Probably the biggest challenge I’ve faced since moving from the east coast to the west coast (well, other than trying to curb my lust for all things bubble tea) is the timezone. I’m not much of a morning person to begin with, so when I lived in Tampa I’d usually get up at 9-10AM, which I didn’t feel too guilty about it, since it was 6-7AM on the west coast. Mentally that was justifiable to me. Kind of how alcoholics/frequent flyers justify drinking before noon — after all, it’s 5PM somewhere. 😉
Now living on the west coast — surprise, surprise — I’m not really getting up any earlier. And for that matter, Seattle winters certainly don’t help in keeping me up and productive, since it’s dark about 16 hours a day. Of course the issue when you get up at 9-10AM on the west coast is that it’s 12-1PM on the east coast. And as much as I’d like to say “so what?” the reality is that stuff happens on east coast business hours, at least in the miles & points world. Whether it’s airline news or emails, it sucks to wake up as people on the east coast are on their lunch breaks, and then spending all day trying to “catch up.”
The nice side effect of living on the west coast is that usually evenings die down a bit earlier. That’s not necessarily exciting for me since I’m a night owl, as I end up just watching reruns of Shahs of Sunset on my iPad till I fall asleep (and that’s assuming it’s not a blood-pressure raising episode where GG turns into a crazy… oh wait, that’s every episode).
So as much as I try to set an alarm and tell myself I’ll get up at 6AM, it just ain’t happening. I mean, it does happen in the sense that I set an alarm for that time every day, but it doesn’t happen in the sense that somehow I never seem to hear it.
I’ve come to realize lately that I also have timezone preferences for where I travel to. Y’all know I love Asia, but the timezone kills me. Being on exactly the opposite time of the US east coast means having a really screwed up schedule. I try to do touristy stuff during the day, get some work done at night and then again in the morning, but I just end up not being able to sleep and staying up all night, to the point that by the end of a week-long trip to Asia I’m on US east coast hours (which perhaps in Bangkok isn’t necessarily a bad thing…).
Conversely, in terms of timezones, I love being in Europe. Since my family is from Germany and I spent the first ~15 years of my life exploring it extensively I’ve been devoting much more travel to Asia. But lately I’ve been doing some more Europe travel, and I’ve realized that I love being in that general timezone.
I can get up at a reasonable hour, get a bit of work done, spend several hours outside sightseeing, get back mid-afternoon, get some more work done, go out in the afternoon and have dinner, and then get some more work done before bed. It’s awesome, because I always feel like I’m ahead of the game. Heck, when I open my laptop in Europe mid-morning I can hear Gary Leff‘s alarm clock going off (I’m pretty sure usually I go to bed the same time he wakes up).
So as weird as it sounds, I find I’m much more relaxed when traveling to Europe, since I don’t always feel like I’m “missing” everything going on in the world and behind, but rather feel like I’m ahead of the curve.
Similarly, even though Hawaii is just a five hour flight from Seattle, I haven’t gone there once since I’ve moved here. Being yet another three hours behind the west coast is terrifying to me.
Am I nuts? Anyone else have similar feelings or a favorite timezone?