Saturday 24 January 2015

It's Just A Phase They're Going Through ; Space travel side-effects, Long term happiness methodology & Survival food top ten

The longest flight I've ever taken and easily the most enjoyable, was the journey from the U.K. to Austrailia. I went to Brisbane, to be precise. It took two consecutive flights to make the trip and it was thrilling to say the least. Great fun at the stopover and great travelling companions and friends made it worthwhile. The total journey time, including the stopover period, was 28 hours.

At the end, once I got to the hotel, I did my usual thing of unpacking the luggage as soon as possible, showering up, and then going for a wander around the locale. Even after being awake for nearly two days by now, I still wasn't flagging physically or mentally until I got back to the hotel room and sat down. All I can remember, is turning on the television set and the next thing I knew, I woke up at about 4am brisbane time. I'd been asleep for just over 8 hours. I felt incredibly refreshed for a while and then sauntered into the bedroom, only to fall asleep for another several hours. There's such a remarkable feeling of absolute invigoration after a snooze of that length. All my cognitive functions were razor sharp after that.

Jet lag is something that isn't easily curable. In fact, other than a lengthy lie-down as already mentioned, or 'bench down' (you just lie down on the nearest bench ,and snooze it off), I don't know of any other practical cure for it. So one can only imagine what astronauts go through,at higher altitudes and under more pressurised circumstances :-

The Mysterious Mental Side Effects Of Travelling Into Space

If you're thousands of feet above the earth's surface, and have a glimpse of it from that altitude, then the feeling of being disconnected would be obvious. But the resultant feeling of  being insignificant, coupled with a sense of almost spiritual awakening, can be quite overwhelming.  Many famous astronauts have reported this, including Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, and for all our wanting to live on the moon and on mars ( there are programs being developed right now to populate both, according to various articles), our natural, biological impulse is to feel connected to this planet. That's where our happiness tends to lie, and that's where the phrase 'feeling grounded' and variations of therein, make sense.

As much as we enjoy the travel aspect, wether as passengers or even flying the craft as children ( kites) or adults ( pilots of planes, etc), we need that sense of belonging to terra firma. You can touch the ground, wherever it may be, and it feels like home.

On the subject of feeling happy without feeling disconnected :-

Want Long-Term Happiness? Make Sure You’re Looking In the Right Place!

In effect, our short term thrills such as those which are found in food, shopping, sex, drugs and alcohol, won't last much longer than the time taken to participate in them. Our long term happiness is found in compassionate acts, such as charity related acts and service to others. It's all about balance and in my view , too much of one and not enough of the other can tilt your balance out which brings on a more jaded attitude and all that entails.

On a personal note, I enjoy helping charities out when I can and do it without any recourse to self promotion, which is something I feel is the way to do things. But not everyone can or will do that. Helping out in this way also shouldn't entail moving into the realms of martyrdom or similar, which is what people can frame it as. As already mentioned, unless you are particularly inclined to devote a lifetime to whatever cause it is you are pursuing for the sake of the greater good ( and history does have some trully benevolent saints, both male and female), then even a little can go a long way.

Speaking of which :-

Greatest Survival Food of All Time

Unsurprisingly, chocolate, or rather dark chocolate, comes top of the list. Some of the items on this list wouldn't be my first choice to pack in a survival kit ( lard??), but many of them would most likely survive a lengthy soujourn in a backpack in all sorts of environments. That can of tuna would keep going on land, in sea, on sand and even in the arctic.

On that note, it's time for a break . If I was in america, it would have been a coffee and a donut, preferably with a filling of some sort. For some reason, this evokes a memory of New York, which I miss dearly and reminisce about more often than not.

But I'm not in NYC, so it's a steaming cup of earl grey and a chocolate bar to give it some company. I have several to chose from; that's pre-planning for you, in the guise of a regular item on the shopping list.
And thankfully, as survival isn't an issue, I can savour it for as long as it takes to finish the tea.

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