Having racked up almost 100,000 miles in air travel over the past two years, I’ve become no stranger to a little jet lag. I thought I had experienced the full throttle after flying back from New York and landing at what felt like 11pm, when it was actually only lunchtime. I foolishly took a nap that afternoon and my body clock was off for about 2 days. Unfortunately, I was naive enough to believe that would have in some way prepared me for what was to come. But sadly not. It hits you in the face the second you step off the plane at your destination, and leaves you waking at varying times of the night wondering where and who you are. For all you know, you could be Michael Jackson’s ghost (which wouldn’t be completely impossible given that I have many a time crashed around the bedroom in the dark trying to get my bearings in a Thriller like fashion).
Anyway, like pretty much everything else, I figured there was probably a funny side to this madness, so I attempted to translate that exact feeling into a progrressional timeline of jet lag, so that, maybe – just maybe, I can help at least one of you realise that making any elaborate plans for the immediate few days following your arrival is a sincere mistake.
Walk the walk. You’re fresh off the plane, you’ve slept, you’ve even mopped your poor economy class brow on a hot cloth handed to you by an air stewardess with bizzare tongs that you assume were manufactured solely for that moment in life, and you think you can nail this. It’s midday local time, and you’re totally ready to chug a skinny capp and stay up until an appropriate bedtime.
The coffee starts to wear off and your body starts preparing for bedtime. Glancing at the clock, you see it strike 5pm and it dawns on you that you’ve got another 5 hours to get through.
People are talking but you’re completely zoned out. Smile and nod, smile and nod.
IT’S BED TIME. HURRAHHHHHHH.
You wake from the deepest sleep, your mouth drier than a quinoa cracker.
It must be morning, wow, I’ve slept through! NOPE, 3am.
Time ticks on.
Morning comes. You rise, despite it feeling like the middle of the afternoon given that you started your day 6 hours ago – yet did nothing but lay in bed angry. You try to eat – as they say, eating breakfast helps set your body clock. Before long, you face plant your toast.
All around you is reassurance. Stories of those who have battled through. How you’ll “be back to normal in a few days”. You look on in disbelief.
Hours of confusion, a touch of anger and a dash of hallucination later, you decide you can take on the world, and you power through. When you eventually adjust, you half expect a monument to have been erected in your honour, and perhaps a letter from the Queen, but take it from me; HRH must be a little busy tending to the corgis to have mailed my letter, but, you know, I never give up hope.
For those of you who have read this thinking, ‘what’s this girl on about? Jet lag isn’t that bad’, count yourselves lucky. Apparently you’re meant to get used to the effects of changing time zones, but 100,000 miles later, I’m yet to see any progression!