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Jet Lag: In Real Time

Updated: Jan 20, 2021

Thistles and Coos is committed to bringing you travel information that is relevant and relatable. We use our experiences to provide you guidance and quality insight. How do you deal with jet lag? Natalie is traveling in Austria at the moment and documents her daily struggles with the “lag”.

In a recent blog, we wrote about how to keep moving with jet lag. What happens when jet lag continues to linger for days? Do you let it get in the way of your adventures? No way! Just keep moving!

Natalie heads out to Austria and documents what she is experiencing in real time. Note: some of the writings are ramblings. Be prepared for word salad!

Day 1 of Jet Lag:

As I sit here in London Heathrow airport, my mind is jumbled. Jet lag is settling in and my thoughts are coming out like soup on the brain. There is so much to write about as I journey for a week and a half solo, until Connie joins me. #funwithfriends

I’m excited and on edge at the same time. If I sit too long here on this couch, I will practically have to peel myself up off and drag myself to my connecting flight to head to Munich in two hours.

Did those two paragraphs make sense? I have no idea. I read and reread and can’t comprehend what I am trying to convey so I will write without looking back… or at least I will tomorrow after a good night’s sleep.

As I write this, I have been awake for 28 hours. I woke yesterday morning and just blinked at the clock trying to will myself to go back to sleep. 3:30am and I am wide awake. I try deep slow breaths.

Nope, the clock is continuing to move forward and I am kicking myself because I know how hard it will be to move through today. Yep, check that off my list. I need sleep. #kickingmyself

Jet lag in real time: I have a headache, I’m nauseous, I’m thinking I must be going through menopause because I can’t quit sweating, I can’t seem to cool down, my fingers hover over the keys because I forget what I am writing, the sun is shining outside but I feel like I should just crawl into the couch I am sitting on and just zonk. I can’t get up.

I didn’t sleep on the plane. I tried but the turbulence was so rough, I was bounced all over the seat. I normally don’t sleep when I am headed on my trip. On the way back, get ready for the snoring drooling girl sitting next to you. Right now… just not functioning.

So, what should I do with my time while I wait? Just write. It won’t be perfect. Just writing out my jumbled thoughts while I just wish my headache and nauseated stomach would calm down.

I like the quiet at the moment because I’m not gonna lie, headed alone into another country that speaks German as their first language is a bit intimidating for me. I know a handful of words but I want to make sure that I can get by with butchering the language and still understand each other.

Later on in the day….

Second flight was much better and the food was spectacular. I really needed that. I’m trying not to drink too much coffee or alcohol. That tends to make me feel worse.

I land. I have checked my bags so I have to somehow find baggage claim. I’m nervous, so what do I do? Sweat! It’s dripping down my back making it feel slippery and sticky. Yay. So refreshing.

I hear German around me. My mind begins playing tricks on me. The family beside me is speaking English. It helps my comfort level. I listen closer. What? They are speaking German. How did my mind translate that to thinking it was English. #ihatejetlag

I get my bags and am afraid to try and speak German. I have no idea what will come out. I will probably say something like, “My socks took the train to Antarctica”. I come up to someone working by baggage claim. I squeak out, “Sprechen sie Englisch?”. Yes, his English is perfect. He points to where I need to go.

Can my backpack dig more into my shoulders and slosh around on my wet back. I thank him in Italian (and I don’t even know the language). Wait, he’s German. SMDH.

The maze through Munich airport to find the Munich airport Hilton was almost too much for me. I hoped I found the right signs. It’s in German. My signs for the hotel are in purple. Follow the purple signs. Sheesh.

After the maze ends, the lobby opens up.. now that.. I recognize. Check in was easy. I have to find my elevator. Which one though? There are about four or five. Pick one. I feel like I'm on the game show, "Let's Make a Deal". Will there be money behind on of the doors or a donkey? Pick smart!

I enter the first one. A short sweaty bald man stands there in his robe. Aw, man! I got the donkey!

He seems agitated I hopped on. Sweat pours in my eyes. He must think I am winking at him. I assure you, I was not. I hit my floor number and he gestures, “Card Card Card!!!!”. What?

He grabs my card. Puts it up to a square pad. Nothing happens. He grunts, “Wrong! Wrong. Go back. '' I get off the elevator. Bye bye hee-haw-man.

Another man seeing this asks for my card envelope which displays my number. He sees it, tells me where to go. I get in the correct elevator and then dread hits me. In my jet lagged mind, I know I will be murdered in my hotel room. #idontwanttodie

When I get to my room. I shut my door and there is a button I think I am supposed to push to lock the door. I feel like a sitting duck. I grab a heavy chair that is across the room and drag it to the door. I look out the peephole thinking that the man from the lobby is coming with a machete. I then put my heavy suitcase in the chair and the alarm on my door. (This alarm is great and I felt secure just knowing that if someone opened my door, the ear-piercing shrill alarm would sound!)

I feel safe now. My brain is done.. First day… success. I made it to another country. Tomorrow will be better. #youwish


Slept pretty good. Bags are heavy as I race to the train station. My head still feels heavy and I feel like there is a rock in my gut. I get out my translator. I am on the right platform. I wait. I hope that I get on the right train and one that doesn’t lead me to France.

Train comes. I get on and pray. I’m going in the right direction. Stomach flipping. Time to chew gum. My stop approaches and I know I have to run 6 platforms over and I have 5 minutes.

I "run". Use your imagination. It's a pretty sight.

I make it to my platform just in time. The train comes and I start looking for my train car. Nope. Go in the opposite direction. Looking. Then I hear a whistle blow.

OH NO! I run to the car’s door and try to push the button to open the door as the train leaves without me. I’m standing on the platform silently screaming.

I run downstairs to a kiosk. Try to figure out the German and buy the next ticket to Kufstein. Crossing my fingers hoping it is right.

Run upstairs, train comes in one minute. Oh my head is now aching. I need water. Door opens, and I run in and slam myself in a seat. I’m not missing this one. #imdone

All is well, train arrives and I meet my friend. The whole drive, I think I mumble. I am so tired. Why do I feel so foggy? Normally jet lag is gone by now.

I rent my car and drive to my apartment. I feel so agitated. My head is swimming. I drink more water. I think sleep is what I need.

I toss and turn all night. My stomach is in knots. What the hell?!

Day 3 of JET LAG:

Day 3 of jet lag! Will it end?

For me, jet lag lasts the first 24 hours, and now I am on day 3 and I can’t seem to shake the exhaustion. What is going on? I have no appetite. I try walking. I try eating and not interested at all. I still haven’t pooped so my digestion is all out of whack. I’m still struggling to put one foot in front of the other. I have no energy and the weather didn’t help. It rained and rained.

My emotions are all over the place. I don’t speak the language which adds to my frustration. I’m extremely spent. Words come out jumbled and I lose my train of thought. Yep… time to call it an early night. (I’m attaching the video that I shot that night.)

I collapse into bed. EARLY. I get 10 hours of sleep.

Day 4: JET LAG:

The monster beast is finally gone. I feel like myself. You never know from trip to trip. This was my first experience of jet lag lingering and hanging on for days. If this happens to you, know that it will pass.

Do you have any stories of your experiences? Share them with us!

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