Recovering Nomad – The Role of Routine

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Anchored again to one location, Chelsea for now, I am starting to settle into the community and with it, develop a switch in mindset.

Top of mind while traveling might have been scrambling to find a place to bunk down for the night, hunting down a restaurant that didn’t serve up a side dish of salmonella, or deciphering the local language in an effort to navigate from A to B.

Buddhist Monks Making A Trade

On average I was in a new place every three or four days, and routine barely existed at various stages of my journey – different time zones, locals’ meal schedule, not to mention the considerations of others whose habits differed from my own.

The day to day challenges precluded routine, and I was acutely aware that being regular (in all senses of the word) was often a precursor to getting into the groove. It would often take a few days to a week to know where I would get my morning coffee before sitting down to write.

Routine was a word that for so long had such negative connotations, but now little examples dot my days and weeks.  I plan my days to become more productive, recognizing the various nuances of life in my community.

Sometimes it is the little things that make the difference, helping to form my daily and weekly cycles – routines that are grounding and important in my lifestyle.

For example, a typical morning routine in casa Ranger would look like this: Wake up in a clean space (covered in this post), boil water for tea and coffee, and meditate for a few minutes.

Mornings are my more creative time, so I often stop at a bakery before heading to the High Line, well before the tourists arrive and subject themselves to the heavy-handed Buddhist monks who demand $20 donations for bracelets. After a few hours of writing (the lack of wifi there helps as well), I stroll home where I practice yoga for a bit, shower and have lunch.

Sometimes I might switch up the High Line for the New York Public Library to write. My location might change every once in awhile but the practical routine is consistent.

google maps workplace
Google Pointing Out My Moving ‘Workplace’

A New Yorker tendency is to schedule things weeks in advance, creating routines that span timeframes that for so long have been incongruent with my travel plans.

I’m again able to sign up to recurring yoga classes, instead of one-offs, purchasing Groupons that only locals could take advantage of (three Brazilian waxes for the price of one, or a ten-class pilates package), then placing it in my calendar and clicking the most magical of boxes, “Recurring Event.”

Apparently it’s still not consistent enough for Google. While I’m setting into my new normal, Google’s predictions are consistently wrong. It doesn’t yet understand that the routine varies, and often warns me that I will be late for work at the library, or tries to send me to the High Line on a cold rainy morning.

Clearly their Calendar alerts aren’t designed with nomad travelers in mind, though I do tend to listen when it tells me to go to Tompkins Square Bagels.

What routines or activities keep you grounded? For those who have traveled extensively, how do you manage to slip back into routine?

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  • Yoga routines keep me grounded. The first thing I do in a new place is try to find a studio I can practice in. It’s also great to get meet the community of people

  • Really enjoying your blog here, Peter! 🙂
    This post totally made me realize that I need to get back to routine. I’ve been a little bit too lazy lately, causing me to lose track of myself. But I’m back on meditation, yoga and early mornings. Soon I’ll be “back in business”!

  • Yoga and Crossfit help keep my focused and motivated especially in stressful situations

  • When I travel my routine isn’t so good. I like the sound of yours. I’m constantly on the move so find it hard to get into a constructive pattern. I try too hard and relax too little. I’m going to try and slow it down. It will do me good.

  • You know those aren’t really Buddhist monks. They are in the costume of monks just like the costumed characters in Times Square. It would be amusing if they weren’t so aggressive.

  • I love routine. It grounds me. But sometimes, it can also squeeze out the inspiration and that can be frustrating. So my motto is, “not too tight, not too loose.” Mornings are often routine whereas afternoons are looser, in general, more or less. And summer is great to break up routine and just chill. 🙂

  • I try to form a routine, well at least my cats have a routine and they are my alarm clock once their things are in place, I seem to wander somewhat. My recent travel was to Jordan and I just went with the flow. woke up early and enjoyed a hearty breakfast then allowed the taxi driver to take me to a couple of sights before having to return home.

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