Routines give our lives a sense of purpose. When we packed all of our things into a backpack and boarded the plane, we did not only leave our families and our western toilets behind, but also our daily routines. At first, we were distracted by the 14 new people around us, the never ending astonishment of the Himalayas, and the constant influx of new information flooding our days. However, now that we have settled into the village of Ale Gaun for the next two weeks and have temporarily abandoned the nomadic lifestyle we lived up until now on the trip, one of the greatest challenges of being here is the lack of routine. Waking up at 6 AM allows for more time in the day than most of us are used to. Once we’ve cut the grass for the buffaloes and peeled the garlic for lunch, the rest of the day is open for whatever we please.
You may be thinking that this freedom is an amazing gift but as the afternoon heat creeps in so does our feeling of lacking purpose. Some of us read or write or draw but there is always a section of the day where everyone seems to lie around and moan about boredom. The free time that we used to crave at home for deep internet dives and mindless television, is now time we use to count down the minutes to dinner and sleep. We have been forced out of mindlessness and into a lifestyle where entertaining ourselves is something we have to work for, a reality that our lives in the states didn’t prepare us for. These feelings do not take away from the beauty of this country or the appreciation we have for this trip; we are simply in the process of making new routines that fulfill our new lives here — ones we will soon have to leave behind once again.