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London 2014: The Prep.

In June, I went to Lakes of Fire.

In July, I visited my Aunt Rose & Uncle Dennis in Kalamazoo.

And in August, I went to London.

Ever since I lived in London from September '07 to April '08, I've tried to get back every couple of years. It really is my favorite city on Earth, and if I could have moved there permanently I would have. Were I fabulously wealthy, I'd love to alternate cities: living in Chicago for half the year, and London for the other half. Since I'm not, I simply try to get back as often as I can. Which, it must be noted, is still a heck of an expense (even if a somewhat infrequent one).

My last visit had been in August 2012, for Francesca's wedding. And when Ryvre & I attended the World Science Fiction Convention in Chicago two weeks later, and the 2014 WSFC location was announced as being in London, I said to myself, "I know when I want my next trip to be!"

Granted, it nearly didn't happen. Finances have been tight the past couple of years, and when I considered the very large cost of such a trip (oversea flight, a couple of weeks' lodging, not to mention the additional cost of getting around & eatings & doings while in the city itself) ... well, all that considered, it seemed I might not be able to go after all. Until my father pointed out over the holidays that he had a free plane ticket earned through British Airways which he had no use for, and which he could pass on to me. Thanks, Dad!

The time leading up to any trip is such a funny thing. You have limited time in which to attend to all the MANY MANY THINGS which need to be taken care of (finalizing the details of your trip, making sure all work matters are planned for & covered in anticipation of one's absence, packing, etc.), and so you're rushing rushing rushing ... until the day comes, and you go, and you just have to shrug your shoulders and be all relaxed and zen about it. What's done is done, and what isn't ... will be fine.

The one part of my trip that was a bit frustrating was the timing of the outbound flight. International jet lag is a horrible horrible thing, and especially when flying eastward. You're going against the movement of the sun, so on an 8 hour flight you're really losing an extra hour for each time zone you fly across. In short: when you land, your body clock is completely set to the wrong continent. I have a hard enough time keeping my sleep schedule at all regularized even in the normal course of events; if it gets thrown off, it can be grueling to wake up at a reasonably early time, and/or I'll be groggy all day, and/or I won't be able to fall asleep at night, only dozing off around 5am. So already having that condition as a baseline struggle means that screwing with my internal clock via international travel is even worse.

Only once did I make this eastward journey smartly. When I was flying out to London in '07, I made the decision to get as early of a flight as possible. It may have been something like a 6.30am flight, which necessitated me getting to the airport around 5am. But the upshot is that by the time I landed in London, it was already night time - which meant that when I got in to Chad & Michelle's, whom I was initially staying with, I was tired from an early rising, not enough sleep, and a full day of being cooped up in an airplane (and then additional time on the Tube). As a result, I was able to fall asleep within a couple of hours, got a FULL night's sleep, and woke up the next morning largely refreshed and feeling almost no jet lag at all!

As I say, this seems incredibly, incredibly smart. To me, anyway. And not least because I know how much a messed up sleep schedule, or a significant sleep deficit, will screw with my ability to be awake and alive and get things done. As a result, when I was detailing my trip parameters to my stepmom Cathy, who was scheduling the flight, I did explicitly request a morning flight for that very reason. In the actual event, however, it was the dreaded late afternoon kind instead. I didn't ask if she just forgot my request, or if morning flights eastward across the ocean are just so little in demand that they're pretty rare and thus hundreds of dollars more expensive. As I say, it makes sense to me, since I know a late afternoon flight will have me arrive at the start of a new day, when I've had practically zero sleep (not being able to sleep on a plane), and my next several days will be somewhat wasted as a result. But I can also see how other people - who might not have as hard of a time as I do rolling with massive changes to one's day/night cycle - might think that scheduling a trip so that the first thing you have to do is pay for an EXTRA night at the hotel (or wherever) wouldn't make any financial sense.

Anyway. I boarded the plane around 6pm on Wednesday, August 6th, and set off.


( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 5th, 2015 01:01 am (UTC)
That sleep / flight timing strategy is brilliant.

And wow I've missed reading your story telling. You are fun to read. :)
Sep. 6th, 2015 05:27 pm (UTC)
Thanks. That's very encouraging to hear - and a reminder that I need to get back to this!

(I still have your email to reply to as well! Not lost, ignored or forgotten...)
Sep. 12th, 2015 01:00 pm (UTC)
"I need to get back to this!"

Yes. Yes, you do.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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