Saturday, 10 February 2018

Sydney days

My days involve walking. I'm walking at least 10km a day. Mostly that is early morning, late in the afternoon, when it is cooler. Middle of the day, I visit a library to charge my phone. Then sit either outdoors or in a mall our shopping center, have my daily meal while people watching, day dreaming, or watching the wildlife. Sometimes I talk with people. Mostly it's the elderly. 

I've walked a few trails and suburbs that I've not been to before. Some nice walks about.  Many more to explore yet. Though, I want to carry less to do it. 

Doing a bit of community service. Walking past the same rubbish every day got to me. Someone should pick it up. I decided to be that someone. Starting carrying a bag and picking it up. I'm only filling one shopping bag a walk past, so will be cleaning some places for a while yet. Been reporting leaking taps/toilets to the council, water seeps to Sydney water, etc.  I don't get why the people who clean/resupply the toilets don't report leaks. Such a waste water!

Still bedding down living. Finding water locations, open toilets, sleeping spots. Got very dehydrated a few times not drinking enough. Combination of few water fountains and fear of not finding a toilet when needed. (Also being in to populated areas with few bushes.) And just not thinking about drinking. Making an effort to drink more. 

Still hunting the perfect sleeping spot. Had a couple of sleepless nights with bad choices. But it's been okay overall. The weather has been fine this past week. Any showers were light and after I was set up. Was a couple of heavy dew falls too. Sooner or latter will be heavier rain. I hope to have sleeping sorted before then. Or, might try for undercover. Wet gear is heavy, and I carry it outside my pack to keep the rest of my stuff dry. If it's only lightly damp, I leave it. But if it's dripping wet, I spread it out at lunch time to dry. 

Pack weight has plummeted. Carrying everything everywhere really has me focused on having less. Down from 8 or 9kg to about 5.5kg now, including the pack. I changed to a smaller, lighter 45L pack, but it's not full, so I could go smaller yet. I'm not happy with the gear I am carrying, and am experimenting to drop it further. There are some trade-offs. I'm finding that some of the trade-offs are more mental than physical with comfort. And some of the physical comforts after a while you get used to having less. It's just the change that feels uncomfortable. 

I'm changing my clothing. The long sleeve shirts and cycling shorts aren't as utilitarian as I'd like. Sweating in them walking, the shirts are large and difficult to wash. I'm trialling a layering system, so I can wash the thin, light, quick dry base layers more often, and the outer layers, hopefully less often. 

Wipes were on sale and I purchased a packet to try.  Washing with wipes does feel better. But having a water shower still wins out. I had one this week. Washed my clothes under a tap at the same time. Midday in the sun, 34C, it all dried in an hour. I spread things on a park bench at first. Then draped first the shirt, then later the pants, on my head, both to cool me and to dry them faster. Next time will just wash and wear. It's faster that way. I don't want to pack away damp clothing as it will not dry in my pack. 

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Houseless in Sydney

I needed to leave my friend's house sit. The plan was to walk south, and I did start. But, as they do, plans change. Now I'm staying about the Sydney region for a bit, living out of my pack.

The day is dawning. It's raining again. Showers really. I'm grateful to be dry for now. I've spent a lot of time damp and will be again. My morning dilemma: wait for the shower to pass or pack and head off in the rain to find an open toilet? Not many public toilets are open overnight. Not good to wait too long. Whichever, I can't stay here too long. No one it's about in the rain, but they'll come. I can't be seen here.

My travel by bicycle, I now look back on thinking it was so easy. Lots of space. Set up a tent! Dig a cat hole. Strip and wash under a bottle shower. Air dry. Sun bake. Hang out in camp. Stay clean. Carry lots of food and water. Always going somewhere, or doing something. Find food, water, campsite, a change of scenery. Never many people around.  When I started out it was terrifying. I had so many fears. It only got comfortable and easy with time and experience. I'm in the same place now. The fearful, terrifying place. Still working out how to deal with everyday issues. Where to sleep, toilet, get water, wash myself and my clothing, where to hang out at 6am when I can't stay in my bed. Where to wait till it gets dark enough to go to my bed. With time and experience I hope it'll get easy. But that's little consolation now.

Only last night I slept well. But I think it was just lack of sleep catching up with me. I want more sleep. I had found a place for a few nights. But rested uneasy, waking often. I like the spot, but I'm too conspicuous there. Soon someone will notice and I'll get rousted, maybe risk getting fined. I need a better spot. Another motivator is that if the rain continues today, my spot will be very muddy, if not under water. Definitely somewhere new tonight.  My wish for a quite spot has waned as I've become more accustomed to the city noise you don't notice inside: cars, trucks, dogs, people talking, planes taking off/landing. Noise I can handle. To sleep undisturbed is what I want.

Washing is still on the list to solve. Cycling, my clothes didn't smell. I'd sweat and dry and my skin would get a layer of salt. Clothes got salty. I think the salt  stopped the bacteria that cause smell. Walking, I sweat, but stay damp, and don't salt up. Clothes start to smell. A quick rinse in a sink and put them back on wet is not enough to clean them. Wash and wear I call it. Even with the cool days and showers they dry eventually. Bit unpleasant putting them on, but it quickly passes. I need to get soap for the next wash. Need to wash me too.

I decided to wait out the current shower and use it to wash out my socks. The toilet, not yet urgent enough and perhaps not open either. I'll enjoy the time without having to move just a little bit longer.

Once already I've downsized my pack. The easy discards. I thought I was being ruthless then. Further days have shown me my errors. I've still too much useless stuff. Each possession is mentally weighed. How essential it is now? Few things are. Extra clothing for cooler weather will be essential, but not now. It'll go. Weight and bulk are my pack enemies. Even the pack taunts me with its size and weight. It's day is coming. A heavy pack is awkward. Stands out. Hard on the body too. Full of useless stuff, I cannot fit more essential items. Or can't easily find what I want without emptying it. I've though about a shopping cart, but want the freedom of walking for now.

The day ahead is large and empty. Sunrise is about 6, sunset about 8. What's open when and where. How to get there. How will I fill my day?

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Southern Highland, the beyond

The return trip was without the cart; carrying everything. Total carry weight was about 22 kg. Of that 12.5 kg was water with 10 L in one container. It quickly got old carrying that one: both arms in front, left arm, right arm. Even tried sitting it on my head for a bit. Was very thankful that the walking in was over. The cart, for the problems it had, was definitely better for transporting a load.

Followed my own advice and had less gear, so walking around without the water was a lot easier.  Total pack weight was less than 9kg. I left behind items that in the past I'd considered essential. Less clothing, less food, less camp items. It wasn't as uncomfortable as I thought it might be, and more after a few more test camps it settings normal. While there, I tested some other ideas; wearing less clothing to sleep and sleeping mat size. The outcome was that I now cut my sleeping mat shown to torso length, and I no longer carry a set of thermals.

My bug net wasn't midge proof. It was only for mosquito. It was also getting rather a lot of holes in it. After much deliberation I ordered a tent. 750gm total with tent pegs. But it does need a hiking pole to erect it. Spacious it isn't. Body bag or coffin comes to mind. It seemed a good idea at the time. Lots of testing showed it wanted perfectly flat ground to put it up. I have doubts that the fly is the same model as the inner. But I did figure out how to put it up. The first night I used it, I was glad to be in it when it started raining. Lying there, I couldn't imaging trying to get in if it was raining, or pack up in the rain. I threw out the fly and returned to using the tarp. The inner I've kept and use under the tarp.  The tarp has a lot of space under it, and I can put it up fast. When it's raining, put the tarp up first, then hang out under it in the dry. Set up the bug net, spread out wet gear. Packing up is the reverse. Easy peasy.

I've been on the road a few days now living out of my pack. It still needs some more tweeking. I still have too much gear with me. And I think I can do better with what I do have.  As in change it for something else or use it differently to how I am currently.