The Importance of a Routine

I have found the most important element of maintaining equilibrium is establishing some sort of routine.  By this, I don’t mean depriving your life of any spontaneity. I simply mean, ensuring you have certain elements in your life that you prioritize (exercise, eating vegetables, etc.). This can be challenging with long-term travel, but for me it is necessary for feeling healthy both mentally and physically.

The routine that works best for me, is eating breakfast in and working out before kicking off the day. Staying in Airbnbs, or places with kitchen access, makes this easier. Usually on our first day in a new location we go to the grocery store or check out a local market. Scott picks up fresh fruit, muesli and Greek yogurt, and I pick up milk, eggs, avocados, and whatever cracker or thin toast I can find for my avocado toast.

There’s a saying in nutrition that one should eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper. If you’ve tried it, you know that living any sort of social life or travel life can make this difficult. One often finds themselves out to dinner with friends, or ending a day of >15k steps at a pub with a hearty meal. However, I have found that I feel orders of magnitude better on the mornings following days living according to this noble mantra.

 

European Summer 2018

European Summer 2018

On June 21st, I departed to Europe on a one-way Delta award ticket from Boston to Dublin. I plan to post more about frequent flyer miles and credit cards in the future, but will mention now that it’s fairly common to find awards tickets to Europe in the summer for 30k miles (economy), 40k miles (economy plus / Delta Comfort), and 60k+ mile (business / first class). Points are a great way to cover travel, assuming you always pay your credit cards off!

I always try to fly to Europe via Dublin (DUB) or Amsterdam (AMS), booking one way flights with points. There’s an agreement between the U.S. and Ireland promoting tourism, so if you fly back to The States via DUB, you actually clear customs in DUB, meaning when you land in the US it will be as if you landed from a domestic flight (like SFO –> BOS). It’s great! On this trip, we fly home from AMS, on one way 30k mile economy tickets.

Some have asked how we picked the locations along our route, and honestly there wasn’t any grand plan. We had weeks here and there where we had plans to meet friends or family in certain locations — like Provence for group cycling trip, and Berlin to see our friend Larissa — and we filled in the rest.

We took a variety of transportation methods methods between major locations (planes, trains, buses, and boats), and always tried to use public transportation (buses, metros, trams, rental bikes) during our stays. Here is a map of our route!

Summer 2018 Europe Map With Transport.png

We also tried to book more economical lodging (Airbnbs, private rooms in hostels, friend’s pull out sofas). Our goal for the year is to have an average nightly lodging cost of <$60/night for two people, because that is roughly what we paid for our studio apartment in D.C..

Europe will likely be the most expensive leg of our gap year, with our average room costing closer to ~$100/night (for two people). You might be thinking – you stayed with friends and in hostels and still ended up spending ~$100/night? Are you crazy? Well, we had one week of complete splurging (Italian cooking school in Tuscany, which I will tell you all about) and several weeks of traveling with family and friends, so we weren’t in the super cheap places we might have stayed if it was just the two of us. More to come!