Recently I completed my first long haul journey from Auckland, NZ to Heathrow, London, all of which was over 24 hours of travelling without any stopovers. Everyone I talked with about my journey always related it back to this idea of ‘jetlag’ – a sort of exhausted, depleted and very strained state that we supposedly feel because of a mixture of the timezone changes and the huge trip. So as you can imagine, I was curious as to how I would handle this sort of experience.
Feeling exhausted after such a journey is understandable, considering how long I would have to stay in the confined space of a plane or in the busy-ness and rush of the airport. However, to my surprise, my body naturally adjusted well to it and the next day, after my arrival in London, I awoke as I would have normally, without any ‘jet lag’ or exhaustion from the previous day’s events.
How was this possible?
Firstly, I was inspired by my friend who mentioned that the body naturally adjusts to the time changes better if we live to the time in the timezone that I was currently in.
I had previously thought that perhaps the body would not adjust very well to these time changes, as travel like this is not something we tend to do. I thought I would have to ‘prepare’ my body for each timezone change and live in the rhythm of the timezone I was flying from (Auckland, NZ).
However I could soon feel how exhausting it was to view the journey and timezone changes in this way and how I was already setting myself up to feel exhausted by the end of the journey by not honouring what my body was naturally telling me.
Secondly, I ate foods that honoured my body and naturally listened to what my body was saying. If I felt I needed a walk around the plane I would honour this; generally this was very frequent – usually once every 1 or 2 hours.
I noticed on the plane how most people ate a lot of stimulating foods loaded with sugar or drank alcohol and I wondered whether this form of stimulation was truly supportive for such a trip, as it takes us away from listening to our bodies’ natural communication with us. This could be through feeling like stretching our legs or what foods the body is truly asking for to support it.
I realised from the flight just how important honouring the rhythms of our body truly is, particularly on a journey like this.
Thirdly, I gently took the approach of viewing the space on the flights as a loving time to enjoy being with me and my body: to observe life on a deeper level and appreciate how much had unfolded to support me to arrive at the moment that was before me.
I chose not to go into thinking about how I was going to fill up the time with things to do or how I was going to face the boredom of doing very little. Even my laptop’s battery could not last the whole journey and I felt this was lovely, as it offered the space to let go and just be.
It was beautiful to feel how empowering it can be to honour the body and its natural intelligence. This experience confirmed to me just how the body is always there, to support and assist us, with anything that life presents and all we have to do is to simply honour what it is telling us.
By Joshua Campbell, 23, IT Consultant, Tauranga NZ