Packing for a journey is an interesting event.

My mother-in-law always used the word “interesting” when she wasn’t quite sure what to politely make of something.  Is it good?  Is it bad? Or is it just, interesting?

Packing does tend to bring out certain tendencies in people. 

I, for example, am prone to pack things I will never need but do so under the premise that if we broke down in the Mohave Dessert wouldn’t it be nice to have our Washer Toss game?  Or maybe three different sizes of zip ties?  (By the way, I’ve been to that dessert and you do NOT need a washer toss game.)  As a young, preteen reader I can remember a book in which a young boy survived in the woods during colonial times because he had a “possible” bag—if anything was possible to happen, he had something to help him survive it. That book influenced my life more than I realized evidently.  That, and being raised by parents who lived through the Great Depression. Today, I have to make a conscious decision NOT to pack unnecessary items.


I thought about all this as we were preparing for our most recent journey.  I walked past the study and my wife was listing the contents of each plastic tub on an index card that could be affixed to the front of a clear plastic tub.  (I must say:  GRAND idea!)  She craves symmetry and cohesiveness (just check out the screw pattern in our ceiling and walls).  While I would have approached the trip much like moving cross country where the idea is to fill every possible nook and cranny, she goes for the less glamorous organized route where airspace may be sacrificed for interlocking stacks of matching containers.


But hey, as long as someone knows what has been packed and where it is stowed, I’m happy.


Of course, a long journey in a van means more than just packing enough clothes.  Even though we rarely pick a precise route, we do need an IDEA of where we might go so we know if we need bathing suits or parkas (or both).  


But in addition to the clothes, there’s toiletries, towels, tools, and, of course, FOOD.  We travel with a 55QT ice chest stocked with homemade MRE’s (meals ready to eat) and can almost go six days without replacing ice.  We cook on a propane camp stove so try to have meals we can boil.  Of course water is precious.  We generally start out with about 24 gallons of drinkable water but ration it like we learned living through severe droughts in Texas.  Back then what you washed in was used later to water the lawn. Sometimes it’s almost a game to see how little water it takes to wash dishes but we’re not willing to stoop to the level of one #vanlife couple who admitted they just lick the fork and put it back in the drawer!


We are still so new at all of this that we get overly excited and pack DAYS before departure! I might just start living in the driveway so I can keep track of my toothbrush and razor!


Almost time to pull out!


  • David, you can never have too many zip ties. HAPPY BIRTHDAY🎈

    Nancy Puckett-Dunn
  • Interesting! Virginia would be proud. Happy Birthday! Enjoy and treasure each day.

    Betsy Stephens
  • When we first started motor homing – is that a word? – we did the same thing. Packed everything we would ever need in case of rain, hail, lightning, blizzard, drought. You get the picture. Enough dog for for our two dogs and two dozen more dogs. As if there were not a Wal Mart anywhere except here in the city where we live. We were neophytes, but we learned quickly.

    Helen Ammons

Leave a comment