If You Want to Survive Out Here, You’ve Got to Know Where Your Towel Is


When you’re on the road, it’s always the details that trip you up, pull you down and stomp on you a little before moving on to the next unfortunate victim.

You’ve procured a regal meal, but you don’t have a fork.

You’re all kinds of ready to ask directions in the local language, but you have no idea where you want to go.

You find yourself covered in grime and walk to the shower with your toiletries in hand, but you don’t have a towel.

It’s in these situations where resourcefulness and the willingness to bend your expectations and perceptions can come in very handy.

Are you willing to eat with your hands, or figure out a way to eat with your bread instead of utensils?

Are you prepared to wander aimlessly until you come up with the name of something local that you can use as a reference?

Are you open to the possibility that – under the right circumstances – a big wad of toilet paper can look a whole lot like a towel?

These aren’t ideal solutions, but they ARE solutions, and they’re just as practical as they are uncomfortable and strange.

They are not, however, wrong, and coming to grips with this opens up a whole new world of taking life as it comes, hurling oneself into opportunities as they arise, and generally being able to adapt to new circumstances in a way that is conducive to success.


  1. “Are you open to the possibility that – under the right circumstances – a big wad of toilet paper can look a whole lot like a towel?”

    Been there, done that. Three times in the past month. Using your dirty clothes also works.

  2. These are the types of situations I'm looking forward to once I get started on this trip of mine. Stuff is easy at home. I know where everything is, and if it's out, how to get more. I'm comfortable (and bored to tears).

    Ok maybe I'm not “looking forward” to a wad of toilet paper as a towel, but you get the point.

  3. I call it the MacGyver life approach. Corny, but….you know what I mean.

    And the worst travel conundrum? A bottle of wine and no corkscrew.
    I've found at least three solutions!

  4. Yes, good point. Toilet paper, lots of it, CAN look like a very thin and wispy towel. Poor lighting also helps. :D

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  6. I depend on poor lighting to look like I haven't been on the road for days sometimes, too. Maybe just carry around a really weak lightbulb wherever you go?

  7. Haha, well, once you're on the road the WORLD is your toolbox, and though you have a few tools with you (I know exactly where everything is in my bag, and can find it in pitch darkness by touch), having less and coping with your needs necessitates that you look at the world creatively in order to solve problems.

  8. And I'm here, to remind you, of the mess you left when you went away, it's not fair, to deny me, of the cross I bear that you gave to me, you OOO you OOO you OOO oughta' knowwwww!

  9. I don't know if you deliberately were referring to Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, but I suppose that you aren't a frood who knows where his towel is. Great post on resourcefulness.

  10. My roommate recently moved out & pretty much took every bit of kitchen-ware with him. It's amazing what you can do with a plastic spoon, pocket knife & a frisbee…

  11. Just found your site through @MattChevy…and what do I see first – “Know Where Your Towel Is.” Truer words were never spoken by Douglas Adams. Great reference to kick off a post about improvised solutions!

  12. As someone that spends most of his work life adapting and overcoming adversity, I can relate. I constantly amaze my customers with the amazing solutions I can engineer using nothing more than my multi-tool and a paper clip!

    I wrote a blog post about this same topic a few months ago http://goo.gl/AEfN

    Great site! I'm very happy to have found it.

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