Back to all posts.

Driving With My Head In The Clouds

I can be quite impulsive. Not “buy a Snickers at the checkout” impulsive, (okay, that too), but “drive to another country at 22:00pm” with a homie, “just quit college, bro”, and “move to another country” impulsive.

When you embark on a challenge impulsively and without preparation it comes with a set of challenges. When I drove with my homie to Luxembourg it was a time when car navigation wasn’t common, so basically it came down to my excellent sense of direction of where Luxembourg was roughly on the map to make it there. We did. Had a hamburger from a fast-food joint and drove back.

Quitting college meant I needed a source of income, but that too was solved simply by talking to people I knew, people I didn’t know, and a fair share of luck. “Luck is with the fools”, a Dutch proverb, has always seemed aptly appropriate to describe my antics and my ability to recover from them throughout the years.

Through this impulsiveness I also found myself in the Middle East for a few months now. If you are unfamiliar with the Middle East, it’s hot. Even in winter. And there’s sand. A lot of sand. Through the sands lay roads, and on the roads you can drive.

One faithful day I was driving with my partner, and I had the brilliant idea of driving into the desert. On roads, but into the desert nevertheless. Chinatsu, my partner, generally goes along with whatever I want to do which and so it was decided we would drive into the desert, completely unprepared.

As we drove along the desert roads any marks of civilization except for the road we drove on disappeared until we were surrounded by aforementioned sand. I had been driving for about an hour until I realized I was thirsty. And needless to say I didn’t bring any water.

Chinatsu was thirsty as well, so I decided to turn the car around and head back the closest petrol station. As I attempted to make a U-turn, our car got stuck on the side of the road and needed some back-and-forth-ing to become unstuck. No problem. Hardly an issue. But an issue large enough for me to consider what we should do if we were to become stuck.

Stranded without water in the desert would be uncomfortable. However, being stuck on a road means that at one point someone should drive by to help us out, be it after 1 hour, 2 hours, or a few more. Regardless, not a life or death situation. It would be moderately uncomfortable and highly embarrassing at most.

As we drove back, mother nature struck up a beautiful scene with clouds packing overhead. Even a small cloud can hold over 500,000 liters of water, more than enough to quench our thirst until the end of our lives.

Yet I was on the ground, and the clouds were up there high in the sky. How would I go about fetching a cloud?

My first thought was to craft a straw that’s long enough for me to suck water from the cloud. Of course, I’d never be able to create a vacuum strong enough to pull water vapor all the way down. Plus where would I even begin to create a straw that’s large enough to reach the clouds, and for me to be able to hold it? Dumb Idea 1

My next idea was to create some sort of tennis racket with a piece of cloth instead of wires at the end to simply scoop up water droplets in the fabric. Assuming I could craft something large enough, and me being strong enough, this would seem my best option. Dumb Idea 2

Before I had time to come up with another impracticable and highly unfeasible plan, we had reached a petrol station. One that sold water in bottles. What a novel concept.

A few hours later were home safe, and with my water net still on my mind I decided to do some googling on what the best ways to collect water from clouds is – and although the number one option is still to wait for rain, there’s communities and companies out there creating fog nets. With some models being able to collect up to 22 liters per square meter of net on a foggy day. That’s enough drinking water for a single person for about 10 days!

And of course, we now keep a 5 liter bottle of water in our car. Just in case I’m unable to create my hypothetical cloud catching tennis net.