This. This is a feeling I know well. That weird metallic taste in the back of my throat similar to when I accidentally stay up all night, engrossed in something new. The delayed reaction time to everything, sometimes hearing things only a while after they were said, sometimes after I’ve already responded and forgotten what I said. The feeling that I don’t want to move or do anything, but knowing that I need to keep moving or it will get much worse.
This is jetlag.
There are many theories on jetlag, and most people are happy to offer theirs. It’s easier traveling west than east. Adjust your schedule before you go. Adjust your eating schedule and your sleep schedule will follow. I try different things all the time, but I’ve discovered that it’s just powering through that always works. There are no shortcuts, so just acknowledge that day 2 is always going to suck and push forward like the first snowplow called in after a blizzard, paving the way for the others to follow.
Sometimes I’m affected more than others. There have been times I arrived and slept 36 of the first 48 hours, and there have been times I walked directly off the airplane into nonstop action for a week straight without thinking about it. I have yet to find any rhyme or reason for these, so I just accept them as natural aberrations and allot time accordingly, letting people know when I’m having it rough.
The times it doesn’t affect me, people are amazed by my abilities as a professional traveler and ask me the secret. Well, there is no secret, just work. Suck it up, recognize that you are spending some time at less than your full capability, and put one foot in front of the other.
This is one of the rough times. I went west, not east, and it still hit me like a semi truck made of sand, sliding all around me and embracing me, trying to lull me into sleep until tomorrow. Everything will be better tomorrow, right?
Probably, but there are things that need to be done today. Decisions to be made, places to go.
So I walk, and I talk through things with my friends. They laugh, they identify, and I put one more foot in front of the other on the path toward earned sleep. It will feel so good to sleep. Just not now. Now is the time for ignoring clocks and not thinking about how much more time is left. Now is the time for talking, for reading, for doing everything I can to keep moving forward.
Maybe I’ve switched to talking about everyday life right now, but it certainly feels like the jetlag.