Let’s just get one thing out of the way – beds are boring. They just are.
We spent on average 8 hours a day in our beds – that’s a full third of our entire life – just lying around on the same boring sheets, drooling on the same dull pillow, hugging the same tedious teddy bear.
Now as much as it pains me to say – we all have to sleep. It is an unavoidable weakness we all share as puny humans. But when and where we sleep doesn’t have to be so dull does it? Imagine waking up to a different view for a change.
That is after all part of why we travel. But what I am proposing is not just exchanging a bed in one country for one in another. No, I am proposing a sleep revolution. That as travellers we embrace the lost art of the outdoor snooze.
Below are just 4 ways we can take our nap time on the road.
Forget the hostel or hotel, they look the same across the world. Strap a tent to your backpack instead.
Camping is truly one of the greatest pleasures on earth. Getting away from people and into nature is often almost spiritual. It doesn’t take me long to feel recharged and de-stressed when I spend time in the woods or up a mountain.
And that feeling of waking up and unzipping the tent to a morning view you have never seen before can’t be beaten.
While a big part of the joy of camping is in leaving behind the trappings of modern life, there is no reason your body has to suffer just because you are not sleeping in a bed. There are some great choices for things to sleep on when camping, whether you are glamping or going a little bit more extreme.
Camping has actually been proven to be good for your health. And considering the speed cities are growing we all better go camping soon before there is no countryside left to wonder at.
Get the Bivy bag out
Now if camping and having to set up a tent smacks of a little bit too much hard work for you, then why not get a bivy bag.
Originally designed for use by the army, bivy bags are super lightweight alternatives to tents. They are basically just a specially designed bag which cover you and your sleeping bag. Simple as that.
They also have the benefit of being able to be set up far faster than tents, useful in adverse weather conditions.
Bivvies are great for shorter hikes, maybe of just one or two nights. And nothing makes you feel closer to nature than lying looking up at the stars with nothing, not even the thin fabric of a tent, between you and and a view of night’s sky.
Hang up a hammock
Ah, hammocks. Hammocks are my favourite. So simple but so much fun. All you need are two trees – or basically two of anything strong enough to hold your weight – and you are good to go. They are cheap to buy and roll up really quite small.
So, if you are heading to the beach why not forget the bungalow or the expensive hotel room and take a hammock instead. It will be a damn-sight cheaper, far more of an adventure and chances are you will be able to find a spot a lot closer to the water.
Top tip: If you are anywhere remotely tropical, take a mosquito net with you to drape over the hammock. It will save you a lot of itching in the morning!
Go Japanese and sleep in public
When the Japanese put their mind to do something they usually do it well. And public napping is no exception.
A work culture of long hours and long commutes has led Japan to become one of the most sleep-indebted countries on earth, their solution – the art of the public nap.
Across Japan it is not uncommon to see people asleep on buses, trains, benches, in meetings and sometimes just slumped on a step in the street.
So common is the practice it has been given its own name – inemuri – which roughly translates as “to be asleep while present”.
Thankfully for public nappers in Japan there is no taboo attached to inemuri, quite the opposite in fact, sleeping in public is rather taken as a sign of dedication,
I think this is something we can all take inspiration from – no, not the long hours and long commutes – and we shouldn’t see people napping in public as doing something wrong. It should be embraced. Benches are after all just slightly firm beds.
So there we have it – four ways you can say goodbye to the boring bed. Join me on my sleep revolution, let us take to the hills and the streets and change the way we nap. Let us all sleep our way to a more interesting life.