– by Julien
In your everyday lives, we are repeating certain tasks in a particular order, consciously or not, mentally ticking items on an imaginary list as we proceed from one task to the other. By doing so we make sure everything is alright and, in a way, this gives us a feeling of safety and calm.
It can be the way you are getting up every morning by first turning off the alarm clock, then dressing up, brushing your hair, having your breakfast and driving the kids to school. Or all these steps but in a different order.
It can also be how every day when you arrive at work you first get yourself a coffee and make sure you say “Hi!” to all your team-mates before you even turn on your computer.
Yes, we are talking about routines here. And no, if you recognized yourself above, you are not suffering from any kind of autism. We are all doing it and there is nothing wrong with that. Actually it can even be a life-saver sometimes.
As we are travelling in our camper, I came to realise that no matter which means of transport we choose, we are having very similar routines. Noticing that made me smile as some fond memories of our previous cycling trip came back.
To give you an example, when we were getting ready to embark on our cycling trip, we did not know how to approach the packing of our stuff and how we would also make sure that the weight we would carry would be evenly spread across our steel horses. The solution we found was to actually number our bags and create a checklist of the items in each bag.
Put like this, it sounds as if two maniacs were getting ready for some sort of weird adventure.
But actually it turned out that first of all, this system allowed us to save a tremendous amount of time every day as we were travelling (i.e. “Ok, let’s have lunch” > food is in bag 2, cutlery, picnic blanket, gas stove are in bag 5). And second, it gave us a feeling of safety and confidence as we knew that no matter when or how, we would always find what we need from our bags in a flash (which is a huge plus when the weather decides to make your day miserable or when you’re looking for the first aid kit).
And the funny thing is that we probably referred to the checklists the 2 or maybe 3 first days only. After that we remembered where everything was. Simply by repeating the packing-unpacking routine every single day of our trip.
Now we are driving a camper, our brave two-wheeled companions are in the back, always ready for a city tour, and our family now includes. Obviously our routine has changed but what I found extremely interesting is how similar the processes are. Every day as we get up, we proceed the same way. To make sure we can make the most of our day together (and not waste time doing pesky tasks). To avoid putting ourselves in danger (i.e. “every morning, before hitting the road, make sure that all the gas bottles are correctly closed” or “make sure before driving that the stair is correctly folded and all doors and drawers correctly shut”). To be at peace with ourselves, for ourselves.
As I write these lines we are only beginning our trip and I am sure that we will “refine” these routines as we go, like we did while cycling a few years ago. But I am confident that in the near future we could maybe give you some tips and tricks about the life in a camper.
Do you have any you would like to share with us? Or you would like to share your own experience on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment!