Taking your Routine on the Road

Routines are familiar and comfortable. We work out the best way of organizing our day and don’t have to waste energy coming up with a new plan each day. There are few surprises or disappointments because we have done the same thing a hundred, a thousand times before. But what happens when we travel? Do we take our routines with us and try to make them work in our temporary environment or do we branch out and discover new ways of negotiating our day? When does a routine become a trap that prevents us from exploring other alternatives and leads us to frustration?

When travelling meal time can turn our routines up-side-down, especially in foreign countries that don’t follow our same traditions; breakfast is a quick espresso and you can’t get your regular cereal; no ice in your coke; restaurants don’t open for dinner until 8:30pm; when you order a martini they ask you what color you want. It can become a source of aggravation that spoils our trip if we let it. But with a little flexibility and imagination we open ourselves up to a greater appreciation for different ways of experiencing the world, allowing us to look beyond what is familiar, and therefore good, to what is unexpectedly good and therefore delightful.

The key, if you are routine driven as I am, is to find the essence of your routine, the part that is really important to you, and adapt it to your temporary environment. For example, having a proper sit down dinner is an important part of our daily routine, but what do when the best fishing hours fall during meal time? Eating early was not a viable solution. The point of having a nice supper is that it is a relaxing end to the day, a time to enjoy good food and each other’s company, not a hurry up and eat so you can go do something else event. No, we would have to eat late, after fishing. But to eat late, 10pm or later, would leave me starving and not happy. And then on Tuesday came the simple solution: blueberry crisp before fishing. What an unexpected, delightful treat, hot coffee and blueberry crisp in the late afternoon light to fill our bellies. And so became our routine for the rest of the trip, crisp before fishing and a late, relaxed supper to end the day.