I once said to a friend, “if you ever see me in public without make up take me home immediately as something is very, very wrong and I shouldn’t be out in public”. My best friend Adam is under strict instructions that, if I am ever in a coma, he is to come in to the hospital and do my hair and makeup every morning so my unmade face doesn’t add to the trauma for my many fans and friends at my bedside.
From the age of 17 when GHD’s were born (or at least came to my attention) I’ve straightened my hair more times than I’ve had hot showers. And yes I bathe daily. GHDs saved me from my socially unacceptable kinks and terrible teenage hair. Even though I currently rock an undercut and very short hair, straightening it has always been part of my daily routine.
Since leaving Sydney 6 weeks ago I’ve only worn make up twice. Once because it was Xmas day (and my sister made me), and once because we were going into Melbourne for lunch, and people are cool there. But I haven’t touched a hair straighter.
The hair and makeup is just an example of course, but it one of the many things that buslife has changed about us from normal life. Of course there’s lots that’s stayed the same though. Although our evening cup of tea has moved back an hour from 9 to 10 along with our bedtime. Rock n roll.
Eating. Well, we always ate of course. Gobbled even. But now we cook actual meals. Three of them. Every, single, day. We used to eat out or get take out 3 or 4 times in the week. And I couldn’t remember the last time we’d cooked a meal at home on a weekend. Our weekends were dedicated to ambling from Sydney suburb to suburb waiting until we were hungry enough to justify another burger or parma. Walk and eat, walk and eat. We justified it to ourselves by saying that eating out in Sydney was just as cheap as shopping and cooking. Turns out that’s not true at all! Now we go to supermarkets and decide on meals days in advance. Well we try. I throw things into the basket and hope Jot doesn’t question which designated meal the items belong to. Inevitably a row breaks out next to the smoked salmon as I’d live on that if the budget allowed. At farmers markets in the towns we visit on the weekends I practically have to be kept on a leash.
Spending all our time together. How much awake time do people actually spend with their partners? Jot left for work at 6am and she’d be lucky if “have a nice day, dear” was more than a grunt. Then in the evenings she’d get back from work at 7 and I’d finish up at the gym at 7.30. We’d usually meet for a quick bite to eat then shower, put a wash on, drink tea, watch an episode of something, then head to bed. So about three hours of chatter, and mostly about what to eat. Generally most of the weekend would be spent together but if one of us wanted to go out and the other didn’t then off on our separate ways we went. And then one us would be jet lagged with hangover and potentially bedridden the next day (in my case many, many times) while the other bounded around Newtown.
For the last 6 weeks however we have been together almost all the time. What is surprising is that neither of us hate it. At least not to the point where any major rows/storming off has happened. In fact (and I just touched wood… not that kind) I’d even say that we are arguing a lot less than normal. And being nicer to each other. Weird!
We do of course spend some time apart. I’m running 10k a day at the moment so that’s separate time. Or one of us will go on a long walk or explore on the scooter. Jot also has an off button where if you rub her forehead in the right way she falls straight to sleep. (I’m not sure I’ll be allowed to include that).
Caring about what we look like. That was inevitable I guess. But I didn’t expect it to happen so fast. Our inner Kath and Anne have truly been set free. (That’s the middle-aged lady versions of Katharine and Joanne – when we’re really old we’ll be Kathy and Joan). Every morning Kath and Anne emerge from the Toyota Coaster. Sometimes there’s a fleece. More often than not there are hers and hers hiking shoes. Eyebrows are out of control and our hair, if not covered by a hat or bandana, resembles the dead animals we see at the side of the highway.
We literally pull on whatever is closest. Be it a pyjama top that didn’t quite make it’s way to the bus laundry basket. Be it jogging bottoms and a singlet. Be it the other persons, so in Jots case will be too baggy and in my case far too tight. If we’ve got socks on and no trainers to hand then socks and sliders it is. No shoes in sight – then barefoot in the supermarket with a 2 month old pedicure it is.
The result of all these random clothes isn’t the cool traveller look we’d have liked. We are too grey and wrinkled for that it seems. Instead two middle aged women on a walking holiday we are. And it probably doesn’t help matters that we then head straight to the nearest cafe that has a good rating for their scone, jam and cream tea.
So that’s us so far. In just six short weeks we’ve become badly dressed middle aged ladies with terrible hair and no makeup on. Driving from town to town jumping out the bus and pulling on our walking shoes to head out on the nearest bush walk to amble hand in hand. Then back for a cup of tea or five. And we couldn’t be happier!