We are just back from our wonderful trip to Japan, where we spent the last two weeks. We got home last Thursday afternoon and are finally adjusting to the difference in time zones (14 hours). You can see from the pictures some of the sites we saw in Tokyo & Kyoto. We were very busy, but it was an amazing cultural immersion!
The jet lag going from west to east is really challenging on international trips and we took LONG naps on both Saturday and Sunday to help catch up. Before we left, I posted about how nice it was to have a relatively relaxed travel departure, but now I am even more enjoying coming home from our first trip in early retirement and not having to rush off to work this week.
I traveled quite a bit internationally when I was working and sometimes landed in the morning and was back in the office the same afternoon – jet lag and all. It’s no fun to feel like you are completely exhausted and have ‘important’ meetings that you ‘need’ to be at. In addition to being crunched when you return, you spend the whole trip thinking about what you need to get done when you return.
Jet lag compounds the stress. My work colleague, Joe – who traveled to as many 33 countries in one year – said the best way he found to deal with jet lag is to simply pretend you don’t have it. He said he just changes his watch as the plane is taking off and convinces himself that it is now that time of day. I try to emulate that attitude as much as I can, but you can only trick your natural biorhythms so much.
The good news is since I’m retired, I am no longer coming home to a very busy schedule. I can take my time and easily get back into the swing of things. Or at least what I have is all fun or flexible. For those of you wondering what an early retiree’s schedule looks like (including my jealous former coworkers DC/AB who were texting me last week when I got home), here are my highlights for this coming week:
- College Orientation & Registration – Our son will be a freshman at college this fall and this is an all-day event that we all have to attend. While he is the student (and over 18), I guess they know that most of the parents are flipping the bill and need to attend.
- Tile Guy – We have a couple projects queued up for our house and the projects are starting on Tuesday morning. I need to pick up the materials at the tile shop and meet the guy who is going to do the work @ 9am.
- Tennis – My brother and I have a schedule of playing tennis every Tuesday morning. We usually play for 75-90 minutes and sometimes grab a smoothie or some refreshment afterward. As long as the weather is nice (into October?), we’ll be able to play.
- Concert? – One of the big lakeside bandshells in our metro area does concerts every night and this Tuesday it is a great concert band that our son had the opportunity to perform with in high school.
- “Work” – I need to get some “Work” done sometime this week, so I will plan on doing it on Wednesday morning. I need to book some travel for an out-of-town meeting in September and draft a presentation outline. Shouldn’t take more than an hour or two to prepare and is probably the only work I do this month.
- Baseball – My friend John sent me a note last week about attending the Minnesota Twins game against the Braves. It is “Beer Stein” night commemorating their 1991 World Series Championship. Chance of rain that night, but should be good fun.
- Tennis (again) – I’ve been playing tennis with my friend Russ every few weeks since the start of summer. He’s also recently retired. We’ve been playing at different courts around time and capping off our games with a visit to various local brew pubs.
- Movie? – My son has a summer job, but he is off on Thursday. Might be a good time to catch a weekday matinee of the new Star Trek Beyond movie.
- Church Donation – Our church is having a contest to decide what color siding to put on the building. It’s been ugly ‘heritage blue’ for more than 30 years – which clashes with newer beige brickwork that was added 10 years ago. I’m going to make a big donation from our “One More Year” Fund on Friday to swing the vote so the whole building will be a nicely updated beige.
- Boat Club – We split a boat club membership with some friends and Friday night we’ll be out on the water. We will probably invite some friends out with us.
You might be thinking right now that my “work week” looks a lot like an extended vacation and you are right. That’s the pleasure of early retirement – lots of fun things to do, but none of it very taxing or stressful. While the trip to Japan was awesome, it is even better when you can come home to a chill schedule like this.
Do you have extended vacations this summer? How stressful will it be when you return home?
More pictures from Japan …