“I got no sleep on my 16-hour flight to Korea. Got a quick sleep at the hotel, and then the friends and I chose our ‘random but busy day’ to be Day 1 instead of our planned relaxation Korean spa day. 

Running yourself ragged is bad, especially when you’re neurodivergent and dealing with a time difference, new external stimuli, and a lack of access to your coping mechanisms (i.e., edibles are a no-go in most Asian countries). By the second day, I had a mini emotional breakdown over losing my travel pass loaded with basically $5 in Korean won. And then, by Day 4, my sleep-deprived friend raised her voice at me in a public area, and the overstimulation of it all led to a full-blown panic attack. 

If you’re traveling abroad with a major time difference, make a plan, try to stick with it, and take time to slow down at the beginning — not the end — because it takes a toll on you or someone in your group. 

It was a great trip, but I have regrets. I regret that we ran out of time to do our Korean spa day. Once we decided to push it back, it fucked everything up, and we took out the one day we set aside to actually breathe and enjoy things, which would’ve made the other days probably more enjoyable if we had been refreshed instead of running on fumes.”