Monday, May 26, 2008

The Joys of Jet Lag, Jet Legs and Packing: Part 2

Hello from Rostov-on-Don. Here I am in the midst of jet lag -- or jet leg as several dear Russian friends have misconstrued that -- and I'm determined to stay up until after midnight tonight. See, over the years I've learned a thing or two about dealing with jet lag. Perhaps you've known this stuff but please allow me to pass along what I've learned or heard along the way.

For one thing, it seems harder physiologically to travel from west toward the east, than visa versa, something to do with clocks or some such. And they say -- whoever they is -- that it the body needs one day to adjust per time zone difference. So, crossing 9 time zones, that's 9 days. To me, that means 10 glorious days of taking things a wee bit slower.

One little tip from a smart international businessman was to get oneself into the local time as soon as possible. Whatever the locals are doing, get busy fitting in with their schedule. So when they're up and and at work, be up and working. When it's night, get yourself to sleep. So that's my goal. I do tweak that a bit and allow myself an afternoon nap for 2 hours. And you'd better believe that when the clock strikes noon, I'm flyin' between the sheets. The thing is, at night, the tendency is to wake about between 2:00 and 4:00 a.m. and be ready to get up for the day. But the secret is to get up just long enough to take care of business -- which includes checking email, among other things -- 15 minutes max and head back to bed and close the eyes. And pretend to be asleep until you really are. All that usually works and on this trip, it worked just fine day one, and I got an A+++ for Saturday evening and Sunday.

But alas, today ~ Monday, all that simply fell apart. It started last night with only one hour's sleep. I eventually got up for 10 minutes of yoga-type stretching which usually helps, but no-ho-ho. I was awake after 1:30.

Eventually the sky was turning light around 5-ish and I decided to get up and get going for the day and wait until noon for that afternoon nap. But alas, 10:00 came and -- yes, I'll confess this publicly -- I allowed myself a morning nap. Then 12:30 came and I allowed myself the usual 2-hour afternoon nap but here's where I really blew it. I turned off the alarm and decided to sleep until whenever and woke up at 7:00 pm. Bad bad bad idea. But boy did I feel rested when I woke up! However that was not fitting in the local schedule at all.

So here we are and it's 11:00 pm local time and I find myself getting sleepy. But I think staying up longer until I'm way tireder will help me sleep better. So I'd say we're shooting for 1:00 a.m. here. I think that will help tomorrow, easing into normality.

* * *

Oh, speaking of travel tips, perhaps you'd be interested in what one travel pro does to get herself and her extra loot back to Eastern Europe. Judy Warpole would be that travel expert and she and husband Ron have been in Tallinn since 1996 and Judy very graciously shared packing tips from a lifetime of being an overseas missionary.

Here's the staging area, as we might call it. It's a big huge mess I know but that's part of the deal. I usually take back two suitcases plus a trunk, sometimes two. A trunk is the ultimate. Wal-Mart has these trunks, they're like $18.88 each and they're the perfect size for airline baggage - like 61 inches total. That's important. Fill each one half full of the heavy stuff (books) and top of with lighter stuff (clothes) and that's pretty much 50 pounds, right there. This time I needed only one trunk. The 2nd one goes to long-term storage.

So here's a close-up of the trunk. Nice thing, a trunk makes for wonderful storage back here in Rostov. People here scramble to get one of my trunks. Wal-mart also has similar trunks in black. Head to the automotive section and that's where they are.

The red suitcase is being phased out of international action because, well, it has it's limitations. It's in a new role as the Short Term Storage Suitcase and gets left with a friend. I'm just now catching on to this idea, but you know, a person needs a way to stash stuff such as - envelopes, tape, packing foam and such, not to mention bottles of cream, lotions and various potions that simply do not need to be carted back and forth. Plus a hair dryer and such. Cotton balls, Q-tips, on and on. There it is, waiting for me until next time I'm Stateside. Oh yes, the things one figures out eventually, like after 9 years. . . =)

You know it takes someone quite extraordinary to allow anyone to spread their personal effects all over the living room. Yes, well here is dear friend Karen, the young lady who just turned 50, the very one deemed worthy of the ultimate gift, the gift of a prune bouquet. Yes, what a very dear friend.

THANK YOU KAREN! Say, are you enjoying having your living room back?

Well, yippee! We've made it to 1:00 a.m. and I'm thinking about those dishes in the kitchen that need washed quick. Just got some water heated up - a necessity since we seem to be in the season of *no hot water* - and I'm thinking, wouldn't it be nice to get up in the morning with the dishes all washed? Think I'll give it 15 minutes quick like and then. . . hit the hay!

I'm fadin' fast. But first let me just ask you dear blog reader - what are your tips for dealing with jet lag, jet legs and packing?

1 comment:

John from Kansas said...

While researching shift work and jet lag some years ago I ran across some studies related to this. These studies found that exposure to bright light such as sunlight, to be effective in resetting the human internal clock following a radical change in time zone or shift.