I am energized by my day. Any residual pain from the challenges of travel have been mitigated by rest, exercise, meditation and lots of medication.
If I could to give only one argument in favor of acceleration, it would be our capacity to improve medicine. I’d like to find a cure to my ankylosis personally, but it’s bigger than all that. I believe we should do everything we can to improve the health and well being of humanity.
I do so much to balance my own health and wellbeing just so I can keep working and contributing to the startups I love so much. Often I miss so much of life that others take for granted like socializing together. Hobbies, socializing and much of the tapestry of living together is off limits to me as energy budget is too high.
I’d like more capacity in life so I can chose not only to work, but to go to meetups, dinners and whatever else folks get up to in their leisure and community hours.
I am not one for FOMO while I’m in bed recovering, but on the occasional day where I get to do leisure activities I am reminded that I could have more of life if we agreed to prioritize the acceleration of medicine. My energy budget is only limited by the state of our healthcare.
On that note I’ll be at an e/acc meetup tonight in San Francisco. If you think you see me do please come up and say hello. I’d love to meet you. I’ll be wearing the leopard dress I have come to think of as the “spot me in the wild” outfit as well as three distinct wearables.
For the last three days I’ve been experiencing a significant dip in energy and function in the later afternoon around 4pm.
Not only am I fatigued, but I seem to have some sort of either allergic response or potentially common cold symptoms. It’s a little unclear as I don’t have consistent symptoms nor do I have a fever.
Some of it is probably jet lag as I returned home to Montana after a month in Europe over the weekend. I haven’t quite recovered my sleep deficit as I am pushing very hard on my workload as well.
I tried doing a bit of polyphasic sleeping today to see if it might help abate the intensity of the dip. The idea behind polyphasic sleep is to get your required 7-8 hours not in one monophasic chunk at night but across your own natural energetic ebbs and flows.
I did a packed morning of work and meetings and then slept between the hours of 3-5pm. I do feel better having been asleep during the dip but I could feel the symptoms rising while in the light sleep mode. I wasn’t able to fall into deep or REM sleep.
Whatever is happening I clearly need more rest. My attempts at diagnosis of any other symptoms and their proximal causes are unlikely to matter if I’m not getting adequate rest. In which case, I’ll try to sleep more at night and add in some naps till it passes.
The real challenge wasn’t in my sights yet. I did a layover in Dulles before heading to Chicago O’Hare for a final direct to Bozeman Montana. When I got to O’Hare, I had all the bags for a five week trip in Europe on my person.
I attempted to walk to the airport shuttle area only to get lost inside a parking garage. Finally I made it into what looked like a side alley for the shuttles and busses. And proceeded to wait for an hour for the Hyatt bus. Sunk cost fallacy caught up with me fast as I didn’t want you to lug my bags back to find a taxi half a mile away. I was already at 11000 steps, exhausted and half mad from 15 hours of transit.
I was in my own 9th circle. Middle management road warriors of a certain age fighting for an airport shuttle to a Hyatt Regency 30 minutes late. One lady blamed the extra traffic on “the immigrants” while a regional sales director discussed selling mortgage products to Wells Fargo wealth managers during the run up to the global financial crisis.
The woman who sold mortgage products to wealth manager began discussing her “hot mess labradoodle named Karma” and I swear this is not a joke.
She told her companion you can tell things are bad as her trip to Big Sky is too expensive this year. That I don’t lose it on her in that moment is an act of self control.
The delay at the shuttle was so long the line ended up being 50 deep to actually check in at the vast conference hotel.
And what a display of American exceptionalism. Not only was there a pharma conference (that’s where the mortgage product woman was headed as sales is sales) but there was also a regional dance cheer competition for tween girls and a field hockey & lacrosse competition for boys.
The demographics of this odd mix did explain why there are dozens of “not yet rich enough for ozempic but rich enough for Little Miss Subshine’s glitter and a stay at the Hyatt.” White obese stage mothers who spend too much at Ulta were heavily represented. Blessedly the lacrosse and field hockey boys were just noisy.
My flight touched down at 7pm. It’s now 9pm and I am finally checked into my room. I pulled the disability card with my ankylosis & begged a guy to get me a keycard. Tried to tip him $40. He wouldn’t take it. Compromised as I insisted on $20.
We discussed the mortgage products sales lady & how he didnt think his generation would ever own a home. He was a zoomer. He’s probably right.
As I finally gave up on the day, laying in bed I can hear two kids kid above me practicing catching and tossing with their lacrosse sticks Thwack and release. Over & over. Thankfully I had ear plugs. Only one three hour flight left to get me home to Montana.
I’ve begun the twenty four hour process of getting home from Europe. The “before times” of simple direct flights from one major transcontinental hub to another appears to be over for me. Regional jumpers here I come.
I switched up my return travel to America once I changed my itinerary to include Amsterdam. This made booking the long leg travel leg of my return flight modestly easier. Amsterdam is a major hub in a way that Tallinn isn’t.
But finding a path that gets me to Montana takes some doing. I will arrive arrive in America and then go on to another hub which will then get me to Montana the next morning. It will involve an overnight in an airport hotel in lucky me.
Schiphol is also the of the worst airports I’ve ever had to navigate. It was packed in every instance from checking bags to airport security lines. It had an odd habit of listing airports logos together within a shared affiliate group. So within an Alliance group so Lufthansa and United were listed together but when I got to the check in at Terminal 1 counter 1 they said I had to go to the actual United individual desk three “terminals down.” At Terminal 3 counter 26. Then United accidentally checked my bag to a wrong flight but I thankfully caught it and moved it by hand to the baggage guy.
I proceed to a mass of humanity with no extra clearance shortcuts or priority. It was a blind crowd teaming and shoving get through security. That took almost an hour and a half even with a few sneaky jumps. And it was another 20 minutes in passport control.
It was such a schlep then to my E gate from I didn’t even try to make it to the lounge for coffee as it would have hindered boarding. Mind you I arrived two and a half hours ahead of time and got to my gate with barely 10 minutes to spare on boarding.
The bright side is a couple in business class wanted to be seated together so I got moved to the L window line on the 787 Dreamliner so the end of the mad “start stop” dash of a poorly run airport was met with a fantastic seat.
There are three empty seats in business class. A friend of mine’s name was called. I wondered if it was the same guy or just a common name. Turns out it was him missing the flight. So lucky me that I made the gauntlet as others did not.
I had the good fortune of attending a dinner last night with a group of very interesting people. I particularly enjoy dinner parties as a cultural gathering as I enjoy conversation.
It was a misty atmospheric evening with on-and-off rain in Amsterdam so I decided to take a long walk before the dinner to work up an appetite.
Normally I’d dress for a dinner party with heels and a cocktail dress but wet cobblestone streets made required boots with traction. Styling clunky flat walking boots with a flowing long black witchy dress felt right for Halloween. I had a piece of art deco costume jewelry to add a bit more formality to the whole affair.
I’ve got no idea if I pulled off the styling of challenge of an outfit for a Lindy walk and a dinner party but I enjoyed the challenge. There is a satisfaction in combining utility and social decorum in styling.
I wasn’t entirely prepared for the dinner to go till almost midnight or I might have passed on a long meandering walk beforehand. The conversation flowed until the restaurant begged us to let them close.
I gather most of the group continued on into the wee hours afterwards but my energy was flagging so I said my goodbyes and walked back to my hotel. It was long past my bedtime.
When I travel I do my best to maintain a steady routine for my health. I find it much easier to manage stressors to my physical body, and my autonomic nervous system, if I get adequate sleep, nutrition, and restorative activities.
I’m the sort of person who travels with an organizer of supplements & vitamins, multiple biomarker trackers (my Apple Watch & Whoop) and helpful devices (Apollo Neuro Band, percussion massager, noise canceling headphones) to keep myself “in the green” no matter how much stress I throw at myself.
And I put myself under some fairly significant strain over the last week as I traveled by boat and airplane through four countries in four days. As you can see from my Whoop data traveling induces more strain than rest days or work days.
I was careful today to rest after the conference so I’d be able to make use of the remainder of my time in Amsterdam. And my biomarkers seem to agree. My Welltory saw my heart rate variability fully in the green this afternoon.
I’m just hoping that my triple failure mode method of packing will see me through. I had a flight attendant make a grab at my carry on bag on my flight from Tallinn to Copenhagen for a gate check. I didn’t succeed but thankfully it made it to Denmark.
On the next leg, Copenhagen to Amsterdam, the flight was oversold. Despite a $150 payment to take a flight to Brussels and then a free train ticket, there were no takers. So now I’m watching folks fight over the overhead storage. Luckily I was at the front of the line so missed most of the ugly skirmishes between bad packers and overly entitled travelers.
I’m excited for my week in Amsterdam. Spending an afternoon getting from one puddle jumper to another will be worth it. Even if the entire travel experience is the same old annoyances.
I rarely let myself get too tired from excessive physical exertion. It’s a lingering fear with my ankylosis is that if I overdo it with fun activities like exercise, travel, or even too much time socializing upright that I’ll end up trapped in bed from inflammation and pain.
I pushed myself to my limits in the last forty eight hours by deciding to make a quick trip to Helsinki from Tallinn that I’d wanted to take over my birthday two weeks ago. I changed my schedule to head to Amsterdam next week for a work conference (hit me up if you are in Amsterdam) so I was running out of time to see more of the eastern Nordic and Baltics.
I packed it into a tight trip as I can more easily run on an adrenaline and cortisol hormonal spike if I know I have a day to sleep it off. Which is largely what I did today. I did laundry, tidied up my Airbnb, and began a repacking process to make sure I could handle multiple airports. I find packing and travel stressful so I fit in a nap in the afternoon.
Blissfully it’s snowing in Tallinn so it was a nice day to be inside preoccupied with chores and resting. I’ll be sad to leave the town. I didn’t accomplish all I set out to do but I enjoyed it immensely.
I spent the night in Helsinki after taking the ferry from Tallinn. Amusingly the hotel heavily advertised having once been a prison. The receptionist informed me that I stayed in a suite that would have been home to seven juveniles. A Finnish prison is apparently an ideal boutique hotel for millenials and is part of the Marriot telegraph family.
In thoroughly international manner, I ordered Indian from Wolt. The hotels breakfast buffet was inside another set of cells in the basement. Nothing like eating chia pudding contemplating prison.
I was able to walk through several intersecting islands from Katajanokka through to Market area to the Esplanade and ended up next to a brutalist train station.
Naturally I made a stop at the Moomin store to pick up half a dozen postcards and trinkets as I’m a huge man of the children’s series by Finnish author Tove Jansen. I am a Little My person. Think of it as a Nordic version of picking which Winnie the Pooh character suits your personality.
I ended my day at the Helsinki Port on the excellent ferry. I may have overdone it a bit by booking a cabin but I am comfortably paying down on a bed while I write my post for the day. It’s probably best to buy the business lounge tickets as it has an excellent meal service but for a once in a lifetime trip it’s pretty lovely to write from bed in your own cabin on a boat. It’s like being transported to another era.
I am in a pocket of personal heaven that I did not know existed until just now. I’m on the Tallinnk ferry to Helsinki. It’s just before sunset and briskly cold. The wind is whipping small white caps as we exit the bay.
I had not expected the serene calm that overtook me. The many shades of grey and blue where the sea meets the horizon’s soothe my autonomic nervous system. Watching the small waves crest as we roll ever so gently sends me into parasympathetic. I feel cozy.
I decided at the last moment to go to Helsinki for a day. I wanted to visit for my birthday but didn’t feel well enough. Since actions define who you are, I booked myself a business lounge ticket on Tallinnk ferry. It’s fifty miles and about two hours.
I have a lounge chair at the very front of the ferry. It’s as large as a cruise ship and feels as smooth. It’s clearly a premium experience. I paid 60 euro for the privilege and was rewarded with an excellent dinner of poached trout and chocolate mouse. I have a lingonberry juice in a proper glass.
We are passing other ferries with some regularity. There are routes to every imaginable Nordic destination. There is even a ferry to St. Petersburg. Google maps lists out the routes as I peel out of Tallinn Bay. Twitter mutuals note that the Nordic ferry system is the envy of the world. And I can see why. What a pleasurable way to travel.
I feel lulled into a peace I hadn’t considered possible with travel. My Bose headphones are playing Endel’s AI generated relaxation music. I have my Apollo Neuro set to relax. And I have an hour or so to contemplate the beauty of the ocean. If you ever find yourself with the opportunity to take one of these ferries do it.