When you travel or live abroad you do things that you wouldn’t normally do at home. You enjoy a beer on the Nile. You talk to people you’ve never met, maybe people from a place you’ve never heard of. You soak up every experience, because that is what you are there to do, you are there to soak up the world.
“You ate what?” your friends at home remark.
“You slept where? You did THAT?”
Confidently you respond in the affirmative, “Yes, I did THAT. We were traveling, that was just the thing to do.”
While traveling you don’t envy those left at home. You look at their routine with a bit of disdain. It might be ok for your friends and family, but routine, well it will never be ok for an explorer like you. You will never settle/fall into a routine/become shackled by normalcy.
And one day it happens. You open your laptop and you realize, you have a routine. You have settled into a daily routine of blogging, checking your email, checking your Facebook and then hitting the town to explore a bit. Map and guidebook in hand you plot out your day or your week or if you are really organized, your next two weeks. You set up a routine.
Now that I have a routine I have to wonder whether routine is actually bad. Is knowing where you are going or what you are doing a bad thing? I’m an adventurer at heart, but I recognize that I also crave normalcy. I love knowing within reason what is coming up next. Sure I love surprises and I roll with the punches when things come up, but I do love feeling like my life has a direction. It gives me some sort of sense of purpose in my life. Now that I’m living a less nomadic life, I’m surprised at how happy routine makes me. Call it a revelation if you will, something about myself that I would have never known had I not traveled, but not something that I recognized on the road.
I thought switching between my traveler life and a less nomadic life would be harder than it was. Don’t get me wrong, it was very difficult, but it was a lot easier than I expected. Perhaps it is because I was craving that which I was pushing away so much, perhaps it is because I was craving a routine, or just this adorable puppy.
People ask us all the time if we’d do another RTW. Our responses have changed depending on the day, the moment and what is going on. Each time we speak with other travelers, especially those living a nomadic lifestyle I think that the conversation is going to be hard, that it is going to make me want to be nomadic again – but it almost never does. I find that I don’t envy those that are living out of a backpack or from flight to flight. I don’t think about exploring a region for a year or going out to travel without a plan. Instead I think about taking a few weeks off to intimately explore one region in particular or to achieve one goal in particular (usually an epic hike or a mountain!).
Maybe it’s not a switch between lives that takes a person from the life of a travel to something more normal. Maybe it is a switching between phases of life.