Adventure travel often leads to some rather interesting places to sleep. In 21 months of travel, we slept on more modes of transportation than I care to admit- more inexpensive small hotels than you can imagine and inside more mosquito nets than I ever dreamed, even when I wanted to be a fairy princess. To travel you have to be a good sleeper – you have to be willing to make an adventure out of sleeping under an open sky, to see the silver lining of a noisy hostel dorm and be willing to give up a few creature comforts for a few amazing sunrises. If you aren’t a good sleeper, give it a few days on the road and you’ll be snoozing like the best of them!
Here are our favorite “nights” of sleep from our journey around the world:
The Good Sleep
It’s hard to narrow it down to just one night. The best night of sleep I had on the whole trip was probably in Buenos Aires, in an apartment Danny’s parents rented – I was horribly sick and needed the creature comforts of home. But the most memorable night of sleep? I’d have to say it was camping in South Africa’s Kalahari National Park listening to the lions roar throughout the night. Earlier in the day they had wandered within a few meters of the camp’s electric fence while Danny was cooking dinner – a crazy experience to say the least. Drifting off to sleep in the middle of nowhere under an African sky listening to lions, it was like a surreal dream. I won’t say I wasn’t a bit anxious about the whole thing, but I slept surprisingly well and it’s a night of sleep I’ll never forget.
Have you ever been in a flooded tent? When we pulled into the Malealea Lodge in Lesotho we set up our tent in an area that looked safe from water. The caretaker told us we’d be find in water – perhaps it was a question lost in translation or perhaps the downpour was just unusual- but at some point in the night it began to rain. A few drops turned into buckets, and we awoke soaked from the ground up. We’ve probably camped hundreds of nights out in the woods, never have I ever woken up to inches of rain inside the tent. Scrambling to a) get out of the tent and b) to save our worldly possessions we looked like a 1930s comedy act. The two stooges. Chalk it up to being half asleep, but we managed to get out of the tent, get into a small unlocked rondavel and crawl into two warm, dry beds. In the morning we dried everything out on the grass- you can bet we didn’t stake up there the next night.
The Ugly Sleep
If you thing something small can’t have a big impact, think about the mosquito. Our night in Harar, Ethiopia will forever be the worst night of sleep in my life. Earlier in the evening Danny had suffered from some digestion issues that left him feverish, shaking and slightly delirious. With the water out at the hotel, I spent the evening running buckets of water back and forth from our room to the cistern in order to force flush the toilet. Without our mosquito net and first aid kit, we had broken the two rules of backcountry camping – we had left our survival gear behind. Needless to say, Danny spent the night feverishly running to the bathroom to kill all assortment of bugs when the lights turned on, only to return to bed to be bothered by mosquitoes. Zipping around the room all night it felt like we were at war and Danny was the walking wounded. Getting up for a 3am is generally not easy, but that morning we were all too happy to evacuate and get out of Harar.
Ever had a truly memorably night of sleep on the road? What about a bad? Ever suffered an ugly night of sleep? Make us feel better about our GBU, share yours!