HOW TO KEEP UP WITH ROUTINES


One of the biggest reasons why people avoid taking extended trips is because they're afraid of losing touch with their routines while on the road. Long trips mean less time to exercise, less time to eat healthy food, less time to stay in touch with family and friends, right?

This doesn't have to be the case. The great thing about traveling is you can shape the trip to fit you - anything you want to keep from your current life can travel with you, while anything you don't like about your current life can stay behind. 

My husband and I recently took a trip up the Pacific Coast Highway, from Los Angeles all the way up to Seattle. Our long, leisurely road trip took about two weeks, and included camping, rock climbing, and a few days exploring San Francisco and Portland. The television company he works for was on hiatus, but I was able to keep working during the entire road trip, and we kept several routines that were important to us. Here's what we did:

Exercise
Exercise is hugely important to both my husband and me, and we knew that spending two weeks on the road could seriously slow down our exercise routines. Yes, walking along the coastline is exercise, but it's not the same as the serious yoga and running practices we've picked up.

At first, we thought about looking for one-day visiting gym memberships, but that seemed like it was an expense and a hassle. So we reconfigured and created a plan. Every morning, we started the day with our Ashtanga asanas. We lay out our mats and performed sun salutations and stretches in hotel rooms, in our friend's guest room and even out on the soft grass, near the tent we had pitched the night before. Yoga has the advantage of being able to travel extremely well.

Then, in the evenings, we found a place to run. We ran on beach boardwalks, through the streets of San Francisco and once, in laps around a roadside rest stop. We're both training for a half-marathon, and stopping our running practice wasn't an option. If you're willing to take time out of your day to exercise, just like you do in your regular life, you can make it work even when you travel.

Work
I'm a freelance writer by trade, and the internet made it possible for me to keep up with assignments in hotel rooms, in cafes and even on the road, while my husband drove the car. Although some friends were surprised that I kept "working" while I was on "vacation," it's a way of life for me and I would feel weird if I didn't put a few thousand words on the page every day. Plus, it gave my husband and me some much-needed time apart; I'd go to a coffee shop and write for a few hours, and he'd go explore a record store and look for new piano sheet music.

Music
Did I mention my husband is taking piano lessons? Like many kids, he took music lessons in elementary and high school but stopped when he went to college. Now, he's picking it back up again. He didn't want to skip practice sessions during our road trip, so we packed an electronic keyboard - with headphones - for him to use in hotel rooms while I wound down with a good book. (Current reading: Anna Quindlen's Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Highly recommended for anyone thinking about starting a family.)

So my husband practiced every night, and we contacted a music company offering San Francisco piano lessons and arranged for him to spend one afternoon with a music teacher while I worked on my writing assignments. It was a great way for him to keep up on his music while we took our trip.

Keeping in Touch
We have a friend who regularly takes month-long trips to Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong. Even while overseas, he still manages to keep up with his weekly Dungeons and Dragons game via Skype. My husband and I aren't D&D players, but we do like opening up Google Hangouts at the end of the day and chatting with old friends. It's a great way to keep up with people while we're away, as well as friends we don't see very often. 

All you have to do is open a Hangout, and Google lets your friends know you're online. Then, if they want, they can join you. We've talked to fellow runners, said hi to our parents, and even stayed up to comfort a friend with a newborn who just wouldn't sleep.



In many ways, the modern world is set up to handle mobile lifestyles. We've always been able to buy fresh fruit and healthy food at grocery stores, manage banking and bill paying online, find local churches every Sunday, and manage our lives very much the same way we would if we stayed in one place. The trick, as always, is making the time - if exercising, talking with friends, or practicing the piano is important to you, don't overschedule your travel so that you don't have time for these things. 



Treat your travel like it is your real life - which it is - and plan accordingly!
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