Our house is tiny. Our living room is our bed room, and vice versa. After waking up one of the first things we do is folding back the extra mattress that we use, and make the bed into a little couch again. Some woollen blankets thrown on top of it and hey – all tidy again. We often do this before having breakfast. The van isn’t very spacious to say the least, and with the bed extended even less so. Two people can really feel like a crowd.
I’ve talked to many people travelling like we do, but then using those white camper cars or RV’s, either way: with fixed beds. They’d tell it seems so much of a hassle to them. Every day again: this folding and throwing around all that stuff, just to be able to create some room. Every morning again.
The price we pay
I agreed with this at first. For a long time, actually. Our collapsible bed felt like the price we have to pay for having such a relatively small camper van. I mean, Chewie is the size of a normal car and can even go through the smallest alleyways. I think. (To be honest, I know for a fact there are some in France and Italy that we’d better skip, but you understand my point.) And I also like that we arrive in a civilised way. Modest, not like this huge ship sailing in and attracting everyone’s attention. And, this is even more personal, I simply find those white RV’s not so pretty and very impersonal looking. At least our car is so ugly that’s it’s charming.
Now, I’ve come to love making the bed. It’s become a cherished part of my morning routine.
After deciding it’s ready to leave the bed (I so am an evening person) I will take the duvet with me and put it in the front, on the passenger’s seat. Then I begin airing the sheets and fluffing the pillows, most of the time with the tailgate open – getting in some nice clean, fresh air. Then I’ll take the duvet and wave it up and down. Most probably together with Jeroen, since it measures, like, two by two metres. Then I will put it back and make up the bed neatly, to then fold back the mattress, as so then fold the front part of the fixed bed to the front again and cover both with those fine woollen blankets, which’ soft fabric which I run through my fingers every day, enjoying the feel of the soft fabric.
I used to wash my sheets every week, when I still lived in a house. Now I don’t. But I do have the feeling my bed is more fresh than ever. Never before have I put so much effort in making my bed each day, although it won’t be on display the rest of the day like in a normal bedroom. It’s hidden, to only appear again when it’s time to use it.
This type of undivided attention and also the handling of things when you need them, is something that I’ve really come to appreciate. I cannot take anything for granted, because everything takes up energy. You can look at this the negative way and indeed say: what a hassle. But I now prefer to look at it the positive way and enjoy it. They make for the small things I can rely on. Because, well, is there ever anything sure in this life? It’s nice to have this little stuff to hold onto. (And if you eat more chocolate than you’d actually want or are a smoker or something, you know how comforting tiny actions can be.)
Now this may seem as deliberately changing a mind-set, but it wasn’t it. I was perfectly fine with it being a repetitive task that I didn’t really hate, but didn’t enjoy either. At the least I now allow myself time for doing instead – instead of being the totally stressed out person I was when I still lived in Amsterdam.
I do also think that something like this needn’t be forced. But what if you just look at the little things that need to be done in your own everyday life and ask yourself the question whether you can pay a tad more attention to doing them? I know this sounds so easy that it probably won’t work, but take it from the stubbornest person I know (yeah, that would be me): just try it. For a week. See what you need to know and why you need to do it, and what kind of place it takes up in your life.
For instance: doing the dishes. Don’t those plates grant you the possibility of eating the most delicious things and satisfy your hungers? For instance: walking the dogs. This gets you time outside and enjoy the nature around you and hear the birds sing, without feeling guilty and stressed out over wasting time because you have other chores to do – this is actually one of them.
If you decide to go on with this and try to enjoy those simple, repetitive things more, let me know how it works out for you!