Jetlag Jive

In the last few days I’ve been zooming through airports, time zones and climates like a kid in a fairground jumping rides. It’s become a challenge to work out what day it is, let alone what time and the giddy excitement is only heightened by the feeling of disorientation.

Carry-on ONLY, for real..DV

I’ve discovered the truth behind the old travelling adage: carry-on only, for real.. and make sure even that is underweight, as my aching shoulders can attest. When you’ve trundled through duty free at leisure and repented in haste, running through tunnels and walkways searching for your gate, your muscles will thank you for that super-light bag.

Comfort is good, but a little slickness doesn’t hurt either, as you clash your way through different cultures, even in  the flight lounge. I chose smart black leggings, boots, tan leather jacket and a top long enough to cover my derriere, accompanied by a system of wraps and hoodie, so I was equipped to deal even in places where women rarely make an appearance. In the last week alone, I’ve been surrounded by acres of bare legs, tiny shorts, burkas and all things between. Tread a middle path and the trip goes more smoothly.

Jetlag: everything does something, but nothing does everything…DV

As for the jet lag, I’ve tried standing yoga at the back of the plane, leg stretches, arms in the air in my seat, twisting, sleeping on all the seats some kind attendant set me up for after a long layover, lavender under my nose and tiger balm on my shoulders. At various times I’ve carried a barrage of aromatherapy oils for every occasion, Rescue Remedy, yoga books, lucky crystals and amulets in my pockets. Everything does something, but nothing does everything.

Maybe the only sure cure is to keep travelling, like the proverbial hair of the dog that bit you, it’s not jet lag if it never stops. Maybe.

The worst is the sensation of being in several places at once, adapting to the slang of three continents on the fly and doing the cash conversions: dollar, pound, kroner, rial, baht, euro.. huh?! I threw out my calculator ages ago and rely on approximations, unless it’s a big purchase. Haggling over a few cents is a no-no. But haggling as sport, that’s something else.

Take  the offered starting price, whip off about thirty percent, calmly suggest it, and be ready for your goal price of 15-25% less to appear as if by magic. With a bit of practice, you’ll spot the final price instantly, smile pleasantly and feel the mutual satisfaction as you both arrive there.

Haggling.. a sort of pleasant intellectual debate..DV

This is the way it’s done and no amount of arguing or impatience will get you there quicker. It’s good manners and a sort of pleasant intellectual debate, much like a political discussion, if entered into with the right spirit. Imagine you’re having coffee together and chatting about your team, or the latest celeb wardrobe malfunction.

We can still find spaces made alluring by difference.DV

There’s nothing to replace the exhilaration of visiting a new place or hearing a new language, looking through supermarkets and market stalls, examining every item like someone from another galaxy: it’s the best. This is why we travel. To know, find the unknowable and be unknown. In lands made familiar by TV, where we know the dating habits of all our heroes, we can still find  spaces made alluring by difference.

That’s a beautiful thing.