Jetlag. What a bastard. Depending on the direction you fly into, this annoying concept can really mess with your core. I have found that flying back in time is less intense than flying forward in time. It might be the other way around for some people but after discussing the topic of jetlag with friends and strangers alike, we all agree on one thing – routinely waking up at 3am is no fun. It should generally only take a few days to get over it but this depends on how many time zones you have crossed.
I have tried multiple strategies to avoid lag. One being to ‘live’ in the time zone of the country or city I am about to fly to for a few days prior to a trip. I have also tried to gradually adjust my watch to different time zones as I count down days before leaving a place. However, the only thing I have found that takes the edge off of jetlag is to choose your destination carefully, because no matter how dilly-dally you feel when you arrive in a place such as Lifou in The Loyalty Islands, the beauty of the place wipes away all smudges of jetlag from your essence.
Ave Maris 1886
The only thing that bothered me in this tropical paradise is the fact that I don’t understand French. One can only say bonjour and merci so many times in a conversation before the locals switch to English. In some ways I’d rather them carry on in French so that I can save some face while I eat my fromage and frog leg filled baguette.
Even though The Loyalty Islands are located just off the east coast of New Caledonia, it may take a while to find on a world map. It wont take you long however to find yourself completely breathless and awestruck by its beautiful people and equally pristine waters.
Parlez vous Francaise?
After getting off the tender boat I walk away from all the tourists busy getting their hair braided. It amazes me how easily people can become sheep. I walk alone along a deserted path while beautiful butterflies of all colors and sizes dance around me. As I watch them flitter around the dense forest pathway, I have no idea that they are ushering me towards discovering an underwater paradise. When I see the coral reef stretched out before me I cant help but think of it as a 24- carat diamond necklace sparkling off the bosom of a beautiful woman, luring me in for a closer look. It is no wonder that I have no balance when I exit the water after spending two solid hours snorkeling among the shoals of colorful reef fish. For a while I was weightlessly transient, feeling carefree, almost as if I had just won the lottery but chose to be homeless.
Untouched reef in Lifou
I find a very small-secluded beach far from the maddening crowd, with only a rusty old gas bottle stuck in the sand at the waters edge. At the end of the day not even this beautiful place has any power over my jetlag, so I fall asleep under a tree only to be woken up by the incoming tide lapping at my feet. From my confusion filled eyes I notice the rusty old bottle being rolled and shunted by the waves. It has no control over where it is being swept. It makes me think of an analogy. We all start out brand new, rust free and filled with the natural elements that makes us human, but over time we become empty, tarnished and deficient. I slip on my sandals and freely walk away, only, and really only, because I still can.
Sleeping under the sway of an island tree – the best remedy for jetlag
Food and water and a bit of beauty is all I need