10 Ways to Find Comfort in a Daily Routine When Traveling
1) Don't Snooze
With no agenda, it's tempting to sleep in. However, in many of the places we've visited thus far, it can get oppressively hot as the day goes on. Motivating ourselves to wake up early helped avoid the heat of the day. And in Asia in particular, you can get a real feel for a city in the morning with markets, vendors, and daily commuters. Personally, I found it more gratifying to simply get up and get out.
2) Breakfast Hacks
This year, we're tasked with creating out own routine. But one thing that remains constant is starting with breakfast. It braces up for they inevitable unknowns that may follow. We try to look for hostels, airbnbs, or hotels where it's included. Cereal or toast is usually involved. An omelet and fresh fruit if we're lucky. If breakfast is not an option, than we always look for a place with a fridge and an electric kettle to heat water. Throughout our travels, we found electric kettles to be ubiquitous. It's easy to make breakfast in an apartment, but we now make sure to look for these basic kitchen amenities in hotels. We buy instant oats, a carton of milk, and peanut butter. Surprisingly, we've had no issues finding peanut butter. However, in Asia, milk was an obstacle. Cow's milk is often sweetened and comes in varied flavors. Since the carton is typed in Asian characters, it proves challenging. We bought lightly sweetened milk in Vietnam and learned our lesson. Look for "plain" milk.
3) Scope Out a Park
We try to run when we can. In many cities, it poses difficult due to the heat, congestion, and lack of passable sidewalks. But even in major cities--Hanoi, Bangkok, Mumbai--we've found it relatively easy to find public parks. It's a refuge from the hectic streets and honestly feels like an oasis. Regardless of the location, when looking for a place to stay, we always look at a map to try to stay near some greenery.
4) Allot Time to Work
We typically use late mornings to get some work done. I've always been most productive earlier in the day, and it's no different when traveling. We have to factor in Will continuing to work on the road. Plus, we can forever catch up on emails and use this time to research upcoming destinations and accommodations.
5) Stop for Coffee Breaks
We love exploring on foot. Often, we have a vague idea of a destination, but no concrete plans. Since our home base can be unreliable, we try to find local coffee shops to camp out for a bit. It's a socially acceptable place to linger, and we have no qualms with breaking out our Kindles. Ultimatey, it helps break up the day.
6) Stock Your Daypack with Activities
When traveling, everyday is different. And largely unexpected. You don't know what who you'll meet, what you'll learn. We've learned to bring a journal, a deck of cards, and our Kindles everywhere. In India, we were recently waiting for a boat to cross the river when it started to downpour. There was no service, no telling if or when the boat would actually come. We found shelter under a rock, made a seat with our raincoats, and read for what was likely over an hour. As for the cards, we play anytime we have a flat surface area. While we're waiting to order at a restaurant, when it rains, just because. We've been playing a lot of cards.
7) Pencil in Off Days
You can't climb mountains and visit temples everyday. It's simply unrealistic. Yet it took me a while to accept "off days." New Zealand was stunning. It was the beginning of the year, and our adrenaline levels ran high. We were moving quickly in an attempt to see and do as much as possible. I feared we'd never get back to that side of the world--due to the distance--so I wanted to cram everything in. Will reminded me that if we continued at this rate, we'll burn out emotionally and financially. After New Zealand, we slowed down by staying at places for about a week to avoid travel fatigue. Minimum four days. Staying in locations longer meant that if it rained and we laid low or we needed a day to catch up on work, we didn't feel that we were missing out. Because the daily FOMO is real.
8) Track Expenses
We're out of our element, out of our comfort zone. Pricing drastically differs from Australia to Thailand. Will's better at this than I, but he's diligent about tracking our spending. He uses Trail Wallet, an app on his phone specifically designated to tracking expenses while traveling. We also update a spreadsheet nightly.
9) Celebrate Simple Luxuries
We stayed in a village in Southern India, in which there was often no power and running water was intermittent. We started and ended each day by wiping our face with towelettes I'd brought from home, and had yet to use. It felt like such a treat! In more developed places, every so often we invest in Listerine and a loofah. These are two items I never sought out at home, but I find them completely underrated while traveling. With consistent weak water pressure and gobs of daily sunscreen and bug spray, a simple loofah was the only way we really felt clean.
10) Read or Write Before Bed
Will and I semi-unintentionally quit TV. We now allot a significant amount of time to wind down and read before falling asleep. It's no surprise it's helped tremendously. When I can, I also try to write two feelings I've had that day. You don't have to elaborate, though I often do. The crux of it is to serve as a record, in which you can look back on reoccurring emotional patterns. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, but this year in particular, it helps me digest what we've experienced.