I just finished reading Dishwasher, by Pete Jordan, a few days ago, and thought it was worthy of posting about.
While no literary masterpiece, this book was a fun read, especially for fans of vagabond travel, minimalism, and voluntary simplicity. In the early 90s, Pete Jordan set a goal of washing dishes in all fifty states. Why dish washing? He was good at it, restaurants are always hiring dishwashers because of the high turnover rate, and there are no strings attached. He could get a job and leave it the same day if he didn’t like it without having to worry about the future of his career.
So, Pete gets rid of most of his stuff, packs what’s left into a garbage bag, and sets out. Over the course of the journey he goes through several vans, aspires to cheap home ownership in Kansas, washes dishes on an oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, and publishes a zine that lands him a huge following.
Towards the end the book becomes more of a collection of dishwashing/travel vignettes than a true narrative, but it works. It’s entertaining. And, given the rise of the minimalist movement, well worth reading. Pete Jordan was living a location independent lifestyle with less than 100 things well before the minimalist movement of 2009/10 took root.


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