The First Gig: Time Zone Warp

My bedside companions -- can I do without the time?

It’s been a few days now since I interrupted my “Great Adventure” by returning home to do a workshop for new teachers in my former school district; it was the first session of what will be a series. It was a quick and crazy experience, and an interesting one. Our Great Adventure has been truly great – my husband, two dogs and I are traveling in a small motor home, with my little Chevy Malibu on a tow dolly bringing up the rear. We set out from New Hampshire on July 28, headed west, so we’ve been on the road exactly one month today!

Last Monday, I boarded a plane in Salt Lake City to return home – a business trip in the middle of a vacation, how weird. I didn’t think it would be a big deal – a day on each side for travel, and two days at home. The workshop part was fine, but the actual traveling delivered a blow I didn’t anticipate: jet lag!

Just before we arrived in Salt Lake City, we had attended the land speed trials at the Bonneville Speedway in Wendover, Utah: Mountain Time Zone. We were staying at a campground in West Wendover, Nevada: Pacific Time Zone. It was crazy – we set some clocks to one time zone, and others to the other, but we never really knew which one we were in at any given moment. The two places were only ten miles apart and for whatever unknown reason we pretty much functioned in Pacific Time. Then we drove back east to Salt Lake so that I could put the final touches on my presentation and get packed. Since it was my first gig as an Educational Consultant, I wanted everything to be as perfect as possible; yes, I confess to being a perfectionist.

My plane left at noon on Monday, and landed in Phoenix where I had about an hour’s layover for the next flight which would take me directly to New Hampshire. Phoenix is in the Pacific Time Zone, so I felt the need to adjust my mental watch again. I grabbed some lunch while I waited, and then boarded the next flight, but I had no sense of knowing what time it was; it was like my internal clock was just out of order. Although it was bumpy – apparently flying in and out of Phoenix is always bumpy because of the heat – it was a relatively uneventful flight. We landed in Manchester around 10:00 p.m., taking eleven hours for a six hour flight – that time zone thing again. I got my rental car (since my own car was in Utah!), and arrived home about midnight.

But my body was still functioning in another time zone, so it was after 1:00 a.m. before I got to sleep, and when I woke up at 9:00 I felt rested. I figured great, a solid eight hours of sleep should do the trick, and I headed down to the school district office to check in and take care of some paperwork. It was lovely to be home for this intermission, and I enjoyed a quick visit with a friend, spent time with my stepdaughter in the afternoon, wrote a blog article, then had some more preparations to make for my presentation. I never got sleepy, though, and it was midnight when my head hit the pillow, but I set my alarm for 5:30 because I wanted to have a good breakfast and be ready in plenty of time for my morning session.

I vaguely remember the alarm going off, and I jolted when I rolled over to discover that it was 7:44. I had planned on arriving at the school district offices at 7:30! Oh, no!

I left a path of destruction in my wake as I rushed to dress and get my things together. Got a phone call on my way from the assistant superintendent, who reassured me that it would be OK; she even met me at the door with a cup of coffee!

I did have a margin of time before I was scheduled to being the training, and by then I had calmed down and was mentally alert and ready to go. Loving the material certainly helps, too; it was easy to enjoy myself as I seamlessly put my “teacher hat” back on for a few hours. Then I was done, went home, and ended up taking a two-hour nap. (I never take naps!) The training went very well, and I have been scheduled for additional sessions later in the school year. Yay!

The next day I HAD to be up so that I could catch my early flight back to Salt Lake City. I set my alarm for 3:30 a.m. and put it on the loudest setting, and since my brain knew how important it was to get up on time, it turned out fine. I was right on schedule to return the rental car and check in at the airport. Flight took off on time, and my layover this time was in Las Vegas: Pacific Time. We arrived at 9:00 a.m.; I had now been up for nine hours (it was noon at home), and needed some lunch, but it was still breakfast time there and I felt like I had been sucked into a science fiction movie. The layover there was three hours, I found a seat at the gate, nibbled on a package of salted pecans (my favorite guilty pleasure), sipped a caramel latte, and read my book.

When I arrived back in Salt Lake City, it felt like I was home. But how could it feel like home when I had just left home and arrived at such a distant location?  And what time is it, anyway?

Now that a few more days have passed, I’m ensconced back in Mountain Time, and we’re on our way to Capital Reef National Park. The journey to New Hampshire was a crazy and fun interruption of this Great Adventure, but I’m glad to be back with my husband and dogs. I’m glad I don’t have to travel between time zones on a regular basis. One friend gave me great advice upon my return: “Go to the nearest river, take your watch off, fling it in the general direction of the water, and say “to hell with it, I’m on vacation!”

Life is good.

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3 thoughts on “The First Gig: Time Zone Warp

  1. I got quite a laugh from the advice of a friend to fling your watch. I also can relate to the time zone thing. Every time I go to Asia and return, I think I have figured it out, but every time it is different. Some times it seems to have no effect at all, though it is 11 hours in the future. Other times it is a big sleepy deal or sleepless deal!!! I’ll try again in December.

    What was the workshop on? Now you need online course teacher job or consulting job to keep you busy earning big bucks on the road. Keep having fun!

    • How interesting that each time you cross continents it’s a different kind of “time warp” ~~ but just being able to go with the flow probably makes it a lot easier to deal with.

      My workshop was on personality types. I am certified now, so I can administer the copyrighted indicator. It’s a ton of fun! Thanks for your comments, as always. I hope your school year is going well.

  2. On a few occasions, I’ve inserted a brief work assignment (in my case, consulting) into the middle of a vacation. It’s always seemed strange feeling. Kind of disorienting in a way, like visiting another country. Bill

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