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Reaching the end, I’m realising how tired I am. In comes in a few forms:
1. Ineffective sleep. Last year I thought it was bad with a 14-hour overnight from DC to Atlanta and the 32-hour marathon from Austin to LA. So of course I’ve pushed it even further this time. I’ve spent 7 of the past 25 nights sleeping in a coach seat (I think… my counting abilities may be suffering) – yeah, none of the journeys I’ve done have come without an overnight. That’s after an 11-hour flight during which I only got an hour or two. The rest of the time I’ve had lovely comfy beds to sleep in, but sleeping sitting up or even lying down across two seats almost 1 night in 3 is taking it’s toll.
2. Doing too much. I’ve found find it really hard to say no to stuff. That’s because I’m giving up control and asking for help, right? Well yes giving up control, but I realise that I have to ask for help around getting proper rest. That might mean having to say no to more stuff in the interests of self-care. On the other hand, I can’t imagine anything that I’ve said yes to that I’d rather have had a couple of hours napping over. And it’s not just other people asking me. I spent way too much time walking around Chicago the other day, completely of my own accord. I was just so wrapped up in being somewhere new and not having anyone around that I ended up walking quite a few miles. My legs ache. It’s good to have the exercise when the rest of the time I’m sitting down, but it didn’t do much for my energy levels.
3. Food. I’ve had fantastic, delicious and nutritious meals courtesy of my hosts and friends along the way. But I don’t normally eat in restaurants this often and I’m normally quite strict about what I eat and when. And although I’ve been careful, I have eaten much more bread, cheese and eggs than I would do normally, it’s difficult to get enough vegetables or salad except when I’ve stocked up at supermarkets and sneaky bits of sugar have a way of creeping into everything. I could have done more to make sure I had what I needed for breakfast every day – I always make it a priority at home, but I find it hard to insist on what I need when people are already being so kind.
4. Time Changes. I’m not sure about this one, but I think it adds to my tiredness that my body is a little confused about what time it is. I do always have half an eye on what time it is in the UK. I’ve also been through all the time zones here in the last three weeks as well as the Daylight Savings Change a couple of weeks ago. I’m glad that I’ll only have a 5 hour difference to deal with when I get back rather than the PDT/BST that I faced last year.
5. Just Travelling. It’s tiring in itself isn’t it? I always forget this. Just the massive stimulation of going somewhere new ever day. Meeting new people or seeing old friends that I haven’t talked to before. Not really knowing where you’re sleeping tonight or what you’ll be doing tomorrow. Stimulating, exciting, unmissable and exhausting.
Well not quite, but this time next week I’ll have been back in London for 24 hours.
So it’s probably time to start counting backwards from then and getting some ideas of things to do between now and Thursday in place.
My flight from New York leaves at 7.30pm so I’ll need to be at the airport by 5.30 I guess. That means if I want to do an evening thing in NYC with people I know, that will need to be Wednesday night. So the latest I want to arrive in the city is Wednesday afternoon.
I am currently scheduled up to Sunday afternoon, when Anne has offered to take me up to Philadelphia as she’s going there for a basketball match. So I have Sunday afternoon/evening thru Wednesday afternoon to fill.
I had hoped (and still do) to meet up with Neal Foley (@podchef) one of my longest-standing social media buddies (he commented on my very first podcast at the end of 2004). He now lives near Belfast, ME but it really is looking like it’s going to be too difficult to get up there. I still have 4 segments left on my rail pass.
So, simplest (at least in terms of travel) first. I could get a train from Philly to NYC on Sunday if I could find people to put up with me Sunday thru Thursday.
I could also get up to Boston on Sunday evening, see if there are folk to see on Monday and then come back down to NY for a couple of days.
The Maine option looks like Boston Sunday night staying with persons as yet unknown, early start on Monday to get up to Portland on the train then bus to Belfast. Two nights down on the farm and then Wednesday travelling back down to New York (7.55am start from Belfast – hey I’m staying with a farmer!) getting into Penn Station at 10pm (if it’s on time) just in time to party!
Hmmm…. it’s pretty tight ain’t it? (Also depending on how they count segments, it might blow out my allocation of journeys on the rail pass and mean some journeys have to be paid extra for)
No matter what, I’m going to need at least one night on a couch in NYC (Wednesday) and possibly somewhere in Boston tomorrow night. I also need help working out what to do, where and with whom on Wednesday evening (possibly early but also possibly 10pm-ish – I know, that’s early…!)
Show me the way, people! I’m going to go out and help Anne with some yard work while y’all work this one out for me. Call it… Solve it while I secateur