Routines On The Road

Staying focused outside your default environment.

Hey friends,

Almost exactly a year ago, I visited the US of A for the first time in my life.

It was an exciting trip, but it absolutely smashed my routines: I took on a lot of work, abandoned my morning exercises, and barely had the energy to write a few daily sentences in my journal. Instead, I'd often spend my evenings with beer and YouTube feeling terrible and unproductive, and it continued for quite a while even after I returned back home. Took me months to get my shit back together.

This spring, I spent a week in London. And again, my routines suffered. It wasn't as bad as last year, but it wasn't great. Being on the road is detrimental to my routines, and when they crumble, so does my productivity and overall well-being.

So as I'm writing this newsletter in Philadelphia where I'll spend the next three weeks, I'm acutely aware of how important it is for me to learn to stick to my routines and habits when I'm outside of my normal environment.

Fortunately, I feel like I'm a lot better prepared this time having spent the past couple months working on my mental library, maintenance log, awareness, and other techniques to help me stick to my routines and stay sane and focused.

Is this enough? We'll find out soon! But if this works out, it will be one of my bigger mental wins in a while, and I'll be a lot more open to getting outside of my default environment without falling off my routines, feeling terrible, and having to claw my way back into the focused state of mind that I enjoy the most.

And how does the change of environment affect your well-being?

Have an environmentally-appropriate week,


A few thoughts

Tall cities. Philadelphia feels a lot taller on average than most other cities I've been to so far. It makes an impression! London is tall, but its height feels more concentrated in the City. I wonder if someone ever measured the average height of different cities? Not just the tallest skyscrapers, but all buildings together.

Dark apartments. For the past two decades, I lived on the 5th floor with a view of the sky from my window. Whenever I stay in a hotel or Airbnb on a lower floor with trees or buildings outside the window, I'm surprised by how dark the apartment gets. Pretty sure I wouldn't be able to live in a place like that knowing how much I love spacious and well-lit rooms.

Loved this

A Love Letter to Driving Alone "Twenty years later, I possess neither Jeep, dog, nor long hair. But I have done fairly well for myself in the driving-alone-through-epic-scenery department. In fact, it’s one of my preferred ways to travel, ideally with the music cranked up, in a high-torque car, and several hours of daylight until my next destination."

If you can’t tell a story about it, it isn’t real "For the countries engaged in World War I, the global conflict provided a clear narrative arc, replete with heroes and villains, victories and defeats. From this standpoint, an invisible enemy such as the 1918 flu made little narrative sense. It had no clear origin, killed otherwise healthy people in multiple waves and slinked away without being understood."

The fun part

Philly feels TALL: