The clock on my computer is staring back at me, screaming, “GO TO BED!” in its non-threatening, tiny white font.
And yet, I am nowhere near tired.
Welcome to the road-trip life, nine time zones away.
I have officially arrived in Sochi, Russia, home of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Over the next few weeks, I will cover the Games for my current station, WXIA-TV/11Alive in Atlanta, as well as stations and newspapers across the country owned by our parent company, Gannett.
(As for what exactly I will be doing, that will be the subject of an entry in the near future.)
This is a truly exciting opportunity, one that I cannot wait to tackle.
But first, somehow, I have to get my body right.
WXIA photographer Jon Samuels and I departed from Atlanta Saturday evening; we arrived in Sochi three flights and 18 hours later. Technically, we got here Sunday evening, but I still felt like I was still living in the previous day, as if I was experiencing one super-long, mostly plane-bound day.
Six hours later, I have completely lost my time frame of reference. It’s dark; I’m not tired; I need to be awake in five hours; and I know, at some point, my body is going to re-synchronize with my mind and tell it to go to bed.
But not yet.
For now, I feel like I am stuck in some sort of time purgatory — no longer on Eastern Standard Time, but not yet on Sochi time.
In a way, though, this is a good thing. I honestly have not spent enough time truly letting this assignment — and this opportunity — sink in.
Most of my time this past week was spent covering the two-inch snowstorm that brought metro Atlanta to a day-long standstill. I worked 17 hours Tuesday, standing on the 17th Street Bridge for nearly 12 of them, recounting the events of one of the most surreal news stories of my life. I spent most of the next two days reporting and recovering, finally receiving a full day Friday to take care of a mile-long to-do list for Sochi.
That to-do list extended into Saturday and left me exhausted for my flights. I actually slept quite a bit, which is partially I feel wide awake now.
But I finally, now, feel the magnitude of this event.
I am back at the Olympics, which I so enjoyed four years ago, working with extremely talented journalists on one of the biggest, most storied, most captivating sporting events in the world.
I am in Russia, which is much further from home than any of my previous work destinations.
I get to share my stories and observations with metro Atlanta, stations across the United States, and people across the world.
After realizing all that, I can finally say this:
I am ready to roll.
First, I just need some sleep.
FOR MORE ON MY OLYMPICS JOURNEY: Preparing for Sochi, remembering Vancouver
FOR MORE ON THE ATHLETES: A tale of two Atlanta bobsledders
FOLLOW THE TELLING THE STORY BLOG ON TWITTER!
SUBSCRIBE TO THE TELLING THE STORY PODCAST ON ITUNES!
Matt Pearl is the author of the Telling the Story blog and podcast. Feel free to comment below or e-mail Matt at firstname.lastname@example.org.