Breaking the routine

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Zooming across flyovers, along canals, and through tree-lined streets packed with motorbikes, we finally arrived at one of Chinatown’s markets in Saigon. We were here with a purpose — to break the routine. We may have only been in Saigon for a few months, but we already have a regular schedule.

Travelling here by train from the UK was a real adventure. One we’ll always remember as wild, spontaneous, and free. But although we were travelling through new and exciting places, we had a pretty regular schedule that somehow made our nomadic life feel normal. Even when we stayed just a few days somewhere, we would quickly fall into a clear routine, some better than others. It’s like when your vacation becomes just as routine as your workday.

Routine is great… it allows us to go on autopilot so that we can (in theory) concentrate on more pressing issues like world peace, combating climate change and breaking the patriarchy. It frees us from the burden of continuous decision making and makes us feel safe.

But it is also a trap.

Although it would be exhausting to live life without habits, more and more I’m realizing that I feel most alive in those moments when I break out of the routine. Living by rote dims the light. It shuts off part of life.

So I’m trying hard to remember… to remember. I’m trying to sit in the other chair. Get a different perspective, quite literally. I’m trying take the side streets home and order the meal that isn’t necessarily the amazing one I always get.

Although we’ve seen most of the ‘sights’ in Saigon, we certainly haven’t exhausted new experiences and opportunities to brighten the light. And regardless of whether something is part of the routine or a new experience, I’m trying hard to take it all in. Sense everything about it. Feel life vibrating all around me. And experience being part of it.

— at BAR at The Factory.

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