In my travels I have experienced what I thought was jet lag, a kind of sluggishness and fatigue that is somewhat annoying and is over in a few days. When I heard others who travel more than I complain of jet lag, I assumed they were speaking of this minor nuisance and I wondered about the basis of their difficulty.
However, the jet lag I experienced this time after returning from Korea was totally disabling, a major impediment to routine functioning. This was not something that I could ignore, since my energy was totally drained and I was thoroughly disoriented. Each day I would manage to get out of bed and get through the morning routine, but when I tried to leave the apartment, I would feel as though someone had hit me with a sledge hammer as I was trying to walk while dragging a three hundred pound weight. Each day I would try to return to work, I would be beaten back by a ruthless fatigue that resembled a drug-induced state. I would lay delirious in bed, voices on the radio blending with my fantasies in some bizarre narrative of intrigue and deception. Somehow I would find myself back in Korea in some back street pursuing some vague adventure that left me helpless and alone...descending into unconsciousness.
One friend advised me to "stay with the sun" and I thought he merely meant to adjust my sleeping habits to the local daylight hours. But I have since learned that the remedy is to absorb as much sunlight as possible as it creates a chemical response that counteracts the jet lag and enables you to adjust quickly. Alas! I learned this too late since I am now in the final stages of recovery. Yet, I have a new respect for those world travelers who seem to thrive in the changing zones of time and days perhaps creating a new species equipped for time travel.