Wake up. Make coffee. Shower. Get dressed. Drive to work. More coffee. Meetings. Sit behind the computer. More meetings. Drive home. Do chores. Make dinner. Go to bed.
Rinse and repeat.
However you spend your time, there’s a good chance your day-to-day life doesn't fluctuate all that much. We are creatures of habit after all. The sameness of your routine isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But, after the trip we just took, I would highly recommend turning your routine on its head once in a while. You may find yourself loosening your grip on priorities that suddenly don’t feel so important.
So, what does it look like to turn your daily routine on its head?
Think about your everyday routine. Responding to social media notifications. Combing through emails. Checking your calendar. Catching up on your Netflix queue. Paying bills. More social media. How about this - What’s your answer when people ask how you’re doing? Do you respond with, “Staying busy… Plugging away…” Or some variation of that answer?
We’re a busy society always in a hurry on to the next thing.
We just rode Harley-Davidson Pan Americas, mostly off-road, roughly 2,000 miles from Red River, New Mexico to Sturgis, South Dakota utilizing the BDR trail system through Colorado and Wyoming. The riding group consisted of Prism fellas, Jake Hindes and myself, joined by professional enduro rider, Nick Fahringer, Harley-Davidson VP of Design, Brad Richards and the legendary leader of the pack Danger Dan. We also had a chase truck never too far away in the next town driven by the MVP Prism road dawg, Jonny Bourgault.
The adventure, led by Danger Dan, was the polar opposite of the average daily routine. We slept in the woods with no alarm clocks and woke up with the sun. We didn’t have a detailed itinerary, no plans or deadlines. All we had was a paper Butler Map and 8 days to get to Sturgis.
For the highly-structured type, a trip like this was hard to adjust to. We didn’t know what was happening the next day, let alone later that same day. But, being on the road with Dan was the perfect way to rip us out of our routine and recalibrate us. Our new daily routine looked a little different.
Wake up. Make coffee. Ride motorcycles. Find some good food. Stop at the river to swim and fish. Ride motorcycles. Admire the Rocky Mountains. Get caught in the rain. Find some more good food. Make camp. Share some wine while telling stories from the day. Sleep.
Rinse and repeat.
We didn’t know where we were staying each night and we didn’t know where or what we’d be eating. We just had to learn to go with the flow and trust that the road would provide. As someone who’s ridden their Pan America all across North, Central and South America, Dan knew this already and is well-accustomed to plugging into the natural rhythms of the road. But, it’s something we had to acclimate to.
Once the second or third day of the trip rolled around, we’d forgotten about our Netflix queues, upcoming appointments and social media notifications. We were spending quality time with good people, riding motorcycles in the most picturesque parts of our country and finally learning how to slow down and go with the flow of life.
Once we got comfortable with the not knowing, we were able to enjoy the riding that much more. We took Pan Americas through some of Colorado’s most technical terrain. If you’ve ever ridden a motorcycle up Hagerman Pass, you’ll know that’s no small feat for a big adventure bike. But, much to the surprise of the local dirt bikers, the Pan Ams pulled us up the mountains and the rest of the trails with ease.
By the time our trip was over, returning to the day-to-day hustle and bustle felt unnatural and counterintuitive to the cadence of life we’d adopted on the road. The everyday priorities just didn’t seem so critical anymore.
So, what did we learn from turning our daily routine on its head?
The enjoyable things can be found in simplicity. Put the phone down. Turn off the TV. Go on an adventure with a friend or loved one. Ride your motorcycle in the mountains and share a great dinner and bottle of wine as you swap stories from the day. It’s more restorative than you might expect and a great way to recalibrate your priorities.