Coping with travel

July 19, 2009

Setting off on a six week trip (London-Singapore-Perth-Canberra-Melbourne-Broken Hill-Adelaide-Sydney-Chicago-Boston-New York-Pretoria) is never easy, and on this occasion it was made worst by the fact that I only arrived home at 1500 yesterday from a one week trip to Seattle. Getting my act together for the 0840 Bus to Heathrow was this difficult to say the least. I’m in the SAS lounge at Heathrow knowing that I have to complete two article on the flight, but all I want is sleep! Mind you the routine takes me through things. First, calculate days between a hotel with laundry facilities (I don’t mean the rip off involved in putting clothes in a bag for a hotel contract to torture then at the wrong temperature). Secondly for each week one work of fiction and for each fortnight one serious text book. Thirdly, climate which on this occasion involves both Winter and High Summer. After that its simple, I keep three bags to hand of variable size and all the cables etc. are always standing reading in bags (anything I need at home is duplicated). A series of stuff bags take all clothes and then its a simple assembly job. I have it down to half an hour now which I suppose is sad!

I don’t buy a drug regime to cope with jetlag, My view is a G&T with a bad film or two on the flight allows for some sleep, with work before and after. On arrival the curtains (drapes for my US readers) are never closed to allow natural light regulation. I also leave the BBC or CNN on all night, that means that when I wake up my conscious mind is engaged by the news and I soon fall asleep again. Silence and a darkened room are a recipe for bad jet lag. A early morning swim seems to improve things, and getting the room temperature down to 16℃ helps. Oh and a shower before bed and at least four hours since the last meal makes a difference. Much of this may be superstition, but its a series of rituals that trigger the right response. I’ll still be tired but I should survive. Interesting work and great people also helps, and this trip will be full of them.

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