Why You Should Break Your Routine

View of the River Douro in Porto, Portugal, where kids were flinging themselves off the dock on a hot summer day.

View of the River Douro in Porto, Portugal, where kids were flinging themselves off the dock on a hot summer day.

I want to choose a mind and a soul that’s wide awake.
— Jedidiah Jenkins

I just got home from a short trip to Portugal with some of my best friends, and I'm still trying to hang onto those cool ocean breezes, that steaming pot of cilantro, macaroni and fish stew, the exhilarating panic of clinging to a surfboard in a big, salty wave.

I love how travel awakens all five of my senses. I love how it takes me pleasantly far from the duller, more worried person I was before I left. I love how it slows down time and makes it richer.  

Fellow traveler Jedidiah Jenkins has a theory about why this is: It's because when you travel, you break up your routine.

Jedidiah is a guy in his mid-30s who quit a job that he loved to ride his bike from Oregon to the end of South America. One of his friends made a video (below) to ask him why he did it, and that's how I recently heard his story.

The catalyst for his trip, says Jedidiah, was all the older people in his life who talked about how their lives had flashed by. How one day they found they were old and had never done all the things they wanted to do. He decided that he didn’t want his 30s to escape him like this; he would do something radically different. He would set out on an adventure that scared the crap out of him.

His story resonates. At age 34, I quit a job I loved to take a year off to travel the world. Like Jedidiah, I also arrived at the end of Patagonia (though by hitchhiking, not biking). The glorious thing about arriving at the rugged and isolated mountains and fjords of southern Patagonia is that you meet a whole community of people like Jedidiah and me. I was amazed to find myself surrounded by adventurers with even longer journeys and even less money. Some even had their small children tagging along. These people were my living proof that the only limits to adventure in life are the ones we set for ourselves.    

There are so many things that you learn when you take a giant leap like this. I love how well Jedidiah articulates some of these lessons in this video.

“I want to be aware of every day I'm alive,” he says. “And I want to make it to 85 and be exhausted because I have been alive and awake every single day. I think that's the duty of being an adult. When you’re a kid, everything’s new, so you don’t have to work for it, you’re just astonished by it. Once you’re an adult, that’s a choice. You choose adventure for your own life.”  

What adventure will you choose for your life? Leave a detailed comment for me below about one way, big or small, you will break your routine.

Want more like this?

Sign up for my twice a month emails. Letters from me, just for you.

* indicates required