Once upon a time, in a magical land far, far away, there was an enchanted place where I could get my shit done. There, in that fantastical realm, I was organized, I didn’t suffer from social-media-induced attention deficit disorder, and I could perform Frog Pose without fear of public queefing. Life was perfectly balanced. The end.

Approximately six and a half years ago, I threw away my watch.

After moving onto a sailboat, my watch had become a redundant tool. Whether it was one o’clock or four, it made no difference at sea. Time was estimated by the angle of the light, but I only guessed for fun: “It must be about eleven o’clock. Is it Wednesday today? Is it August yet?”

Without a watch, time slowed to a soothing tempo. The dimming sky and the arrival of stars signaled bedtime, and I would drift off to the gentle sway of the boat. No piercing alarm clock could interrupt my dreams in the morning.

A funny thing happened from within that timeless / dateless void. My intuition expanded. At the end of two years, my mind and body were capable of guiding me in a way that I’d never experienced.

Then, I moved back to land …

I didn’t want to compromise my honed senses with man-made concepts like dates and time, so I refused to buy a watch. I’d found a connection with nature and myself, and I didn’t want to lose it. If I let a watch take over the job of my intuition, I’d no longer be able to hear the whispered wishes of my soul.

Living without a watch was challenging in the city. I attempted to wake up with the sun, but the buildings messed with the light. At night, the moon and stars were obscured behind an orb of glowing street lights, which dirtied the sky to a muddy shade of brown. When I realized I’d lost touch with the phases of the moon, I felt heartbroken and disoriented.

In the city, nature disappeared, and so did my honed intuition.

My sleep patterns got confused. I’d wake up too early, or sleep until noon. Once that cycle began, it was impossible to align to a schedule. The lack of routine made me grumpy and stressed.

I began to miss appointments. Important dates were forgotten. Time cantered past at a speed too quick to keep up with. Rather than staying on top of tasks, I chased them down at the eleventh hour, falling down with exhaustion at the end of each race.

During the last four years since returning, my sense of balance has been swallowed into the muddy brown of the night sky. Something has to change …

My resolution for 2012 is simple

• Find balance.

A reliable schedule will bring routine, routine will bring balance, and balance will bring clarity and serenity. There’s only one way to solve this. A watch, you say? An alarm clock? Yuck.

Instead, I’ll be disappearing into nature once again to embark on another adventure.

What are your plans for 2012?

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52 Response Comments

  • Lisa McKay  December 30, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    As per my comment earlier today re destination, I have since been informed that there are a set of waterfalls bridging the Mekong that make it un-navigatable by boat, so I hereby formally withdraw that suggestion.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

      Dang it. Get the dynamite! Blow up the waterfalls!

  • Sally  December 30, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    Whoa. Way to leave us in the lurch! Can’t wait to hear about your next adventure.
    As for my 2012 plans, they look pretty much like my 2011 plans except this time I’m totally going to finish stuff. I swear.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 8:59 am

      You’d better finish stuff, otherwise you’ll have ME to answer to. And you know what happens when you have ME to answer too! Pretty much nothing.

  • Emilee Shake  December 30, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    You rock, lady. Enjoy your adventure!!

    For me, 2011 was full of spiritual and emotional growing pains. In 2012, I’m looking forward to the new prospective and insight growth brings. And hopefully that will include some travel and adventure. 🙂

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:00 am

      As long as they’re growing pains and not deterioration pains, then that’s okay. All the best for your year of insight and maybe travel and adventure!

  • Wanda St.Hilaire  December 30, 2011 at 8:32 pm

    Of course, I have to ask – to where? Gotta get on the you and Liz G. program!

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:01 am

      What is the you and Liz G. program?

      • Wanda St.Hilaire  January 6, 2012 at 6:34 pm

        Hi Torre,

        Elizabeth Gilbert got a nice advance to fund the Eat, Pray, Love year of adventure. I’m guessing you’re in that most honored category too. Every travel writer’s dream program!

        Enjoy the adventure … I’m sure you’ll get back to the beautiful rhythm you found on the ocean wherever you’ve chosen to go. I remember it well … I spent a winter in a rustic little house in a barrio in Mexico surrounded by roosters and a burro – no phone, no internet, no T.V. Me, the lizards and one abandoned kitten. I discovered a whole new world.

        • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 10:40 pm

          Oh, the Liz. G program! 🙂

          The rustic house in Mexico sounds wonderful.

  • Stace  December 30, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Leaving the ocean is so sad. ohhh ocean living! Sure does make a difference though waking up at 9am to go to a meeting, or dental appointment opposed to been woken at 5am to take watch, saying hello happily to the sunrise – now i just grunt at the darkness if i awake to early! I guess by the sound of this post 2012…..i should find a new boat……

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:02 am

      My vote: get a new boat. Throw away your watch. Sail into the sunset. Save us all.

  • Camels & Chocolate  December 31, 2011 at 1:40 am

    I think that’s a perfect and simplistic way of summing up what I want out of 2012—how to balance my frequent traveling with my running and my writing deadlines and a husband and dog. Well said.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:03 am

      Balance is a lovely, eloquent word, isn’t it? Putting it into disciplined practice, however …

  • Todd Mosher  December 31, 2011 at 3:10 am

    I just found your blog and find someone sharing the same journey since the tag line for my blog is “Seeking Balance in the Adventure of Life.” I will keep reading and I hope you will read http://www.alohafridays.net as I could benefit from the feedback of a fellow adventurer.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:04 am

      Ahh! A whole blog dedicated to finding balance. Nice work, Todd!

  • Tatiana  December 31, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Ah! I think it’s really awesome that your intuition blossomed like that. While I’m definitely more of a City person than the Country/Woods-y type, I certainly appreciate being exposed to nature in a less damaging way. When I learned about light pollution [http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/11/light-pollution/klinkenborg-text], I was devastated. It’s the reason why we can’t see the stars and the sky so clear at night in many places. It’s really depressing.

    While I believe that as animals, human habitat is still a form of nature (not just forests, oceans and valleys!), the consequences of human invention has damaging effects on the rest of Earth’s habitats 🙁

    Meanwhile – I love watches! I prefer to have them because I don’t think cell phones make suitable clocks! But I’ve rarely entertained the option of doing away with my watch! I don’t know if I would try it though… time (or being able to predict and use it) is so integral to how we experience life as humans. It seems counter-intuitive to reject time watching – although I can definitely understand where you’re coming from!

    My plans for 2012 revolve around my budding writing career (I wanna be like you! haha) and working/internships/building my resume to make it nice and strong for graduate school!

    Great post – as always!!! :]

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:07 am

      Great to know what you have planned, Tatiana. If that watch is giving you an enriched experience, keep it on for sure! The light pollution situation is sad, but it makes trips to the country extra special. I usually see a shooting star once every 5 minutes.

  • Christine  December 31, 2011 at 9:11 am

    I just spent 10 days camping across the Nullarbor from Adelaide to Perth. While I always sleep with the blinds and windows open to wake up with natural light, sleeping in a swag meant I went to sleep when it was dark out and woke up when the sun rose (even in WA, where that meant I was in bed at 8pm and up at 3:30am when the birds started singing an hour before sunrise). Pure simplicity. Driving across the middle of nowhere meant I ate when I was hungry and didn’t have any appointments to go to or any real reason to care about what time it was. It was balance, and it was brilliant.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:08 am

      Sounds divine, Christine. A swag? You’re so hardcore. I love the idea of a swag, only … you can’t spoon anybody 🙁

  • Andrew Hill  December 31, 2011 at 9:41 am

    I agree that many ways life can be much less stressful and more enjoyable when we synchronise our internal clocks with the environment and time is put into proper perspective. On a recent overseas trip travelling by air, I found that I simply could not do without alarm clocks. The different time zones threw my body clock totally out of whack and jet-lag had to be endured afterwards. Thank you, Torre, for highlighting the relative peace of a routine synchronised with nature. Have fun on your next adventure.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Thanks, Andrew. Alarm clocks make jet lag so much worse (but you’re right, they are useful!).

  • Brit McGinnis  December 31, 2011 at 11:13 am

    My resolution is to start trusting happiness. So often we just get caught up in details, forgetting the major joy to be found! 🙂

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:10 am

      “Trust happiness” – me likey.

  • Bret @ Green Global Travel  January 2, 2012 at 2:40 pm

    Hi Torre, I just discovered you through Runaway Jane’s “Travel Blogs To Watch” post and thought I’d say hello! I loved this post, as I get a similar feeling of discomfort when I go from communing with nature to being in the city. For me, travel is about seeking that sense of communion and adventure that’s too often lacking in our day-to-day lives. As for 2012, we want to travel more, work smarter to expand our audience, and hopefully announce a big partnership soon. Hope you have a great 2012!

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Hi Bret! Thanks for stopping by, and all the best to you for 2012! A big partnership? Sounds exciting!

  • Aisha Ashraf  January 2, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    Take me with you!
    Have a great adventure, from someone who junked their watch a decade ago… 😉

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

      There’s room in the suitcase. How small can you package yourself? 🙂

  • ayngelina  January 3, 2012 at 1:20 am

    I’m also trying to find balance this year. I decided I did not want to continue to be nomadic but still be travel-centric, this is the year I figure out how to do that.

    • Ian [EagerExistence]  January 5, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      seems this is the right way to go to avoid burnout. many are doing the 3-4 months in each place thing. can’t say i blame them after an awesome 3 months spent in madrid, i’m not really looking forward to leaving in a couple of days.

      • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:13 am

        It’s nice that you know what you do and don’t want, Ayngelina. You’ll find a way to balance yourself this year, I’m sure.

  • Carolyn  January 3, 2012 at 2:11 am

    Balance is a good way to start the new year…hoping to find that myself and staying open to new opportunities! Life is a magical adventure waiting to happen, if we could all see it that way…then the world would just be about perfect….Happy New Year!! Cheers!
    Lyn (http://inspirationescape.blogspot.com/)

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:14 am

      I try to remind myself every day that life is an adventure. Otherwise, I just tell myself, “First world problems” and my worries disappear under a fog of shame. 🙂 Happy New Year to you too, Carolyn.

  • Larissa  January 3, 2012 at 8:32 am

    Don’t think I could have picked a better time to discover your blog. Waiting in anticipation to hear about this adventure.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:15 am

      I’ll reveal it as soon as I decide what it is! Thanks for stopping by, Larissa.

  • Juniper  January 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    I think the days I’ve worn a watch I’m able to count on two hands…and I agree that my sense of intuition fades every time I put one on! I am also aiming to find balance this year, but will be city-living….so my game plan is also a routine. I’d like to hear how you create one or what things work best for you! : ) Juniper

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

      If you figure it out first, can you let me know? I have no idea how to balance routine with intuition in the city!

      • Juniper  January 18, 2012 at 5:47 pm

        Haha! I love your answer. Yes, it’s a continual “work in progress” trying to find a routine that works. Lets keep each other updated if any insights come our way!
        : ) Juniper

  • Scott - Quirky Travel Guy  January 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Funny… I decided “getting shit done” is my motto for 2012 – just being more productive in all aspects of life. Though I suppose I should think through the specifics about how I intend to do that…

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:16 am

      Ha ha. Maybe you should start with a list. Write ‘Shit’ at the top and go from there?

  • TheWorldOrBust  January 3, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    I want to be come location independent, and step out of my reality whenever I damn well please. Almost there, almost.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:17 am

      Eep! Good luck. Reality is soooo 2011.

  • Steve Roy  January 4, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    Find balance. Nice and simple, I like it! It’s simple but far from an easy task I’m sure..
    Given your talents, I know great things are ahead for you and I hope you find what you are looking for.
    I’ve chosen to spend 2012 bettering my life in a “Happiness Project” of sorts. It’s going to be an interesting year to say the least…

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:18 am

      I look forward to following along on your journey, Steve. Maybe you’ll get another Penelope-Trunk-attack. Hopefully not. That was brutal. Happy New Year, and all the best to you for 2012. Really.

  • Ian [EagerExistence]  January 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Torre! You can’t just leave me hanging like that. Disappearing into nature? Disconnecting from the interwebz? Where are you going into nature?

    I finished your book last month, and I like the ending, just like a good movie.

    Anyway, “balance” is also my perpetual resolution/goal. I personally have a habit of over-indulging in things I love doing: 10 months (and counting) travel, partying too much, exercising too much (ex gym-junkie), eating too much, drinking too much, sexing too much (I hear laughs… how can one have too much of this?)..

    balance/moderation. The big secrets to a healthy and happy life. Just how to get on top of it? Best of luck with your quest for balancing out your time/clock.. let me know if you succumb to the clock/alarm like the rest of the cubicle dwellers.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:20 am

      None of those things sound like over-indulging to me, Ian!

  • Andrea  January 5, 2012 at 11:13 pm

    Beautiful blog, Torre! Have just discovered it through the article on Problogger. Really stunning photography & I love your writing style too. Will definitely be keeping an eye on this 🙂

    Oh & I rarely set my alarm, what a horrible intrusion that would be! But I do have a watch. Don’t actually use it that much though.

    • Torre DeRoche  January 6, 2012 at 9:22 am

      Hi Andrea. Thanks for stopping by! Another watch-free pal – perfect. 🙂

  • Charley @Secret_Water  January 6, 2012 at 11:59 am

    Looking forward to hearing about the adventure. When all else fails get back to nature. I am in my third week of holidays, no watch, and G&T oclock is when the little bats emerge in the tree canopy outside my house to feed on mossies 🙂 I havent been at sea for an extended period in a few years now and i really miss that daily rhythm that requires no time piece.

  • Melanie  January 9, 2012 at 6:21 pm

    I don’t own a wristwatch, but between cell phones and wall clocks, I can’t seem to get away from them.

    My 2012 goal is to cope with change gracefully.

  • Adam Dudley  January 27, 2012 at 1:39 am

    My plan for 2012 is to practice being OK with things as and where they are.

    Also, refuge from “modern life” is a common path that people choose when they are on a journey such as yours.

    Just for the sake of argument, however, what if you were to do the opposite and seek to achieve balance while simultaneously participating fully in “modern life” and finding inner peace while engaged in it?

    Would the person that could achieve that not have more balance, more inner stillness than one who is intent on escaping modern life?

    Trust me, I know the urge to “escape”. I haven’t worn a watch in years and I choose not to have a cell or smart phone.


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