cabin on the other side of the world - bathing admittedly like a Victorian whore - puts your life into perspective pretty quickly. It was a microcosmic moment that perfectly summed up my feelings about Latvia. 

Second time around, luxury rules. Sort of. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

Second time around, luxury rules. Sort of. © 2016 Gail Jessen, A Series of Adventures

What did my Victorian whore bath put into perspective for me? 

You do not need 80% of the stuff you think you need. You may want it, and that's fine, but be clear that having it is a choice. 

You can do hard things. You can find boundaries you didn't know you had. You can love yourself enough to push right past them.

You will never find the perfect time. There is no perfect time. There's just you, and your desires, and the wide world waiting for you. Perfect is boring. Get over it. 

In this moment you know, yes you Dear Reader, what it is that you've been wanting to do. You know what you've been putting off. You know what you're scared of. 

That. Go do that.

Love + little luxuries,
gail

P.S. You can read all of my Latvia posts here.

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