Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pre-Flight Nerves

We leave again for a trip next Monday, and I'm noticing all the familiar signs of pre-travel nerves: restlessness, difficulty in falling asleep, low levels of fear and anger promoting a general sense of malaise. It's not a long trip this time; we're just heading to the East Coast--Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Washington DC, mostly to visit museums and spend some time with friends. You'll be reading about it, surely, on The Buddha Diaries. I'll take the laptop along. I'm looking forward to it with the usual mix of excitement and dread.

There's something in me that wants to stay put. Perhaps we still carry the ancient genes of our ancestors, for whom it was inconceivable to travel more than a few miles from home. Our journey to Pittsburgh, a matter of some four hours from Los Angeles, would likely have taken us four months a century and a half ago; before that, it would have been unimaginable. It's my suspicion that our body-minds have not evolved at the same pace as our technology. I know that mine--my body-mind--recoils from such radical dislocation, and that restlessness and malaise result from its anxieties.

Last night, having gone to bed early, I woke before midnight and couldn't get back to sleep. My mind was racing, and my stomach churned. Beside me, Ellie was also wide awake, suffering from leg cramps and insomnia. A fine pair of travelers. I got up, swallowed down a couple of gulps of Mylanta with a half an Ambien and returned to bed. I slept until morning.

Am I alone in experiencing these symptoms? I'm sure not. I'd love to hear what strategies others might have found, to make those symptoms easier to live with...


miiya said...

Well, here I am, up at 2:30 in the morning, checking emails because of my occasional insomnia and am looking forward to what responses and suggestions others will have to your predicament.
Change, as I get older, does not seem to be welcome to my system either. But your travel jitters may be from an unconscious realization that us earthbound humans were not meant to fly like the birds and to not be sitting like sardines in a elongated metal machine......happy journeying.

robin andrea said...

I mostly don't travel very far, and I never fly. I am experiencing a similar mix of dread and excitement about our upcoming move. I don't like moving very much either, but these past few years have put those fears to the test. I don't deal very well with it; I lose sleep; I am quick to anger. I haven't found an effective way to deal with it, except maybe sleeping later than usual (waking at 7:15 rather than 6:00) to make up for the tossing and turning.

Gary said...

The Reptilian Brain

When traveling on aircraft for long distances with the sun I use deep cleansing breathing for several days every hour for 5 minutes, spend at least 1.5 hrs on the rowing machine two days in a row prior to my flight and walk for one hour as night falls.

To sooth my limbic brain from the travel smells that can stimulate negative responses I bring a lavender pouch and keep it cool placing it over my eyes to calm down and adjust to my one size fits all airplane seat. I always bring a lumbar pillow an inflatable neck pillow.

The limbic brain works to restore balance to my emotional stability like a thermostat for the hypothalamus and allows sleep to be restored by
suppressing the flight/fight response of the reptilian brain within all of us.

When traveling against the sun on 5 hr plus flights I know my biological clock will take 2 to 3 days to reset. I find that long morning and early evening walks help me get in the sun enough to stimulate and reset the internal clocks which also allows for aroma filled links to the place I'm working or visiting.

By the way reptiles don't drink coffee!

I like Suzanne Bovenizer's CMT, CST writing on the subject.

PeterAtLarge said...

miiya--thanks for checking in, and see below for Gary's excellent advice

Robin, yes, ouch, the anger! Good luck with the move. I'm not up to date on the blogs, I'm afraid; and need to catch up on yours.

Gray, yes, all good advice--and from one who should know about those long distances. This time, though... well, Pittsburgh doesn't seem that far!