Asia is great, when not sleep deprived

“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the evening. Sleep in the night.”    -William Blake

I was lucky enough to experience Asia for the first time when I was just 24 years old. I was so excited to be travelling to such an exotic destination. I was living on the Eastern seaboard of the USA, working for an apparel company and I was going to Hong Kong, Macau, Seoul and Bangkok on my first overseas trip. To say that was a big deal is a gross understatement. 

It would also be my first episode of jet lag. I’ve written about this before, my love of the sleep deprivation condition caused by crossing multiple time zones. (Sarcasm, please.) It makes sense to have a different opinion of the condition, now that I am on the other side of it. But, I was already having worries, when I was in the middle of it. I kept thinking, every time I was in the throes of the exhaustion and mental fog, “this can’t be good for me.”

Turns out, if I had done any research into the matter I might have discovered it is not at all good for a person. It is scientifically proven to wreak havoc with the way our brains work. The ‘Journal of Sleep Research’ published on 2016 Jul 5, notes from a study titled, ‘Sleep deprivation increases formation of false memory‘. I knew it!

I used to tell my junior staff who were travelling to Asia or Europe for the first time – “write everything down”. I advised them to pay strict attention to this rule. Even if they thought, in the moment, “I’ll remember this”, chances are, they would not. I knew this from years of experience. Even the simplest of concepts, during the most routine meetings, if I did not take notes to spur the actual facts of the matter, it would be very foggy in my mind when I returned home. I was curious why this happened, but didn’t take the time to dig into it. I just used my ‘work-around technique’ and got on with it.

As time went on, I started to use sleeping pills. The heavy-duty kind, prescribed by the doctor. My thought was, if I slept, I might remember more and perform better. While I had a sense of being more alert, not being as dog tired, my experiments in using sleeping pills did not greatly improve my memory. That could have to do with the quality of the sleep the pills provide. There is nothing that can replace a good nights sleep after adjusting to the new time zone in the old-fashioned way. One hour per day per time zone. There is no way around that, sorry.

As I make my way through Asia over these past months, I have realized, I like it here! I have a completely different view of things since I am not sleep deprived. It occurred to me, every time I spent time in Asia in the past, I was jet lagged. It is so strange to spend a week somewhere in the world and then have such terrible recall back home. It was like the whole week was encased in a fog. I never really explained this anyone before, for fear that I was having some kind of weird reaction to the travel. Now I know, it was not just me!

The only scary part of this story was how long I lived like this. I was effectively damaging my brain’s ability to work properly, every month or so, for years. But, it was a routine by then. I felt normal. Or at least I had become accustomed to feeling like jet lag was not having any effect on me. Even now, my kids marvel at how easily I adapt to a new time zone. I suppose that is just years of conditioning. 

I suppose there is something else at work. That would be the lack of work, or not having a typical job anymore. The stress I felt in my old life is gone. Added to the fact that I feel well rested, I am practically a young women again. (Except when I look in the mirror!)

What I know for sure is, my brain is performing at a higher level than at any other time in my life. I am combining the wisdom of my years with the curiosity of my youth and there is no stress putting blinders on everything. My capacity to learn and create seems endless. The only thing that slows me down is the end of the day, when it is time to sleep. I honour the call to rest as if it were the most important thing I could do in life. Turns out, it probably is.

Join me in this creative journey. I think it will be worth your time. Together, let us see where we can take this. I look forward to hearing from you! Please share your thoughts. Feel free to send an email to:

Published books:
: : “Fruitless at 40: Rediscovering My Creative Power

Our travel year:
: : Have you ever heard of a digital nomad family? A Dad working in Europe and Asia, Teens doing distance education for grades 11 and 9, and Mom keeping it all together, writing, taking photos and making videos.
: : Check out all the adventure, captured in weekly videos on a youtube channel called creative wandering.

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: : My tried and true packing list, developed from long-term, around the world travel and….
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: : Join us!

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: : What would an epic creative retreat look like for you?

Daily Creatives Resources:
: : My heroine’s journey, a road less travelled
: : Detourism and other new word suggestions
: : It took me a year to find freedom, a love story
: : Living in stress, moving to relaxation, looking for ikigai

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