One of the main reasons my friends and I have bought home bases around the world rather than just relying on AirBnBs is that it makes it easier to develop good routines in each one. I've found that having a good routine in a place and going back to it over and over again is a great way to stay productive while traveling and to get to know each place in more depth.
I thought that I'd share my routines in each one to illustrate how I stay productive and why I like each place so much.
Vegas is definitely my main home base and I spend more time there than any other home base. For that reason, my routine there is tho most important one to me and it's the most strict and developed.
Shortly after I wake up I go have tea. Sometimes my wife and I have tea together in the tea room I built in our house. We usually do this once or twice a week, especially if one of us has just come back from a trip. If she's not joining me for tea I make it in my Teforia tea machine at my desk.
Either way, the first thing I normally do is sit at my computer and start working. I check my calendar, my todo list, relevant analytics, and my email. I reply to urgent emails first and then usually get to work.
I spend most of my day at my desk working, though sometimes I have errands or projects around the house. My wife also works from home, so sometimes we take breaks together if we both have a gap in our schedule.
I work out every other day in our little home gym, usually not on days I'm flying in or out.
Around six we have dinner. By default I eat Chipotle and she cooks her own food, but sometimes we go out to eat together. She's an excellent cook, but I'm always trying to maximize the days I eat at Chipotle, so if she feels like cooking I usually just go to Chipotle and take a few bites of whatever she's made. I have also started cooking a big green vegetable soup in bulk so that I can eat one before Chipotle to make sure I get enough veggies.
When no friends are in town I stick to this routine pretty strictly, but when friends are around I modify it sometimes because they want to eat lunch, hike, or do other more fun things that work all day.
In Budapest I typically wake up and get started before I have tea. This is because my favorite tea place doesn't open until 1pm on most days. I try to leave the house so that I can have an early lunch at 11am because most of the best restaurants have amazing lunches for $10-20 and I really enjoy going to them.
About half the time I'm in Budapest I am alone, and I find these long pleasant lunches to be good times to ponder things or plan a little bit. Once in a while I skip lunch, but not every day like las Vegas.
When I finish lunch I walk or electric-skateboard across the bridge to Zhao Zhou on the Buda side of the Danube. It's my favorite tea place in the world and they don't mind if I sit there and work all day. The people there are very friendly and they have great tea, so I tend to spend most of my afternoon working, drinking tea, and chatting with them.
I usually leave when I'm hungry for dinner. If I'm with friends I'll go to different restaurants, but when I'm by myself I almost always eat at Bors where I can get a good soup and salad for dinner. My lunches aren't the healthiest meals, so I like to have one very healthy dinner.
Any time there is any good opera, ballet, or symphony, I go after dinner. This is maybe one out of every four days, as there are a lot of good shows at reasonable prices.
If friends are in town, we do an escape game at least every other day and probably a bath house as often. If it's a friend who isn't familar with Budapest sometimes the whole schedule goes out the window and I end up showing them around a little bit.
If it's a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday I drive down to the tea house in Liliuokolani park and go for an Urasenke tea class. This is one of my favorite parts of spending time in Hawaii and I specifically schedule my flights to maximize the number of classes I can take. If it's any other day, I generally make tea in our living room.
After tea I'm more likely than not to go scuba diving. I drive down to Nautilus Dive Shop, rent a tank of air, and head to Leleiwi. That's the one place I feel completely comfortable diving solo and it's fun to see the same fish and turtles every time. Each time I dive I feel like I've maybe finally seen everything, but then I'll see something new. Last time I saw some octopi.
I always eat the same thing at lunch, which is a poke bowl from Poke Market. I think it may be the best raw fish I've had, including the sushi I've eaten in Japan. I like it so much that I get two bowls on Saturday so that I can save one for Sunday. It does feel a little weird to scuba and interact with fish and then immediately go eat them.
I don't fast in Hawaii because I like the poke so much and because there's no Chipotle, so it's difficult to have one huge healthy meal at night.
In the afternoon I work for a few hours and then I go for dinner. I have 3-4 favorite restaurants that I rotate through.
Maybe because the morning air can be a little bit chilly and my cabin has no heat, it can sometimes take me 15-30 minutes to make my way out of bed. Once I do, I'm treated to a nice 5 minute walk through the woods to get to the main yurt. Even if I'm there by myself I go over there, mainly because it's so pleasant to breathe in the fresh forest air and listen to the birds.
We always make tea at the couches and look out over the ocean to check the tide, see if any boats are out there, etc. It's less of a necessity and more of a "surveying one's kingdom" sort of thing. If it's cold we'll make a fire, which is really nice in the morning.
Our mornings on the island tend to be lazy mornings for some reason. If there's a pressing repair or project we'll get started on it, but often we just hang out, mess around on our computers, and drink tea.
We always have lunch at the same restaurant, which has healthy local ingredients in everything. We tend to eat fairly huge lunches because our projects around the island always need a lot of energy.
In the afternoon we usually do projects, which the island offers in unlimited supply. Most recently we set up solar power, and this summer we're working on getting running water from rainwater harvesting.
Sometimes we take breaks from projects and do normal work, but the island is definitely the place where I do the least actual work. The exception is coaching calls. There's not much to do once it gets dark, so I like doing them there.
We sometimes manage to get to dinner while it's still light, but often we have to drive the boat in the dark both ways. I actually really like doing this now. We have bioluminescent plankton and an amazing view of the milky way, so it's pretty nice being out on the water at night. When there's a storm it can be a bit dicey, especially docking at the end, and when it's foggy it's a bit of a challenge to find the shore and the island without hitting rocks.
Bedtimes are early on the island, though I've noticed that they've shifted a bit later now that we have artificial lights. Usually by night time we're all pretty wiped out and it can be cold, so it feels good to lie down in bed.
I love having different routines in four different places. I guess I also have a routine in Tokyo where I stay at my friend's house, but it's not quite as defined as the real home bases. In the future I will probably look to add a workout component to Budapest or Hawaii, though I tend to walk a ton in Budapest and be in the water a fair amount in Hawaii, so I do still get some physical exercise.
Photo is Todd doing tea class in Hilo. We normally wear more appropriate clothes for tea ceremony, but we came straight from the airport to catch the second half of class so we didn't have time to go get them.
Now that I spend so much time in Budapest I get a lot of requests for things to do there. I'm not always the best at replying quickly, so I figured I'd write a blog post with an exhaustive list of all of my favorite places.
If you're not going to Budapest, you might think this list doesn't apply to you. But Budapest is the Best Place in Europe, so you should read it to understand why, and book a trip there!
Around half of these recommendations came from my friend Mark Webster, a friend-of-a-friend I was introduced to when I came to Budapest this summer. He gave me a big list of places to go and 90% of them became my favorites.
Each meal time at our house is a new event. I’m not talking about new because it’s not yesterday or tomorrow and we’re on a space-time curve thing. It’s new because my kids have a disease called eating amnesia where they forget how to eat. Symptoms include; forgetting what foods they’ve eaten in the past, forgetting how to get food from their plate to their mouth, and forgetting that any words spoken through a mouth full of spaghetti are inaudible. Their food ends up off their plates and off the table and why we bother with either I don’t know. I guess the only reason is because if we ate on the floor, then the dogs would get all our food, instead of only some of it.
For much of my young life I was fed the same meals, lunch each day would be a peanut butter sandwich served with chips, an apple, and possibly a cookie. Dinner once a week would be spaghetti and breakfast for dinner would be at least once a month. I remember these meals like they’re ingrained in me and portions of those sandwiches probably still are. If I ever die an early death I would wager they find a peanut butter ball stuck in my gut.
I’m not complaining, I loved these meals but I was also ignorant. I didn’t know there were foods much less entire food groups outside of bread, pasta, and pancakes. Now I make bon appetit meals for my family, sometimes literally coming from the pages of Bon Appetit. I make adobo chili salsa and zucchini fritters. I use kale, couscous, and cucumbers. Given my limited culinary upbringing I make food my wife and I enjoy, the kids are less receptive.
When our kids were first born there was a popular cookbook that advocated concealing pureed vegetables in childrens’ food. The idea was that you would be tricking your kids into eating their vegetables, only they wouldn’t know it. The theory sounded simple, the application, not so. In practicality this meant, destroying your kitchen to make the purees and freezing a ton of pureed vegetables only to forget about them until two years later. I’m blaming the system, though jamming pureed bags of prunes into the depths of the freezer was my own fault. Instead of hidden vegetables I declared that we would make our kids eat their vegetables the regular way.