One of the most difficult things about long term travel is trying to develop a daily routine. Having a routine is important to me. I have a propensity for going with the flow so I know how important it is (for my being productive) to create schedules, goals, lists, and order for my daily life. Travel interrupts my ‘normal’ daily life so there are a few things that I make sure I do to create some stability while I’m on the road.
No alarm clock. This is critical for me, and has been one of my life goals for as long as I can remember. It may seem counterintuitive to not have an alarm clock to wake you at the same time every morning but I have found that my body naturally wakes up around the same time everyday and I feel more refreshed when I get sleep that is not disrupted by an alarm.
Establish a work schedule. Each day I have things to do – reading, writing, planning, editing, designing, researching, creating and then there’s the coordination of travel, which is fun but also time consuming. I have a set schedule for what time I will work each day. I usually do more mundane tasks in the morning, take a lunch break, then do more fun work in the afternoon.
Make lists. Lists help keep me organized and just the act of making a list helps me to remember other things that I have to do.
Incorporate comforts of home. I can honestly say that I’m not home sick yet. I know it’s coming but until then, I try to cultivate my own ‘norm’ while on the road. I am still traveling frugal but I have splurged on basic things like lotion and good food. It is mentally and emotionally exhausting to be in foreign places for long periods of time, so it’s important to have a connection to home. I recently ate at an American fast food chain while in Peru that reminded me of home and it was a great experience.
Schedule meals. I try to have meals around the same time every morning. When I was in Argentina, my schedule was thrown off a bit because my host family ate dinner at 10:00pm every night, which I wasn’t accustomed to. The good thing about having a routine is that it gives you freedom to deviate from your normal schedule and come right back. Muscle memory, perhaps.