I feel an urge to blab about my daily routines and ritual choices during my cross-country road trip, so I’m going to pretend that someone asked me this question:
“What does a typical morning look like for you while you trek the country, Megan?”
GREAT QUESTION! Allow me to break it down for you!
First, I rise with the sun (this is something I never used to do, unless I was frustratedly giving up on fighting my insomnia and electing to start my day without sleep). Now, after at least six solid hours of sleep, I’m out of bed by about 7:30 AM.
The next order of business is taking a quick walk outside, even if it stops at the end of the porch or is just a means to use the outback latrine. This habit started with the dog-sitting I’ve been doing; taking pups for a quick walk outside lets them do their business and is enough movement (and temperature or beauty shock) to ensure I won’t crawl back into bed. If I am pet-sitting, I’ll ensure that the pets are walked, fed, watered, and cuddled excessively, and then I’ll turn to my own “needs.”
“Need” #1: Music. I’ll throw a morning playlist onto my bluetooth speaker and “dance” around just long enough to get my heart pumping and demonstrate my lack of coordination to the pet(s) before I settle into the productive portion of my routine.
“Need” #2: Coffee. I recently set a goal for myself to drink no more than one cup of coffee each day, so I fill a 10-cup French press with coffee and tell myself that it can be considered a single cup (the thesaurus is on my side). While my coffee brews or presses the French or does whatever is does inside of that vessel for four minutes, I start breakfast (Need #3).
“Don’t road-trippers just eat bagels and granola bars for every meal?”
For the first week of my trip, that was embarrassingly accurate. I typically follow a low-carb diet that makes me feel functional and magical and healthy. But when I hit the road and recognized that I could do and eat whatever I wanted, chaos temporarily became my routine… I shoveled a minimum of three bagels, five Clif bars, and 27 burritos into my face each day for a week before my body cornered me and told me that if I kept that up, it would kill me.
Consequently, cooking and eating breakfast is a spiritual experience for me now. I generally spend the first hour of my mornings preparing a meal that will fuel my hikes, bike rides, and other exploratory adventures for the day. I visualize the day before me and let my mind and body work together to decide what all I should eat. This morning, as I imagined the hikes I’ll take this afternoon, I landed on two fluffy peanut butter protein pancakes, covered in fresh banana slices and pure maple syrup, and paired it with the “smoothie of the day.”
It seemed silly to me at first to travel with my Ninja blender; it looks a little out of place next to the mountain bike, hiking gear, and duffel bags full of activewear in my car. But it leaves the car every time I land at a new destination (unless it’s an off-the-grid location) because smoothies are more of a staple in my morning than coffee. One of the bulkiest items in my car is a giant plastic bin full of smoothie ingredients (chia seeds, flax seeds, flax meal, protein powder, etc.), and those goodies (in addition to fresh ingredients like spinach, kale, berries, avocado, and everything else I can ransack local farmer’s markets for) are put to use nearly every single day.
“Ok, so you like smoothies… What’s next?”
After preparing my breakfast and bragging to at least one person about how perfect it is, I will sit down with a topped-off cup of joe (this does NOT count as a new cup of coffee) and devote about twenty technology-free minutes to enjoying my meal and being fully aware of my growing excitement about the rest of my day.
THEN, with a fully-fueled body and invigorated mind, I will either start my work day with unparalleled optimism (Monday through Friday) or lace up my hiking boots and catapult myself out the door to see where the day lands me (Saturdays, Sundays, and occasional weekdays).
Whether I’m crashing on a stranger’s couch, in a hotel room in the Grand Canyon with my mom, in an overpriced Airbnb, on a pile of blankets under the stars, or with pets in someone’s luxurious city home or cozy cabin in the middle of a National Forest, I wake up and know how I want to start my day: music, movement, and marvelous meals are the essential ingredients for a stellar morning that guarantees a stellar day.
In summary, a typical morning in the life of Megan is one of relaxation, contemplation, appreciation, and preparation for the Anything’s and Everything’s that compose each of my days “on the road.”