Why I Eat the Same Thing for Lunch Every Day: Travel Writer

updated May 24, 2019
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(Image credit: Samantha Bolton)

When it comes to lunch, some feel that variety is overrated. Just as the fashion world has been spotting creative, successful people who wear the same thing every day — freeing their minds of mundane daily decisions to put their energy elsewhere — we’ve been noticing a few smart people who choose to eat the same lunch, day in and day out.

This week we’re sharing five stories of five different people who are successful in different ways — in their health goals, in their creative pursuits — and find the habit of a uniform-style lunch to give simplicity and freedom.

A veteran travel writer, Susan Barnes maintains a hectic schedule. She often spends two weeks of the month — or more! — away from her home base of Tampa, Florida. So when she’s not on the road, it’s important to establish some kind of routine; something to give her whirlwind globetrotting life a bit of normalcy. I managed to catch up with her at 6 a.m. one morning — just as she was dashing out of a hotel room — to find out how she does it. (Hint: she eats the same thing for lunch every day.)

(Image credit: Courtesy of Susan Barnes)

I knew I wanted to be a travel writer from the time I was in high school. I got my first travel-writing gig with AAA auto club’s magazine in Tampa, Florida. I didn’t have any experience prior to getting the job, so I guess it was just my deep desire to become a travel writer that led to the beginning of my career.

That was 15 years ago and I’m still living in Tampa, but now I’m full-time freelance. I love it, but it definitely has its challenges. When you’re a freelancer, you don’t really have control over much as far as your work life or your work day, or how busy you are and how not-busy you are, and how stressed out you are because you’re not busy.

How often I’m home varies month to month, too. This month, I’m probably only going to be home for about eight days, so it’s going to be really busy. I’m traveling a lot. But in any given month, it can be upwards of a week-and-a-half to two weeks at home. It just depends on what’s happening; there’s no set schedule.

Traveling all the time, I eat a lot of lavish meals — which is fantastic, don’t get me wrong! But at the end of a couple days of that, all you want is just a simple sandwich.

When I’m home, I eat the same thing for lunch every day: I make egg salad with boiled eggs and mayonnaise, and I eat it on top of a tomato rather than bread to try not to eat so many carbs. I might have some chips if I have some in the house.

It’s really very boring, but it’s also kind of nice, because I feel like it’s something I can have control over. My lunch routine provides a sense of normalcy and I can fix it exactly how I like it. It’s like, I’m home, this is what I have.

What’s great, too, is that when you’re working for yourself, sometimes you forget to eat — you know, you get wrapped up in a project. Sometimes it’s 2 or 3 p.m. and I’m like, “Oh no, I need to eat something!” And this is an easy go-to.

I can make my lunches ahead as well. I can make enough for a couple days at a time, go in, grab it, and keep working. It’s not something I have to stop and think about.