No Bus to Catch or Train to Ride
The power of breaking routine
It’s so easy to fall into a routine. Routine isn’t bad, it’s how we cope with our hectic days. There’s so much to accomplish every day, and we need to somehow fit everything into a 24 hour window. Routines help give us a fighting chance in the face of our daily ambition.
The only bad thing about routine is that it can give us tunnel vision. We’re so concentrated on the ins-and-outs of our day — the logistical details — that we become blind to the beauty surrounding us. I often notice myself doing this during my commute to work:
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, but I’ve come to learn how traveling to unfamiliar corners of the world offers a powerful opportunity to break this cycle.
With no bus to catch or train to ride, the daily routine is replaced with exploration and novelty — eyes widening to the range of possibility that exists. Last week in Costa Rica, my dad and I would wake up each morning and say, “let’s find some coffee.” There was no routine and no two days were alike. It allowed me to metaphorically look up from my typical “heads down” position.
When I looked around, I was amazed by the beauty that is Costa Rica. I noticed the big things, of course — lush greenery everywhere you turn, rolling hills that turn into mountains, and pura vida exclaimed at every opportunity. I also noticed the small things — a snail scaling a tree trunk during a hike or the freshness of tuna seasoned with nothing more than the ocean’s salt water. It all reminded me how incredible this life is.
But as I thought about home, I was shocked that home life in Chicago doesn’t feel dull in comparison. We may not have the trails to hike or waves to surf, but the gift that Costa Rica gave me was a strong sense of appreciation for this life. Not this one (in Costa Rica) separate from that one (home). But this one life and all it has to offer.
I hope I never lose this feeling.
Here’s to breaking routine and publishing on a Monday,
Stories by Shiv is part of Wayfinder, a writer collective exploring questions that matter.