Humans often gravitate towards routine, some of us more than others. I thrive off routine, mostly because I’m a fairly anxious person who finds comfort when expectations are managed, hence my love of routine. I was worried that lack of routine would increase my anxiety on the road. Not true.

Sure the days are wildly different, so there is no routine during the week. Meaning, we don’t ride every Saturday, go to gym on Tuesdays and Thursdays and have happy hour every Friday or whatever kind of groove we had before. However we have day-to-day routine within the van. It wasn’t planned or conscious, it just happened and I love it! A few constants during a year of many unknowns, is comforting.

Examples of routine:

Mornings & Nights: For the most part, I take Penny for her final bathroom visit of the night while Jon gets ready and crawls in to bed first. Only one of us can “get ready” at a time otherwise you get annoyed and want to chop the other persons head off for being in your way.


Coming Home


Mornings with Penny

Therefore, since I’m on night duty, Jon is the first one out of bed with Penny in the morning. She usually gets up between 630-730 am, same as we do, and rarely needs to go out but often just wants to get in bed with one or both of us. Sometimes Jon takes her to the bathroom, but mostly he just plunks her in bed with me for a puppy burrito session with our extra blankets, while Jon gets the coffee going. It’s magical. She even knows the command for “squat” in order to make the 36 inch lift to the bed more ergonomically sound for the lifter. We spent a lot of our time in California visiting with friends. I’m always thankful for a house and indoor plumbing, but our morning routine kept getting messed up and I missed it. Now that our house visits are fewer and further between, we get to settle in to the sweetness of mornings in Ellie.

Bike Prep: Generally speaking, Jon will prep bikes before a ride and I will prep the cabin of the van for Penny to be comfortable and cool. I’m getting much better and putting the bikes in and out of the garage (ie under the bed), but at first I was so annoyed by the process. In van life you are always moving something to get to something and it was driving me insane, but as my mind slows to the pace of our days, things like that are less annoying. Jon and I are about 50/50 on putting bikes away after a ride. Scratch that, we are 50/50 on putting MY bike away 😉 I don’t touch his, for whatever reason.


Getting bikes ready in Big Sur


A Place For Everything: When it comes to moving stuff to get to stuff, this is a work in progress for us. I obsessively want everything to have a place and for everything to be returned to exactly from where it came because if not, we have to find a new place and space is limited. Jon does not meet me in this world. We are vocal about this. I need to chill and he needs to get better. The balance is happening, slowly. We knew from the moment that this trip started this would be an annoying point for us. Jon doesn’t want me to nag, I don’t want to have to nag. Again, as the pace and the mind slows and chills, so also do some, not all, but some of my OCD tendencies and heightened annoyances. Harmony is emerging.


A place for everything…


and everything in it’s place.

Meals: Jon tends to man the fire and/or the stove, anything with flames. Where as I tend to chop, prep and do dishes. We cook together. We almost never cook together in our house. Cooking together pleases me deeply.


Dinner prep


My chef


Audio books, not just for driving: We have had some long hauls, but for the most part, until we get to Alaska, the drives are much shorter. We started an audio book when we left CO and we have found ourselves listening to it not only as we drive, but sometimes quietly at night in the van before bed or as we are falling asleep. It’s a lovely routine and very calming yet engaging. We listened to The Maze Runner via (after listening to a million podcasts it’s impossible not to get hooked by their constant advertisements of the same 5 companies, of which is one. Pretty soon we are going to find ourselves on SquareSpace –kidding, we already go there – or We just finished Travels with Charley, a Steinbeck classic. It was perfect. Even as I write this blog I have the narrators voice in my head as if I’m writing some type classic.

I am sure there are a million more little roles we have assumed that I’m not conscious of and more to evolve as the months press on, but for now this is our groove and it comforts us.  We refer to Penny as “clockwork orange” and it may just be her doing for our established grove. That girl is as predictable as they come. Thank you for giving us our jobs, sweet Penny Love.

More to come on Basic Needs and Items We Can’t Live Without

3 thoughts on “Routine

  1. Lucy Roibbins

    Pamela – you write so well. Your blogs never cease to amaze me. I feel like you are sitting here at the table in my own kitchen. Miss you madly but so pleased you are doing what you and Jon and Penny Love are meant to do.
    Your Mum


  2. […] for the sake of future adventure Van Lifers, I’ll add a link to that post here and another to “Routine” so that the magic of Google and hyperlinks can keep all this stuff organized in one semi-thread. […]


  3. […] each have our roles in the van and those roles have come about organically (see Routine post). When we get to a place where we are not stealth camping, Jon sets up the awning, mat and other […]


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