As someone who prides himself on keeping long hours and sleeping as little as possible, I think I may have bitten off even more than I could chew. A few months ago, I booked my two holiday vacations to visit my family in Washington state. In order to maximize the time I would have with my family, minimize the amount of work I would miss, and pay the lowest price possible, I opted to purchase red-eye Sunday night return flights to Myrtle Beach for both my Thanksgiving and Christmas trips. I learned that traveling like that was a little harder than I had thought.
On Sunday night, after a delay, I flew out of Spokane to Portland. After backtracking to the Rose City and playing on my phone through a two-hour layover I caught a plane that took me on a four and a half hour odyssey to Charlotte. Although still dark when I landed in Charlotte, the long plane ride and time zone change had turned the night to morning. From 6:15 a.m. to 7:15 a.m. I sat in the airport munching on my mom’s freshly baked banana bread until I boarded the aircraft that finally brought me home. At 8:45 a.m. I touched down in Myrtle Beach. My flight home from Thanksgiving was pretty much exactly the same except for instead of backtracking to Portland I reversed course to Seattle.
Now this three-stop cross country all-night trip was a monster in and of itself but there was still an obstacle in front of me that would screw up my already messed up internal clock even more: work. After grabbing my lugguage my clutch girlfriend picked me up and rushed me home. After a quick 20 minutes of changing clothes and gathering myself I hopped in my car and made the 25 minute commute to Coastal Carolina University. For the next seven hours I did my best to block out my jet lag/fatigue and get things done. To break up my zombie-like status and to make up for my missed morning workout, I hit the gym during my lunch hour. The best thing about doing that was not the exercise but the shower I was able to take afterwards. Flying all night does little to make you feel clean.
Both last night and the evening after I returned from Thanksgiving break I was on autopilot as I walked to my car at the end of the day. You might ask why I didn’t sleep much on the plane ride. Well, I didn’t shut my eyes on the short trips to Portland and Seattle because I wanted to make sure I was sleep-deprived enough to enter into a deep slumber once I boarded my long flights to Charlotte. However, sitting in a middle seat with no room both times resulted in me getting maybe two hours of terrible, choppy sleep. On both of my flights from Charlotte to Myrtle Beach I elected not to sleep because I didn’t want to be groggy once I landed. A single hour of sleep can sometimes do more harm than good.
I fly a modest amount and these two trips definitely strained me the most. It also gave me even more respect for professional athletes and entertainers who do this type of travel routinely and then perform at very high levels. Although I said above that I thought I may have bitten off a little more than I could chew with my travel arrangements, I would still say it was worth it (if that makes sense). You see, it is important to me to spend every possible minute with my family while also making it back in time for the start of the work week. Yes, it was a little harder than what I thought but for me it was worth the sacrifice. On future trips don’t look it past me to book the red-eye again. Don’t Blink.