My travel buddy Hannah of The Eat Team and I just finished a five-day road trip across New Zealand’s north island. We had an epic adventure, climbed mountains, showered in a rainbow waterfall, visited the Lord of the Rings Hobbiton village at The Shire, ate a ton of junk food, read literary trash fiction, got drunk, played cards, laughed, and generally did absolutely nothing productive.
As part of our ongoing travels for The Eat Team, we’re calling, interviewing, writing, planning, photographing, and running around like madmen working hard and playing hard on a daily basis.
But on our little road trip, we didn’t do a single interview for The Eat Team. We didn’t send a single email. We left our phones off for days on end. And we indulged in procrastination and nothingness to the highest degree.
It’s not like doing stuff for The Eat Team is a hassle and to be honest it doesn’t much feel like work at all– it’s exactly what we would want to be doing even without a project like this. (That’s the point of a dream right?) It’s just that, no matter what you do, you can’t do it day in and day out without pause. Even though ice cream one of my favorite things in the world, I wouldn’t want to eat it 30 days in a row.
The week leading up to the road trip left both of us feeling a bit uneasy–we were in Auckland with at least 15 incredibly talented folks ready and willing to meet us. We had a backlog of over thirty articles and interviews already conducted and just waiting to be written, edited, and posted. We had a place to stay for the next two nights and absolutely no plan after that. We desperately wanted a break from the nonstop action and jam-packed schedule, but we were consumed by FOMO. We got a golden opportunity to take a roadtrip, but we didn’t want to let those people down who were waiting to hear back from us, especially those who we already had scheduled meetings with.
What did we do?
We decided to let go. We acknowledged the fact that no matter how much we tried to do and see, there was absolutely no way we’d ever see and do it all. So we let go of it all. We got in touch with the people we were meant to meet, apologized for canceling, and packed our bags.
Today is the first day that Hannah and I have gotten back into “working” on The Eat Team, scheduling, planning, writing, photographing, and tackling the daily steps of bringing our bigger dream into reality.
We spent the entire day in our pajamas behind our computer screens, emailing and facebooking and twittering and preparing and planning and the beauty is this: although the thought of this last week would have overwhelmed us, it did not. because we took a big fat indulgent break last week, today felt like just as much fun as showering in a waterfall by the sea.
It was refreshing. I feel totally inspired again and ready to take on anything. I think that’s the beauty of this nomadic lifestyle which feels more and more like a normal life. There’s huge variety in it, and when one situation becomes tiresome, we move on to the next one. We repeat them alternately, and each of them are just as enjoyable because of the rotation.
Last week, adventuring and hiking and roughing it and indulging felt like heaven. Today, I couldn’t think of anything better than lounging and working and waking up in a real bed and drinking tea and eating a crumpet. On Thursday, I’m looking forward to getting back out in the world again and interviewing some new folks in Wellington.
Sometimes you do this, sometimes you do that. Sometimes you’re here, sometimes you’re there. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. They’re all a necessary part of the balance, the rhythm, the flow, whatever you wanna call it. This is as much a reminder to myself as it is to you: don’t fear either side, just let it pass through you and keep on moving, keep on making decisions, keep on firing, just keep on swimming. Don’t beat yourself up if you’re feeling burnt out–take a break and embrace it!
Just like in a photo, it’s the contrast that makes life beautiful.