Returning home after being on the road can be hard, but manageable…
I originally started writing this when I got home after a world wind trip to Morocco last year, and finally, I had the time to continue it after my recent adventure to Botswana this week.
I am still trying to get back to normal!
After walking city streets for days in search of the perfect photo (which I still have not taken yet), the sightseeing, eating tasty meals, and other benefits I enjoyed while away, one thing is sure; I definitely had to return home. The memories of the places I visit linger; nevertheless, the reality is that I am back home and my ho-hum day to day life must continue. Don’t even mention work!
Often tourists and travelers who have spent some time in other countries find it a bit difficult to readapt to their home environment. This is usually because once visitors fall in love with the place they visit they tend to start adapting to the lifestyle there. Besides, who wouldn’t find it hard to readjust after living in some exotic location with great food?
Notable among the various problems encountered by travelers is jet lag.
If you happen to travel frequently then getting affected by jet lag and hopping between time zones won’t be new to you. As a professional photographer, who has spent a lot of time traveling between countries like Morocco, India, Peru and Egypt I have come to realize I get hit by jet lag at times too. Understanding what jet lag is and how to overcome this will be very beneficial to every traveler.
Jet lag occurs when our circadian rhythm doesn’t adjust to a new time zone; rather it remains in the past biological pattern for days. It is a set of symptoms that we experience when there is a disruption in our internal body clock.
Here are some ways to try to overcome jet lag:
• Before departing adjust your schedule – try to know the direction you are heading to. If you are moving from the east to the west, try to delay your body clock so you rise and sleep later. If you are moving from the west to the east this can be more difficult.
• Do not drink a lot of caffeine, alcohol or other stimulants that might prevent sleep at least 3 to 4 hours before going to sleep.
• Regulate your exposure to light – Knowing the right time to seek light or avoid it during the day will help you a great deal. When traveling west avoid the morning light and seek the late afternoon light. Do the opposite to advance your time zone when traveling to the east.
• Do not bother trying to adjust if you are on a short trip and won’t be flying longer three time zones, you could be better off remaining on your home time.
• Pick a flight that arrivals in the early.
There are also many online websites such at Jet Lag Rooster which help you develop a plan to beat jet lag.
“Jet-setters aren’t the only ones who could benefit from altering their biochemistry. Night-shift workers could also be candidates, as well as people who suffer from sleep disorders. Anyone who experiences irregular sleep patterns is at risk for a variety of health problems, from cardiovascular to mental health conditions”, says Lydia Belanger in her article in Entrepreneur Magazine.
Most importantly (for me) is to have at least one full day (more if possible) at home to relax, recuperate, and gather your thoughts. I always feel dazed and confused (like a zombie) after flying all night or being away for a long time! Even if I stayed in the same timezone and no real symptoms of “jet lag”, it’s still important to take time to reflect and get back to reality.
AND the best thing to get me motivated after getting back from a long trip is the realization that now I am able to plan my next adventure!
Costa Rica? Brazil? Cambodia????