One of the unpleasant side effects of long-term travel to multiple destinations is the affect travel has on one’s biological clock.  While most often referred to in the context of pregnancy, the biological clock also governs one’s ability to manage sleep.  Traveling over multiple time zones in a short period of time messes this up, leaving one’s body wondering whether a given moment is morning, noon, afternoon, or night.  I am writing this at 5:40 a.m.  I should not be writing right now; I should be in bed sleeping, getting ready for another day of fun-filled vacation.  Instead, I cannot sleep, because I have so hopelessly confused my body as to what time it is at a given moment. 
Over two weeks ago, we left Korea and headed to Hawai’i, a difference of -19 hours.  Noon on Sunday in Korea is 7 p.m. on Saturday in Hawai’i.  A couple days ago, we arrived in Seattle, entering the Pacific Standard Time Zone.  We two hours ahead of Hawai’i and 17 hours behind Korea.  We will stay on Pacific Time until early March, when we fly to the Eastern Time Zone and move to Virginia, three hours ahead of Seattle and 14 hours behind Korea.  Someone once told me that it takes one day for each hour of time difference to fully recover from time zone changes.  That may or may not be true, but when you move from one place to -19 hours for two weeks, then -17 hours for another weeks, then finally -14 hours one month later, it can be a bit brutal convincing your body to get with the program.  I don’t think I will fully adjust to the time change in Seattle, but I’m positive that we will recover from the time change in Idaho when we arrive on Monday.  So with that, I’ll trudge off to bed again and try to get a couple hours’ sleep.  Good night!

Books by MG EdwardsMG Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures and children’s books. A former U.S. diplomat, he served in South Korea, Paraguay, and Zambia before leaving the Foreign Service to write full time.

Edwards is author of six books. His memoir, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, was finalist for the Book of the Year Award and the Global eBook Award. He has published four children’s picture books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series: Alexander the Salamander; Ellie the Elephant; Zoe the Zebra; and a collection featuring all three stories. His book Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories is an anthology of 15 short stories.

Edwards lives in Taipei, Taiwan with his family. He has also lived in Austria, Singapore and Thailand. For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at or contact him by e-mail at or on Twitter @m_g_edwards.

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1 Comment

  1. Wade's Gravatar Wade
    February 16, 2007    

    It took me about 2 – 3 days to get pretty much back to normal when I returned from visiting you Seoul.

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