Back from the Future: Jet Lag!

Ransom Riggs

Good morning, everybody -- or is it good night? I'm finally back from my sojourn to the land of kiwis and bungee jumping, where, being on the "other side" of the international date line, it's frequently tomorrow. (It was a little surreal leaving Auckland at 10pm and flying for 12 hours only to arrive in Los Angeles at 3pm, but that's just the crazy modern world we live in, I suppose.) Needless to say, I've got tons of kiwi-flavored floss to share with y'all this week, but right now I wanted to meditate on that thing which is most occupying my brain space: jet lag.

I thought I'd be OK. Going over was easier: we left at 10pm, popped an Ambien each (no sleep-driving/eating/sex occurred on the plane, I'm happy to report), and when we woke up the plane was landing, and it was 5am -- two days later. No matter; it felt at least psuedo-natural to us. After one freaking long day, during which we were lucky to have an Auckland-based friend to keep us entertained and awake (thanks, Doug), we hit the sack and were more or less adapted.

Coming back has been a different story. I feel like my brain is swimming in a thicker-than-usual soup, and strange things, like doing my laundry, have taken on a heavy, new, almost spiritual importance. It's a bit like being under hypnosis and realizing it: you feel the urge to tell strangers about where you've been, and if asked the right way, you're in danger of confessing to almost anything. Jet lag is like truth serum that way; perhaps part of it has to do with the nature of traveling itself -- even when I'm with a group, I find myself striking up conversations with other travelers and with locals whenever possible, out of a need to engage more deeply with the places I go. So it's hard to suddenly come back to America and normality where I'm not supposed to have deep conversations with my neighbors or say hi to everyone I see on the street!

Anyway, hopefully I'll be myself tomorrow; in the mean time, we'd love to hear about some of our well-traveled readers' experiences -- good or bad -- with jet lag!