Habits are the compound interest of self-improvementJames Clear
If you’ve read my previous post about ‘searching for a home’ and being a little travel-fatigued, you might wonder what I do to feel some sort of stability in life (if you haven’t read the post, find it here).
‘Commited’ is probably not an adjective you’d use to describe a traveler, however my commitment to certain practices are exactly what helped me have some feeling of stability and some anchor over the past year. The one thing I have been resorting back to constantly has been my routine.
You might think why on earth would you want to have a routine when you travel?
Isn’t traveling all about being free and doing whatever you want?
I agree but I have learned that having something ‘constant’ in my life to hold on to can be very grounding and reassuring. It’s like a base that I’m standing on from which I can then go and explore instead of just floating around.
Having traveled for a year at an earlier stage in life, I also knew that I wanted to get more out of this year than the previous time. Yes, I wanted to do whatever I wanted, but I also wanted to make sure that I kept up the practices and the routine from my regular life that I knew were good for me. I didn’t want to interrupt my progress in those aspects which is something you can forget too easily when you’re in the ‘every-day-is-different’- lifestyle of a traveler.
One of the most important aspects for me was my morning routine. Maybe you’ve heard about people getting up way before everyone else and how they take that time to get started in the day. I can only say that it’s been life-changing in the way I work on my routine. Getting up 30 min before my usual alarm has given me some very precious extra time!
So, despite traveling, I decided I would do my best to keep up my routine or adapt it to my current needs.
Yoga and meditation have played a major role in this and I’ve worked hard to keep up that habit. It can be tricky finding a space to do yoga, and I had to learn to overcome the thought of ‘everyone can see me, that’s embarrassing’. I have done yoga next to the reception desk, the hallway, on the floor between all the bunk beds and wherever else possible. That time in the morning is very valuable to me and often when things don’t go well during the day, I try to think back to my morning practice and how I successfully started my morning. I also like to journal in the morning to get whatever is lingering in my mind out and on paper. And being the language nerd I am, I already study on a language app right after I wake up (language learning works best in the morning or evening I think – your brain has to work a bit more but what you learn really sticks!).
Also, I found that my morning routine is the easiest to stick to when traveling or even in general. Unless II hav to get up earlier than usual, say to take a bus or head out on a tour, I cam usually set that designated time aside, which is often harder to find or to remember in the middle of the day.
I do, however, make sure to complete some practices during the day as well. Smartphones, as dependent as they can make us, have amazing resources.
I use my phone a lot for language learning and thus study Portuguese at least 30min a day during the afternoon.
My evening is usually ‘catch-up-time’ if I didn’t get some things done I had planned to do. I like to journal again and often end up on a language-learning app (who would have guessed…)
How do I keep myself accountable? Back to my smart little helper, my smartphone and an app called ‘goal tracker’ (I am an app junkie ;)…). You basically make a list of the things you want to get done regularly and then check them off every day. At this point, I don’t use the app anymore to remind me of what I want to do. I know naturally what I want to get done every day as I’ve created strong habits and do these things without thinking about them and without really having to motivate myself to do them. However, it gives me a nice overview of how consistent I am because there will still always be days when I will not do everything 😉
As I mentioned in the beginning, during my first trip, I wished I had had a bit more of a routine. These days I know how to start my day which is a very reassuring feeling as the rest of the day is often in the unknown. I like knowing that there is a frame that I am constantly working on in which I can then paint a new picture every day.
update: I wrote a part 2 to this post: How I set up my routine (and am keeping it up) Check it out for more ideas on productivity and building long-lasting habits!