THE WEEKLY #224: AN UNCOMFORTABLE BALANCE

The last five years have been a whirlwind in more ways than one. I’ve been constantly on the move while living a nomadic life. What has made it so fast-paced is the work/adventure balance. Throughout the last five years, I’ve been publishing an average of five articles a week, videos, and social media posts. There have been a few mini-burnouts but for the most part, I have managed the balance and kept consistently creating new travel guides and photos.

I think in a way, after running at this pace for so long, I became uncomfortable with a slower tempo. This week really highlighted that for me. I have been hiking for two weeks now with a group called Madeira Lés a Lés. It’s a group of locals who have been hiking off-the-beaten-path trails for the last decade. Every Saturday they meet up and hike together, exploring different corners of Madeira. However, it’s not the hiking that gave my system a re-alignment. It’s what happens after the hiking.

You see, for groups like this it is the social fabric of their group that is just as important as the hiking or the activity. So when the hike is over for the day, it is just the beginning of the adventure. The group will head to a bar for a drink and then to dinner and then, more than likely, to another bar. This isn’t happening every single week but it’s all part of the ritual.

What I have become accustomed to over the past five years, is to finish the adventure and head home to curate my photos, document the hike and create the guide. As a solo traveler, this is fine as there is less socializing to be done. I’ve noticed this week, that it has become my comfort zone to retreat to the nomadic office and document the adventure.

I don’t like to ‘waste’ time or pass time unproductively but what is productive and what is ‘wasting’ time is subjective. If you are obsessed with a project like I am, you can often frame drinks at the bar as taking time away from your work but I think this relaxing, socializing, and switching off is something I have pushed aside for many years and it’s an important part of life. Of course, we need to find a balance so we are not at the bar every single day and neglecting our work, passions, or projects but the balance works both ways. Of course, the bar is just an example and it has nothing to do with the beers and ponchas, it could be the dinner afterward. I’ve found it complimentary to the adventure and something my life probably lacks a little. It’s a design flaw.

So, I’ve learned this week that I should continue to work hard but place a little more value on taking time away from the week. An entire day without tapping the keyboard of my laptop is okay. I’ve always been interested in the long-game and balancing my life between work, adventure and social life is always a balancing act. It’s a work in progress but thanks to those who have helped balance it out a little more this week.

Well, aside from the balancing act, this week was a few more hikes as always and despite the extra social days, there were a few guides created. Below are my favorite photos and moments from this week on Madeira.

Blog Comments

  1. Pedro González

    Good morning from Spain. I have been last summer in Madeira with 43 kids (separated in two groups) from 14 to 18 years. I am a teacher in a High School who organize trips for the kids with, let us say, a different style . We were making some hikes with the guys of Madeira Wonder Hikes and I can tell you that the dinners after the trails were simply stunning. There were the moments to talk, laugh, socialize and enjoy. It is not wasted time. Those beautiful Madeira landscapes have the power to create the adequate atmosphere to share inner feelings and thoughts that make the difference.

    1. Hi Pedro,

      Ah yes, the guys told me about you and your group. Yes, it’s a difficult balance of time when you are a freelancer as there is always someone to socialize with, drink poncha with or share a coffee and a chat with. However, if I never said no, this blog wouldn’t exist. It’s a balance that sometimes sways one way and sometimes sways the other. Madeira has helped to keep that balance in check. Hope you are back to the island soon to enjoy some new adventures.

  2. Nelson Berenguer

    That’s pretty common here in Madeira, we go for a hike and afterwards we socialize and that’s a way to stay mentally sane or balanced as you say. Maybe you should that more often wherever you are, sometimes we just need and have to slow down a bit.

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