If you’re a regular reader here, you know that I’m usually pretty good about posting on Mondays and Thursdays. That has pretty much gone out the window over the last couple weeks and for that I apologize.
This trip has been unlike any other I’ve experienced in quite some time. Over the last two years my travel has usually been either longer term, where I have the chance to get into a routine and have no problems adhering to my *extremely rigid* posting schedule. Other trips are usually less than a week and are very purpose oriented; I’ll setup a post before I go, and I won’t have to think about it on the day of.
This trip however has been very different. It’s a two and a half week trip that’s included three very different phases, from internetless jungle retreats to destination-that-shall-not-be-named (until next week), and now to tourist-y high life. Because of that I’ve found it difficult to really get into a routine and into my normal writing mode.
At times when I write on this site it may seem as though I can easily work anytime anywhere.
If only that were true.
This go around between being constantly on the move, surrounded by interesting and inspiring people, and more often than not having no modems or routers in sight, I’ve had trouble staying focused long enough to sit down and actually write something that adds value to your life.
Then I began thinking about the idea of what I should do when traveling, vs. what I want to do.
There’s a fallacy that whenever you’re traveling, abroad, or “being a location rebel” that you need to always be in tourist mode. It’s easy to think that if you’re in a new place for only a set amount of time that you have to go out and see everything – because well, that’s what most people do.
The reality is nothing close to that. The reality is that how you choose to see (or not see), experience, and spend time in a place is totally up to you. If this lifestyle is something that’s appealing to you, you’re going to need to get on board with this notion really quickly.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend last week who really likes working alone. He enjoys being able to lock himself in a room, code all day, and not be bothered. The same guy is also interested in doing some travel over the next year, and was afraid that meant always being around people, taking touristy excursions and generally not being able to work the way he likes to.
I think a lot of people feel this way, and if you’re one of them, you should know that you can spend all day working from a hotel room or an apartment, not see a thing, and that’s just fine. On the flip-side, if you work best in one hour bursts in between roller coasters and water slides, then by all means, grab your computer and work from Disneyland for all I care.
I say that somewhat flippantly, but the reality is I struggle with this a lot. For instance I’ve been in Playa del Carmen for the last five days. I’ve never been here before, and I know there are some incredible places in the area. Chichen Itza, Tulum, Cancun are all just a short bus ride away and are places that at some point I’d like to see. My initial response among showing up was that I needed to go out and see all of these places.
“Screw work, I can always do that later,” would be the mentality that I usually take.
Then I came to a realization. I don’t have to do any of that stuff. Sure I can if I feel like it, but this is my trip, my life, and I can do whatever I want.
If that means I hole up and spend every day in my apartment working on my latest projects or watching reruns of Full House, so be it.
Note: There is no Full House in Playa.
Just because you’re in a different place, doesn’t mean that your life or work has to be any different.
My friend likes to work alone. He was concerned that he’d have to spend all day in a coffee shop or a coworking space with other travelers if he decided to move abroad for awhile.
While some people (including myself) really enjoy that, many don’t, and that’s cool. I hate the term, but I’m gonna say it anyway, lifestyle design is all about your ideal lifestyle.
You can do whatever the hell you want to do. It doesn’t matter what other people think or suggest you should do, it comes down to what works for you.
To outsiders my life may seem like a permanent vacation. In reality, I work just as much as everyone else. Just because I’m near a beach doesn’t let me off the hook for that – nor would I want it to.
I’m starting to ramble, but there’s an important message in here. The message is do what you want. Everywhere there are preconceived notions about how things should be. The beauty of this lifestyle is that the only thing that matters is what you want it to look like.
For anyone that happens to be in Pittsburgh on March 4th, I will be speaking here. Would love to see you if you’re in the area!