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  1. #1
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    For all the ladies out there I got a question, well a couple... ok a few

    Well I got a couple of questions since my departure date is coming up in 49 days *Excited!* It's going to be my first BIG trip so I am getting nervous. Had a few little trips but my boyfriend has been close enough to bail me out if things go wrong, I won't have anyone on this trip. Oh a little background info is helpful I guess. I'm going cross Canada from BC to Newfoundland. Stealth/Camping or warmshowers most of the way. Panniers on a LHT with cooking most of my own food.

    Here is my questions.

    1: Shaving can it be done? Should it? What's the easiest way if there is an easy way?
    2: Going it alone, is there many creeps out there to be worried about?
    3: Should I carry a knife? Spray?
    4: What's the worst type of area to watch out for?
    5: What to do in bike short with that time of the month?
    6: Anything else I have forgotten goes here.

    Oh a little background info is helpful I guess. I'm going cross Canada from BC to Newfoundland. Steal/Camping or warmshowers most of the way. Panniers on a LHT with cooking most of my own food.

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    1: Shaving can it be done? Should it? What's the easiest way if there is an easy way?
    Your choice. Yes. Razor in the shower, just like at home.

    2: Going it alone, is there many creeps out there to be worried about?
    Don't "worry" but do be aware. If you think someone is creepy, they probably are, so extract yourself from the situation. Don't tell people too much about where you are going/sleeping, don't accept invitations if they don't feel right, it's ok if someone doesn't like you, it's more important to be safe. You can make up imaginary friends just up the road if needed.

    3: Should I carry a knife? Spray?
    I carry spray for bad dogs and bad people, haven't used yet, don't count on it being there/working, see #2

    4: What's the worst type of area to watch out for?
    Roads with heavy traffic. Anywhere the people are really poor and drunk. Big cities.

    5: What to do in bike short with that time of the month?
    If you can't figure this out, uh....???? Tampons are the same in bike shorts as regular clothes.

    6: Anything else I have forgotten goes here.
    Have extra budget. Money solves a lot of problems - like where to sleep if it's too dangerous to camp, what to do if your bike breaks, how to get home if you aren't having fun.

    Have a great trip!
    ...

  3. #3
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Shaving can be done anywhere there is water. As valygrl says, shower is easiest - which is what you asked - but if you're camping the whole way any pond, creek, stream, etc will do just fine. If you absolutely require hot water to shave even public restrooms can be used.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member skilsaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine View Post
    If you absolutely require hot water to shave even public restrooms can be used.
    The local rec center is a great place to spend an hour... pool, showers, sauna... If your panniers won't fit in a locker, ask them to keep them in the office while you're in the water.
    The one who has the most bikes wins.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CCgirl83 View Post
    Here is my questions.

    1: Shaving can it be done? Should it? What's the easiest way if there is an easy way?
    2: Going it alone, is there many creeps out there to be worried about?
    3: Should I carry a knife? Spray?
    4: What's the worst type of area to watch out for?
    5: What to do in bike short with that time of the month?
    6: Anything else I have forgotten goes here.
    1. Shave if you want, or not if you don't want. I bring a cheap bic razer and shave in the shower about 1-2 times a week. When the razer wears out, get another one.

    2. Maybe. You'll want to stay in touch with family and friends regularly. It's not a bad idea to plan your route so that you visit family and friends along the way. And be smart about what you do, like valygrl mentions.
    I've also mentioned contacting cycletouring clubs to you in a previous thread. This is one of the reasons why I mentioned that ... if you can arrange to ride on a club ride now and then, with a group of people, they can provide an element of security and give you some advice about the area.

    3. I wouldn't carry a knife, but I have carried dog spray on my long solo rides. Spray it once or twice before you go, so you know how it works.

    4. See valygrl's comments ... and also, on your training rides ... what areas do you avoid? Why?
    I've also mentioned contacting cycletouring clubs to you in a previous thread. This is one of the reasons why I mentioned that ... if you can arrange to ride on a club ride now and then, with a group of people, they can provide an element of security and give you some advice about the area.

    5. Tampons ... and also, on your training rides ... what have you been doing?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine View Post
    Shaving can be done anywhere there is water. As valygrl says, shower is easiest - which is what you asked - but if you're camping the whole way any pond, creek, stream, etc will do just fine. If you absolutely require hot water to shave even public restrooms can be used.
    don't shave in a pond, creek, stream as if yo use shaving foam it may pollute the local wildlife. Take some water from the pond, creek, stream, shave at least 100m away from pond, creek, stream and throw water away at least 100m from pond, creek, stream.

    Also try and get a bio degradable shaving foam if applicable.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    The thing is, if you stay in a campground or use warmshowers or something once a week, you can shave then. It's not vitally important to shave everyday. Even now that I'm working again, and wearing skirts to work because it is hot, I only shave my legs every other day ... and not at all on weekends.

  8. #8
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stephenjubb View Post
    don't shave in a pond, creek, stream as if yo use shaving foam it may pollute the local wildlife. Take some water from the pond, creek, stream, shave at least 100m away from pond, creek, stream and throw water away at least 100m from pond, creek, stream.

    Also try and get a bio degradable shaving foam if applicable.
    Don't presume people use shaving foam when they recommend shaving by ponds, creeks, and streams. I certainly don't - not even in my bathroom. Once skin is conditioned to water enough, the cream/foam is not necessary. When I was a Boy Scout, olive oil was the recommended green substitute for those with sensitive skin or who still want a shave conditioner, and can be used right at the water's edge with no imminent terror to the local wildlife.
    Last edited by Alekhine; 03-02-13 at 02:19 AM.
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  9. #9
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    No, it isn't necessary to use anything at all when shaving ... not even water. Although dampening the skin can make shaving a little bit more comfortable.

    When Rowan and I lived in a tiny cabin in the hills for a year recently, with little to no modern conveniences, I would put a bit of cold water into a plastic basin then boil some water to add heat. Then I would soak a washcloth in the basin and drape it over/on one leg for a few minutes. Soak the washcloth again and drape it over the other leg. And then I'd shave the first leg. By then the second was ready to shave. And then I'd wash both legs with the washcloth.

    No soap, no shaving foam, no creams, no hair conditioner, nothing. Just a small basin of hot water, a washcloth, and a razer. And all under 10 minutes.

    A cycletourist could do the same sort of thing in camp at night ... I carry a men's handkerchief to use as a washcloth because it is small, light, and dries quickly ... and the basin could just be a cooking pot. Boil water in the cooking pot, let cool a bit or add a splash of cold from your water bottle ... and begin ...

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alekhine View Post
    Don't presume people use shaving foam when they recommend shaving by ponds, creeks, and streams. I certainly don't - not even in my bathroom. Once skin is conditioned to water enough, the cream/foam is not necessary. When I was a Boy Scout, olive oil was the recommended green substitute for those with sensitive skin or who still want a shave conditioner, and can be used right at the water's edge with no imminent terror to the local wildlife.
    I wrote "don't shave in a pond, creek, stream as ifyo use".

    since when is if presuming?

    And it is not about "imminent terror" a more appropriate word is respect for the environment, something from your post is clearly in evidence albeit a bit dramatised.
    Last edited by stephenjubb; 03-02-13 at 05:24 AM.

  11. #11
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    Just to add a few more comments

    1: Shaving can it be done? Should it? What's the easiest way if there is an easy way?
    Obviously can be done but I think it will end up being pretty low on your priorities - I ended up just waxing every few weeks.

    2: Going it alone, is there many creeps out there to be worried about?
    I had one problem in 10 months, like others say just be sensible.

    3: Should I carry a knife? Spray?
    I had a knife anyway for cooking, sometimes took it in my tent with me if I was feeling scared but realistically it was just a psychological boost! I also had (dog) pepper spray which I had to use on dogs once although it got taken off me at the border when I crossed into Canada.

    4: What's the worst type of area to watch out for?

    5: What to do in bike short with that time of the month?
    You might want to consider using something like the mooncup. I find this a lot better than tampons and if you're stuck you can just rinse it with a bit of water.

    6: Anything else I have forgotten goes here.
    Have a good trip!

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    @ Valgrl
    Thank you for those tips and well wishes

    @ skilsaw
    Thank you, I hadn't thought to use rec centers.

    @ Machka
    Thank you for suggesting to contact riding club but since most of the places that I will be going through it would not be very useful as I would not be there long enough to go on a ride with them.

    To answer your question about areas that I avoid when I ride. I don't, I pick a route and take it. Most of my planning is with google maps with paper back ups.

    That bit about the damp cloth is a great tip! Thank for sharing that.

    @ Alekhine

    Olive Oil? Have you tried?

    @ Alpine Girl

    Moon Cup? hmmm *googles* Maybe one of the best suggestions I got. Thanks for the well wishes

    As to address number 5 since a lot of you seem to think that it is a no brainer. I am going to be traveling cross a country and not always near a bathroom so stopping to dispose of that cotton bullet isn't going to be easy. Also to add in I use the term "time of the month" as that is when most women get it. Not me, I have medical issues so my training ride haven't had to deal with that. I didn't want to get crude about it either but looks like a more straight forward approach is needed.

    How do you clean mensuration blood out of a gel pad of bike shorts? What kind of soap would be best? Hand? Dish? Dove body bar? Camp soap? How fast does it soak into the gel padding? If it does is the shorts ruined?

  13. #13
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    As a college guy, I am personally offended that everyone's acting like children when someone asks about handling menstruation on a longer solo tour. It's not straightforward, and the majority of answers were pretty rude. I've sat in that seat for hours, it is a small stretch of the imagination to see things getting uncomfortable. I have infinite sympathy.

    CCgirl83, here's some good links I found for you. Sorry if anyone made you feel even slightly embarrassed for asking such an important question. The forums are usually a little friendlier.

    http://hikinglady.com/hiking/this-one-is-for-the-girls/

    http://www.ehow.com/how_6397454_remo...od-stains.html

    You might also find this helpful. There's a nice little collection of tips at the bottom.

    http://www.womenscycling.ca/blog/hea...ital-problems/


    Happy riding!

    Edit: Found this on a women's cycling forum:

    "If you are concerned about messing up your shorts with menstrual blood or other secretions ..... don't worry, they wash out just fine. Just put them in the wash as soon as possible after wearing them. A little bit of soap or liquid laundry detergent rubbed into the padding before you throw them in the washing machine will help get them really clean. I wash my cycling clothes separately from other clothing at a temperature of 40C - about 100F - using liquid laundry detergent without fabric softener and they come out fine."
    Writing, Working, Photographing, and Living from the saddle. MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com

  14. #14
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    A knife is useful but not for self-defense. The spray seems a better idea, although my wife and I have never carried it. In addition, you might consider carrying a whistle.

    Some courses or workshops can also be good preparation: not only self-defense, but perhaps also first aid and/or bicycle repair. Such things can make you more confident on the road.

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    If you're interested then I would definately say try something like a mooncup. One of the benefits of it is that there is no risk of TSS so theoretically you can leave it in for quite a few hours (I would sometimes forget and have it in all day without rinsing out). It doesn't leak if placed properly, and if you are not regular you can use it when you don't have your period yet beforehand and hopefully stop any blood in your shorts issues. For that, just use any soap. I used something like this for everything (me, hair, dishes, clothes etc...)
    http://www.lifeventure.co.uk/product...pose-soap.html

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    As a college guy, I am personally offended that everyone's acting like children when someone asks about handling menstruation on a longer solo tour. It's not straightforward, and the majority of answers were pretty rude. I've sat in that seat for hours, it is a small stretch of the imagination to see things getting uncomfortable. I have infinite sympathy.



    Oh college guy ....... are the "everyone" you're referring to the female cyclists here? Female cyclists who actually deal with this issue month after month after month after month after month after month after month after month after month after month after month ... let's see, what's 13 multiplied by some number over 30 (as in years)???

    Menstruation is not straightforward ... many of us have all sorts of issues and difficulties with it. Have you gone through several years where every time you went for a ride of 100 miles or more, your period started ... even if your previous one was only a week or two before? Deal with that! Do you get agonizing cramps for 2 days when your periods start? Just try riding with that. How about cycling with the torrential waterfall that comes from having to take blood thinners? Nevermind the headaches and backaches and exhaustion and cravings and frustration with making decisions.

    I've done long rides where I've soaked through all my tampons, and I've just given up and let the padding in the shorts take the rest (yes, it washes out, and soap is soap ... use whatever you've got). I've done long rides where I've had to stop and crouch in the ditch hugging my abdomen and moaning and praying for a hot water bottle to miraculously appear because the pain has been that bad. But I just keep riding (eventually) ... and I keep riding through all the other period related issues.



    I find your comments pretty rude and condescending to those of us who have dealt with this issue and continue to deal with this issue on a regular basis.

    Those of us women who replied to CCgirl83 were not even remotely rude or unfriendly toward her questions. Most of us ride periods or no periods ... most of us deal with tampons, agonizing cramps, soaked padding in shorts etc. etc. on our rides. So when we asked her what she does when she's got her period and she's doing a training ride, it wasn't a rude question at all.

    It's actually not a bad idea to ride in all sorts of situations before a tour, so that you've got some idea how to handle those situations when you start your tour. So ride up hills with a loaded touring bicycle. Ride in wind, rain, sleet, and snow. And ride when you've got your period.



    BTW, to CCgirl83, in answer to the question of what you do with your tampon when you're done with it and there are no bathrooms around ... you carry it with you. In many parts of the world, you do not flush your tampons down a toilet ... here in Australia and in many parts of Europe, that is frowned on. Instead, you put it in a little plastic bag and carry it with you until you find a sanitary disposal unit (located in pretty much all the toilets in Australia), or in Canada, you'd wait to find a garbage bin. I haven't flushed a tampon in years ... but I've carried several with me until I've found a suitable disposal spot.

    And as for dealing with some of the other issues ... get a good painkiller that works for you. I had to try several of the period/PMS painkillers before I found one that reduced the pain but also left me awake (there were some that put me right to sleep as if I'd taken a sleeping pill ... not exactly the effect I was looking for if I still had a couple hundred km to go that day). And if heavy periods with lots of PMS symptoms (headache, backache, etc. etc.) area problem, you might do some research on how calcium can reduce some of those symptoms.

    It's also a good idea to have a talk with your Dr. if you've got a particular medical issue.

    Oh, and incidentally ... don't use shorts with gel padding. Get shorts with real padding ... after a few rides, you'll begin to regret the gel.

  17. #17
    Senior Member mdilthey's Avatar
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    Machka, I wasn't talking to you, because you weren't rude. No need to get offended, we're on the same team... well, not literally, but you know what I mean.


    5: What to do in bike short with that time of the month?
    If you can't figure this out, uh....???? Tampons are the same in bike shorts as regular clothes.
    Writing, Working, Photographing, and Living from the saddle. MaxTheCyclist.wordpress.com

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    Well I'm a guy, but this is the first I have ever heard of the moon cup. Going to recommend it to some friends as an alternative to the usual remedies. Seems more environmentally friendly.

    @CCgirl83, you might consider taking Dr. Bonners liquid soap with you. It can be used for many things (just about every type of soap need) including shaving if you feel the need to use something. A little goes a long ways. Machka's suggestion for just prepping with warm water and a washcloth is good though. I even do that shaving my face quite often.
    Last edited by Ciufalon; 03-05-13 at 12:29 AM.
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  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mdilthey View Post
    Machka, I wasn't talking to you, because you weren't rude. No need to get offended, we're on the same team... well, not literally, but you know what I mean.

    But the thing is, those other comments are right too. CCgirl83 is turning 30 this year ... when you've dealt with something approx. 200 times, you should become something of an expert. Now, throwing cycling touring into the mix might be new and different for her, but really it's no different from dealing with a period at work, or when travelling by some other method of transportation.

    Maybe that's some reassurance for you CCgirl83 ... it's no different. The only difference is that you might be changing tampons in public toilets or behind trees instead of in the comfort of your own bathroom. No biggie. And if you suffer from cramps, you can opt to take it easy that day.

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    I was the one being rude, but I am incredulous, if one can't deal with one's period on the bike without asking for help, how will one deal with all the other decision making involved in a bike tour?

    I'm sure the OP was just trying to get some ideas of how other people handle it, and she would be able to deal with it in real life when it came up, but it just seems so easy that asking seems to indicate a bigger issue, like lack of confidence in one's decision making. I was rude and incredulous. Sorry OP, honestly, sorry. Most of the time I can control it, that time, I didn't. I can be very blunt.

    The blood washes out of the chamois, same as your panties, and it might stain but who cares b/c no one but you is going to see it. You will need to wash and rinse the shorts thoroughly with plenty of soap and water. You use whatever soap you are carrying - body soap, camp sudz, Dr. Bronners, dish soap. I use Dr. Bronners for all soap functions, so I don't have to carry multiple kinds of soap. This can be done at camp, but if you have a dry camp, you can do it in the next public restroom if the sink isn't gross. This sort of thing is one reason why camping in developed campgrounds can be nicer, you'll definitely have access to running water, and probably a sink, but it's not a show-stopper to deal with a dry camp.

    Put the used tampon in a baggie (double bag depending on bag quality), put it in a pannier, throw it away at the next opportunity. If you don't get your period very often (i think that is what you meant) just carry like 3 tampons and buy a small box when you need it - almost every gas station carries them. If you are going to be in a different country from where you live, don't be surprised if the products are pretty different.
    ...

  21. #21
    Mrs. Hop-along redeyedtreefr0g's Avatar
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    I'll put in a resounding vote for a mooncup. I have The Keeper Mooncup (Mooncup= clear silicone rather than the original Keeper latex rubber version), and it is the single best invention I've ever come across. I cannot believe that thing was invented in the 50s, and I had to struggle with pads and tampons all through high school. Geez, mom.

    I love that I can put it in early to avoid surprises. I love that it will not leak if you put it in right, and after the first few months of learning, you know exactly what that feels like (or rather, doesn't feel like!). I love that after my first few heavy days, I can go all day long without worrying about my period at all- I can change it once in the morning and then once before bed. I love how clean it can be. I love how I learned about my body due to thinking how WEIRD that cup thing was, and wanting to know exactly how it could work. I CAN empty it and replace it inside me without water, and it is easy, although normally I like to rinse it. I don't have any embarassing trash for a puppy to discover, I don't have a stash of supplies that need restocking, I don't have to worry about a certain shape or brand or scented/unscented- just my Mooncup.

    I love that The Keeper has a 3 MONTH return policy. As long as you don't cut more than half the stem off, you can just return it for destruction and receive your money back! I took two months to decide that the stem was stupid before I lopped it off. I would give my twin sister a gift of one if I thought she'd try it instead of just giving me a funny look and shoving it into a drawer.

  22. #22
    Senior Member Tansy's Avatar
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    Seconding the divacup/mooncup suggestion. It's the one thing you need to make sure you never end up stuck in a storm in a tent all day and night with the bleeds and one emergency tampon.

    I carried some halt dog spray for a while. Twice dogs chased me and I never had time to get the bottle out. The one time I ever used it, it was to season my pasta. I had a stun *** for a while, and managed to zap myself good with it but*aside from that never even recharged the battery and eventually someone else broke it while trying to electrocute his boss. There's no reason -not- to have some possible thing to be used in self-defence, and a knife is just a nice thing to have period. Apples don't slice themselves.

    The only creeps I've run into were in place where I stayed for weeks. All of them were well-intentioned (maybe) creeps who mosty just wanted to warn me to watch out for 'that other guy' (everyone but him). All seemed fairly harmless. When I'm moving along, people generally seem either very open and friendly(most common), sort of confused and maybe troubled, or they just drive by and don't look at me. Just kinda be ready to explain to a lot of people that yeah you're alone and it's okay don't worry. Spread the word - traveling alone is safe for anyone if they make it that way.

    I've been running around mostly on a bike, sometimes staying in a town for a while or hitchiking a bit, for about two years and the few conflicts I've run into have been in groups of people where I just pretty much got drawn in by proximity. Riding alone is a lot more tranquil. Hope you have a great time
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    @ mdithey

    Thank you So very much for the information that I was looking for from people who would have had to deal with it first hand. You are very kind.

    Yes I was very offended by some of the comments to my questions as well as so embarrassed that I have to defend myself still with some of the new comments.

    @ Ciufalon

    Thank you for the soap suggestion, I will try to find some to take with me.

    @ valygrl

    Thank you for your apologies.

    @ Machka

    Thank you for providing me with the info that I asked for ..... after mdithey took his time to search for it.

    Since you think that me turning 30 means that I have dealt with 200 periods and should be an expert on the matter let me correct you now so you can stop.

    24 that's it in the twelve years I have been having them. Started at 18 and have averaged maybe 2 a year if you want to count some spotting. Now with that information you can stop thinking me an expert and realize that you have forced someone to bring up a extremely painful subject when she was just looking for an answer in the off chance that I would have to deal with it on the road since it is a new year.

    @alpine girl, redeyetreefr0g, Tansy

    Thank you for sharing your experiences with the moon cup. I think that will be my best bet to use from now on.


    To end things hopefully with this thread, that if I could go back in time and stop myself from writing I would.

    Most of you were kind enough in answering even if a little incredulous. I think that after this experience I will stick to reading posts and not asking for advice.

    Good bye to you all and good luck on your trips where ever you travel.

    CCgirl83

  24. #24
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    [QUOTE=CCgirl83;1535295824 that's it in the twelve years I have been having them. Started at 18 and have averaged maybe 2 a year
    [/QUOTE]

    Take it from someone who has a very different experience ... consider yourself very fortunate!

    And you'll have to get over that sensitivity if you're planning to tour solo for a lengthy period of time ... but don't worry, you will. It happens naturally when you step out of your comfort zone.

    I hope you do realise that nothing was said here to make you feel offended and embarrassed. After all, you brought up the topic ... and the bottom line is that how you deal with the questions you posed on tour isn't much different than how you deal with them when you're at home.

  25. #25
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    Hey don't go away just b/c I harshed on you. Most everyone else here is nice. You are welcome here.
    ...

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