Routine is a good thing. Having a schedule helps me stay on task and I accomplish more than I would without one.
But over time routine can make life stale and even if I make progress I often find myself wondering what I’m doing with my life.
I recently went to Iceland on my honeymoon. Nearly a full year after we got married, we were both comfortable with our new jobs and honestly, we could have easily skipped the honeymoon.
But a friend urged us not to by claiming, “It’s a special kind of vacation.” She told us it would be a time where we’d splurge a little more and go out of our way to make the trip special, which was true.
We stayed in nicer hotels than I would normally choose and we said yes to any adventure that came our way.
In just a weeks time, we snorkeled along the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, we hiked an approximately 2700-year-old volcano, walked along a beach with sand so black and ice so clear that it looked like diamonds scattered across the shore.
We came across geysers and waterfalls and wadded through the sky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon.
Away from the hustle and bustle of city life, we had time to stop and really think about our lives.
All the missteps and failures. All the rejections and heartbreaks.
And I can’t speak for my husband, but I thought about all the things I want for my life.
Not our life as a couple but my own personal goals as a new wife, writer, and soon to be teacher.
Iceland is cold, I mean really cold, but as I floated in water 2 Degrees Celcius with only the sounds of water and my own breathing, I couldn’t help but wonder what would happen if I just let it all float away.
For a year, I’d been struggling with family issues, rejection from publishers and grad schools, and a fear that I’ll never be good enough.
But what if I stopped worrying about all of these outside pressures and just focused on doing the work that made me happy?
As we traveled further east from Reykjavik and came across the black sand beaches with large table-sized glaciers I took the time to really look at my surroundings.
To sit on an iceberg, to feel it’s smooth surface, to run my fingers with the sparkling black sand and to listen to the sound of water rushing in only to recede back out, made me remember why I began traveling in the first place.
Travel helps me see the world differently, but more importantly, it helps me see myself differently.
Out in the elements, the critics don’t matter, family pressure doesn’t matter, all that matters is me and my dreams.
Removing myself from my everyday environment made shifting my perspective on things easier.
It gave me the space to be selfish, to ask myself what I really wanted without the influences of what I know the people around me want from me.
I know that travel is a luxury not everyone can afford and it’s even harder for families with kids.
But setting aside just $25/month could mean a weekend getaway.
You don’t have to travel halfway around the world to find your center; a road trip, camping, even getting a hotel in your own city can be enough to shake up your routine and help you figure out what you really want in life.
I know it certainly helped me.