When constantly coming to new places, changing settings for how and where we live, there are possibilities for new beginnings ever so often. And I must say, we take advantage of that.
When walking home from the grocery store the other day, I realized that when coming to a home, like here in Singapore for almost one month of house- and cat sitting, we bring only a few things and most of how this month is going to play out with activities, routines and food depends both on the setting and our choices.
Here’s the deal; as humans we tend to stick to routines and habits. It’s often easy, convenient and sometimes effective to put on the shoes in the same order every time, to cook the same type of food, to manage the day in pretty much the same way as the day before… Therefore we might get stuck and forget that we can make new decisions and change things whenever we want. Usually we “save” those changes or decisions for “The Future”, a new year, fresh school semester, the summer holidays, next Monday or whenever seems to be a good time and day for a new beginning.
Anders and I go from place to place visiting locations and people we’re not familiar with, which gives us physical, hands-on invitations to make changes – when everything around us is new it’s up to us to choose how to tackle it. In Bali we stayed in five different places within four weeks: that makes a lot of new beginnings!
Before coming here to Singapore we had set an intention of using the swimming pool and swim regularly, we had decided not to drink alcohol and to cook food bought at the market as one way of keeping a budget while staying in an expensive city (plus we have missed not having a kitchen). Another intention was to try the smaller, simpler food stands and ‘hawker centers’ for local food experiences. This far, we have done all of that, one step at a time, even though it might have been easier to choose differently at times.
So, we have some sort of “help” in making new beginnings by physically changing settings often, and at the same time we meet other travelers who rarely step out of their habits; always sticking with their preferred way of doing things, their favorite foods, only talking to people from the same country and so on. Hereby I want to state that you can travel around the world ten times and not learn or do anything different, and you can stay in the exact same spot for years and make tons of changes – we have met those open-minded, curious people too.
In Bali where I had hoped to be able to walk a lot, it was a bit hard to find good places for just plain walking, so I had to do things differently than I was used to and had hoped for. When coming to Singapore I was used to buying lots of fresh, local fruit at good prices, and yet the very first day I was pushed off that trail when seeing the prices at the fancy super market in a shopping mall. Now, there are other markets where one can get fresh produce at more reasonable prices, but my first encounter was a knock down.
So, in closing, even though it might seem easier to make changes when the calendar switches to a new year, or when our physical place is new or different – there’s almost always a choice how to spend our money, use our body, time and what we make of our lives.
1. Start very small.
2. Do only one change at a time.
3. Be present and enjoy the activity (don’t focus on results).
4. Be grateful for every step you take.