Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Bust Your Cycle

Kalispell, MT

This trip around the country is a large-scale exercise in busting my cycle.  What does it mean to bust your cycle?

Ze Frank says:
Busting your cycle is when you take one aspect of your life that's more or less constant, and purposely bust it.  By temporarily breaking the routine, you can often experience the world in a very different way.  If you bust the right cycle, the shift in perspective can often lead to elation and a sense of possibility.
By taking this trip, I was busting the cycle of going to work every day.  Now, that's a pretty obvious cycle to bust - a lot of people would like to.  Few actually have the ability to, and (this is the part that gets me) few out of those who have the ability actually do.  There aren't many times in life when people have the ability to bust that particular cycle - with a family, kids, a spouse, a house, etc. it's a lot harder to bust that particular cycle, which is part of the reason I chose to do it now.

Even within a job, you can bust your cycle in big ways.  When I was still working a 40-hour a week job, I busted my cycle by taking long road trips on a weekend - to Denver, New York City, D.C., New Orleans, and others.  I would go to a concert in a city 3 or 4 hours away on a weeknight.  Yes, I was tired at work the next day, but like Ze says in the video, you learn that you actually can function, even if you're not at 100%.  In 2009 I busted my cycle by taking the week of layoff we were forced to take, and going to 7 concerts in 7 states in 7 days.  And I slept in the back of my car.

And I busted my cycle of roadtrips by taking a trip to Los Angeles on a train.  With my cellphone off.

But there are plenty of smaller, less obvious cycles that you can bust too.  Twice in my life I have fasted and consumed only liquids for a week.  I ate vegetarian for lent one year.  I've snuck out to buildings and found a way to climb onto the roof.  I've bought a random instrument I saw at the store and tried to learn it, or picked up a new hobby like rock-climbing or pedal building.

There are plenty of ways to bust your cycle, and many of them don't require the dedication, planning, or time commitment that a trip of this magnitude does.  Like Ze says in the video - sometimes the best cycles to bust are the ones you spend the most time maintaining.

And even without taking a trip like this, where I'm not working at all, you can bust the 40 hour workweek - just ask people like Tynan or Chris, two of the inspirations for this trip.  Maybe at some point in my life I'll quit working for someone else and start my own company - at the very least, that affords me opportunities to do things like work on a project, and when the project is over, travel until I need more money.  Or maybe I could even find a way to work while I'm traveling, like Tynan and Chris have.

I will most likely go back to the cycle of day-to-day work.  Money is required to do things like this, and a day-to-day job is the easiest way to get that money - for me personally, it's the path of least resistance, and helps counter some of my tendencies that would make it difficult for me to work for myself.  But that doesn't mean I stop busting my cycle.  I'll keep using what vacation I have to take trips like I did to the Philippines, or to France, or to Florida on long weekends.  I'll keep taking trips on weekends.  I'll keep taking trips on weeknights that make most people cringe to think about.  I'll keep doing random things here and there that keep life from getting stagnant.

So what cycle are you gonna bust?

No comments:

Post a Comment