The route to routine

- in Column, English

When I travel I forget all about routine. Every day is different so it’s practically impossible to do things in the same way. However, if I wanted to find balance between school and vacation, the establishment of a sustainable lifestyle was definitely necessary.

Similarly to most people, I avoid routine like the plague when I’m on vacation. Somehow I find that routine has become synonymous to dull and tedious work and who wants that when they’re on their well-deserved holiday?

Although I’m still abroad, I can’t put the school semester on hold. Exchanging my long sleep-ins and carefree days by the beach to early mornings in front of my laptop was very unexciting. For the first few days of the semester I was in denial about the fact that I had textbooks to buy, online lectures to view and deadlines to meet. When half the week had passed I realised that if I didn’t establish some kind of routine, my plan for the semester was going to fall through which was a consequence I was unwilling to accept.

I figured if I did things similarly to life in Sweden, getting into routine might become easier. My first mission was therefore to locate a supermarket here in Bali so I could cook my own meals like I normally do back home. Strolling through the supermarket aisles and seeing brands that I recognized made me surprisingly excited for my new travel lifestyle. Never have I been so happy to purchase a jar of Napolitana Barilla sauce, a loaf of rye bread and a pack of Lurpak butter. My life surviving on packaged food from convenience stores and rice dishes at street food stands were finally coming to an end.  

The second task was to actually set an alarm. Compared to my past morning shifts at Espresso House before school, an 8 am start didn’t seem so bad. However, after months of waking up when the time felt right, my first few early mornings were a struggle. Besides the cooking and the morning alarms, I also created a daily checklist to make sure I got everything done by nightfall; a small task that contributed immensely to my work flow.  

In addition to my new routines, staying at a hostel that catered to digital nomads and entrepreneurs definitely had a positive influence on my studies. Falling back into routine wasn’t too difficult when everyone else was doing the same. The only part of my new life as a student which wasn’t appreciated by my fellow travellers was definitely those 8 am alarms. Waking up by my own device was bad enough, imagine waking up every morning from someone else’s “Radar (default)” alarm ringing loudly in the hostel dorm room. Maybe at my next hostel I’ll at least change my alarm signal to something less aggravating?

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