Why make things so hard?
A good friend of mine asked me the other day why I like to make things more difficult for myself. It was an interesting question since I had just been asking myself the same thing a few days prior. Presently it's all so simple, so routine. I go to work, come home and without thinking I flick the switch for lights and they turn on. I can flush a toilet or have a hot shower because I have indoor plumbing, but I don't ever think about either of these things. I'm guessing I'm not alone.
I vividly remember returning home from my travels in the van and living in a place where all this was available to me again after 5 months of doing without. It felt like pure privilege not to have to think about how I would charge my laptop or where I would go to empty my Campa Potty or have a hot shower. As you can imagine, that feeling left rather quickly as life fell into routine again and the marvels of modern living became banal. Indoor plumbing, electricity, hot water are all luxuries we take for granted in this part of the world, myself included. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with that, in fact, not having to think about such things allows us more time for other pursuits.
Routine vs the Unknown
I am not a creature of routine. Not because I don't want to be and, quite frankly, I am a bit envious of those who are content with their daily routine. The solo trip in the van really brought out some aspects of myself that I didn't know were there. I am more resourceful and capable of taking care of myself in various situations then I had previously taken credit for (see "what a week" in my Barter Van blog). My point is I get a great sense of satisfaction from having to be more resourceful and love how I am more in tuned with my instincts when I live outside my comfort zone. It's not that I want to make things harder for myself, per se, but I do feel more "alive" and "strong" when faced with the most of basic problems of daily living. I like being challenged and I have yet to be able to find a way to do this while being stationary, working two or three jobs and feeling like I know what each day will bring. The unknown invigorates me, for better or worse.
How are you with routine? Would it be your worst nightmare not to have the comforts of modern life?