The Undeniable Routine of Life and Travel


I tried.  I really did.  But in the end - FAILURE!

When I started this website I kind of fell in love with the idea of killing my routine.  I wanted to ditch all the confines of the daily rituals I had been habitually performing my entire life and just start living by the seat of my pants.  I wanted to just go with what the day offered up - live in the moment.  Work when I wanted to work.  Play when I wanted to play.  Eat when I wanted to eat.

Forget the clocks.  Forget the planner.  Forget the routine.

What a stupid idea!  Seriously.  The dumbest idea of all time.

I had that rush of freedom for a while, but inevitably my vices and nature caught up with me.  And I burnt out.

Sure, it's a sweet idea.  Everyone wants to just go the way the wind blows.  But eventually the wind starts gusting at 80 clicks and you wind up being scraped off the side of a building.  Spontaneity can be really messy once you have kids and commitments.

I think it's time to give in and pull that old day planner out from the ashes.

We are creatures of habit, both good and bad.  All creatures are.  In order to succeed in life we need routines.  If we kill them, we often end up killing ourselves.  If I don't have something that helps put the good habits to work, the bad habits just end up kicking my ass.

We can all go to Vegas for a few days and pretend that time is nothing and the moment is all, but try doing that for week and see how you feel.

Travel and life have a lot in common when it comes to routines.  I think most of us like to think of travel as an escape from the routine, a break from the daily, grinding rituals.  But travel is not an escape!  A vacation, now maybe that is an escape, but travel is certainly no vacation.  Travel is a way of life.  And in life we need to have those rituals and routines to keep us from working ourselves silly and making a bunch of excuses to let the simple stuff slide.

I suppose this may not be the case for all of you.  I suppose some of you may have some special gene that keeps you on the path and in perfect balance.  I don't have that gene.  I need a routine.   No way I can spend quality time with my family, teach my kids, write, eat, stay healthy, have fun, breath, socialize and sleep without one.

So, considering our family's quest to travel forever, I figured I would take some time to come up with a routine that would not only work for me now, but continue once we start traveling.  A little self-imposed scheduling to get myself back on track and get our family ready for the great adventure.  I am going to start plotting out my little routine right away.

But I am curious.

How do all you world travelers and perfectionists do it?

Do you have a travel routine?

A homeschooling routine?

An exercise routine?

A blogging routine?

Whatever you got that can help get this boy back on the path is much appreciated.

And if anyone has any ideas as to what I should do about that ridiculous mantra that is now pointlessly placed at the top of your screen, please feel free to share!


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All The Best in Your Adventures!


Flickr Image by Avital Gertner


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'The Undeniable Routine of Life and Travel' have 11 comments

  1. August 9, 2011 @ 12:14 pm Clark Vandeventer

    I go back and forth on this one. We embarked on a lifestyle of family travel (although we didn't realize we were about to make a lifestyle change at the time) a few years ago when it dawned on me that although I had freedom and flexibility with my work (both in terms of time and geography) we were not taking advantage of that freedom and flexibility. We were home and I worked relatively regular hours.

    That's when we first rented out our home and traveled (initially for 6 months).

    There are many benefits to the life that we've chosen and I would not have it any other way. But let's face it: there are also drawbacks. If I am going to work "regular hours" and not take advantage of the freedom and flexibility we have--I may as well "get a job."

    All of that is not an argument against routine. What we have settled into is an unconventional routine. A little bit of work in the morning. Then family fun. Then in the afternoon either my wife or I will do some work while our youngest naps--whichever of us isn't working is with our son. After nap there's more family fun, dinner, bath, book, bed for the kids. And then back to work. The hard part is quitting work so we can enjoy part of the evening together and get some sleep.

    The point though is that we spend a lot of the daylight hours (when are kids are awake) NOT working and embracing a sort of unconventional routine. We work at night when the kids are asleep and it's not so fun at the beach!

    Not that we have it figured out. Trust me, we don't!


  2. August 9, 2011 @ 3:11 pm Justin

    Clark - you sure we are not the same person? You hit on it exactly.

    When that sun sets I am obsessive. It's got to change. I never sleep. We are thinking of rotating mornings and clocking out by noon everyday! I'll let you know!

    Thanks for sharing. Glad I am not the only one.


  3. August 9, 2011 @ 3:49 pm Julia

    This is so in line with how I feel -- well put!
    Julia recently posted..Riots


    • August 9, 2011 @ 8:18 pm Justin

      Like I said, glad I am not the only one. Personality has a lot to do with it I think. Thanks for the comment!


  4. August 9, 2011 @ 6:07 pm Rebeca

    As a mom who works full time (taking care of kids, cooking, home educating) at home, I find it's much harder to impose a routine on myself than when there were outward structures of work, school, etc. But, everyone functions better knowing what to expect next. I wrote a post about this a couple years ago, about how it works in our family.
    When we travel we try to keep the same kind of rhythm to our days as well, adjusting as necessary. For the most part, we try to be home, wherever that is, in the afternoon, so that everyone can have a siesta. It would be interesting to hear how other families who aren't governed by 9-5 schedules structure their days.
    Good food for though, Justin.
    Rebeca recently posted..Gifts of Grace


    • August 9, 2011 @ 8:26 pm Justin

      That amazes me Rebecca. Good for you guys! I am going to check out your post. I can balance the kids. I just can't balance the work and myself. I get so wrapped up in blogging, writing. And then there is things like exercise and reading and such. I just have so much I want to do. I am sure it doesn't help that I STILL run non-profit program 5 days a week. Too much on my plate. I suppose if you minimize the stuff you have, which is our idea of course, it gets easier. But I will be honest, I start at 9 and look at the clock and it is 2AM and woops, I did it again.

      Thanks Rebecca


      • August 10, 2011 @ 11:53 am Rebeca

        I struggle with that too; after the kids are settled down I can work on my projects, read, hang out with Erik, whatever. We usually stay up way too late. We too are working on drastically minimizing our stuff, realizing that way too much time and energy is spent caring for it in one way or another. Some days I just want to get rid of everything. Other days I'd settle for about 90%. :> One box at a time...
        Rebeca recently posted..Gifts of Grace


  5. August 10, 2011 @ 4:01 am Nancy from Family on Bikes

    I totally understand the need for routine! We heard from so many people that "kids need routine; they need stability" and I was so confused for a long time. We had MORE routine and MORE stability while traveling than we ever did back home! Life was terribly predictable in so many ways while we were out cycling.

    I wrote about the routines in our lives here: http://www.examiner.com/world-bike-touring-in-national/our-life-as-a-family-on-bikes

    What happens when you travel is that your routines changes and the stability is a different kind of stability than what you had at home. You've just changed one set of "normal" for another.
    Nancy from Family on Bikes recently posted..Newsletters


  6. August 12, 2011 @ 1:18 am GotPassport Family

    My husband J functions much better w routines. When I snapped him out of the routine and moved us to Thailand, I learned a big lesson that taking him out of his routine was a big mistake. I, on the other hand, am not so much of a routine person in general. But with a child becoming more and more active and demanding of my attention, it was clear that we needed routines most of the time. She's going back to school in two days and boy, am I glad. I send her off to school happily where she will have structure and routine. And her being in school gives us a routine as well. We know when we need to drop her off, we prepare her lunch daily, we pick her up at a particular and she knew what to expect during the week. It's nice to be back home to start a new school year and a new routine.

    We do tell our daughter though, especially when we are traveling road-tripping that some days we have to go with the flow and maybe routine-less. So she knows when we say "go with the flow!" :-)

    The one thing we don't make a routine out of is blogging. We blog when we can, when we are inspired to do so for the past year.

    We are always readjusting the way we do things, especially things that don't work for us. And that things that do we either improve or let it be.

    Recently, we decided that we're going to set a time 2-3 times a week, schedule in on our calendars so that we can both sit and work on projects together.

    We've had a semi-retired life in CM for the last year and now we need more of a challenge. And routines will hopefully help us!

    Best wishes as you find your own routines and "go with the flow" every so often to make things work. It's different, I;m sure, for each family! :-)

    Cheers from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
    GotPassport Family recently posted..Chiang Mai is Where We Call Home; And Home Sweet Home, It Is!


  7. August 17, 2011 @ 11:50 pm Elizabeth

    Oh God Justin I feel this post. I am beginning to hate my blogging 'career' as I made it into that. Routine, work, and the fun is left out. Not sure what I am going to do now.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Mom Blogger Profile: Marilia from Tripping Mom


    • August 18, 2011 @ 6:18 am Justin

      It is a very tough game to play when you have a family. Heidi and I are working really hard right now to make adjustments and develop a schedule that works for us and keeps our family first. I think you have to have a routine. You have to have something that keeps you on schedule. It is finding the right routine that is key. How do you fit it all in without going nuts!


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