August 22, 2014

A Philadelphia Layover

I can still remember all 7 times I've crossed the Atlantic into Europe. I just stay longer than most Americans.

The first two times (2001 & 2011), I was a part of volleyball tour groups with agendas and activities to drag the jetlag out of us. The fourth time I came back in the midst of volleyball season; I had to knuckle down and get back on track sooner than possible - I had a match the next afternoon.

But the other four times have been my August re-entry dates, always with a few extra days planned for adapting to the 9-hour time difference. [Read: an entire week as a zombie who naps from 11am to 7pm.]

This year I finally beat jetlag at its own game.

I had a wild itinerary this summer, going Barcelona to Sacramento, then returning LA to Amsterdam (the day after getting back from Alaska, of course). Because of my bizarre schedule, I decided to go even more extreme, and opted for the nine-hour layover in Philadelphia on my way back.

And it worked.

Not only was it my first time in the city, but I was also thrilled to hang out with my sister-in-law, Alex, who made the drive up from DC, and my inner time zone gracefully arrived on the East Coast.

We had a late lunch at Reading Terminal Market, which translated to what would have been dinner in Europe. I skipped the dinner on the plane, having already adjusted my watch to EU's midnight, and went to sleep. In a strange way, our plane sitting on the tarmac for an hour and a half before take off (Philadelphia might want to look into building enough runways for scheduled planes...) only helped my cause, giving me a total of 8 1/2 hours of downtime before landing in Holland.

I was still wary of my potential energy crash after Cat picked me up from the Schiphol Airport...but it never came. I unpacked my stuff. I took a shower. I watched a movie. I ate dinner. (Don't you wish my blog always read like this?) And I made it all the way to 7:30pm without ever nodding off or laying down to recover!

I thought maybe the time change hangover would sneak up on me later...but it never did. I feel great, and I'm ready to start my season next week!

Moral of the story: Embrace the layover! If you struggle with jetlag and/or time change, find a cool city to touch down in and stay awhile. The layover is a free day trip to anywhere you want to go along the way to your destination! 

The layover is your friend.