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9 years ago, still early in my travels, I wrote an article about the Paradox of Travel Blogging. Basically, you can be out exploring or you can be in front of your computer working, but you can’t do both. I dubbed it Gary’s Paradox, because who doesn’t like naming stuff after themselves, amirite??
While smartphones and social media apps have lessened this somewhat, the fundamental truth of what I wrote 9 years ago still applies today. Travel and work are fundamentally incompatible. You can work away from home, but you can’t work while being out and about doing the things.
Tangential to the subject of working and traveling is being able to have a daily routine.
One of the great parts of traveling is that every day is a new adventure.
One of the downsides of traveling is that the daily new adventure makes it almost impossible to develop a daily routine, which in turn makes it very difficult to be productive.
This is one of the big reasons why I stopped traveling full time 2 years ago and finally got an apartment. It allowed me to have a sense of normalcy when I’m not traveling.
When I’m traveling I’m often moving, that means airport and flights, some of which might be early and some of which might not. It means getting up at a different time every day and probably deal with jet lag while doing so. My schedule for every day will be different, which means different times for meals and everything else.
All that means no possibility to have a real daily routine on the road.
This is fine in small doses. If you are on a vacation for 2-weeks, there is nothing wrong with keeping up this sort of schedule, especially if you aren’t trying to work.
The real problem I’ve found is trying to get back to some sort of daily routine after you’ve been on the road for an extended period of time.
I’ve just finished a month of travels where I wasn’t home for more than 24-hours between trips. I’ll be here for the next month, but getting back into some sort of routine is difficult.
When I moved into my apartment 2 years ago after 9 years on the road, I kept up many of the habits I developed over the previous decade of travel. I almost never cooked for myself. I ate out all the time.
I treated my life like I did during one of my travel breaks, where I holed up in a hotel and worked in front of my computer. Those stretches were fine because most of the time I wasn’t in front of my computer. It didn’t work so well when I finally got a place of my own.
Only now am I trying to get into a routine where I can work, eat healthily and stay in shape while I’m at home.
I’m not sure what that final balance will look like, but I know there has to be something.