My Tent In Thailand

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls – Sleep, Or Lack There Of

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

How The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls

Many people have asked me how I could just leave my job and seemingly travel perpetually. How can I afford it? How do you find places to stay for free all the time? How do you find places to volunteer? All questions I’ve received by email, and now I’m sharing the secrets in a series of posts about how The Happy Nomad Tour Rolls and what things are like behind the scenes.

Sleep

I’m tired. It’s a fact of life for me on The Happy Nomad Tour. In some places I’ve been more tired than others. Generally I can’t sleep well on this trip.

Why?

Sleeping On The Floor In The Philippines

Sleeping On The Floor In The Philippines

I’m a light sleeper. I grew up sleeping in silence and never really developed the skill of sleeping with noise. In college I finally adopted the use of ear plugs to minimize sleep disturbance, but this probably only served to make me a more sensitive sleeper in the long run. Still, I use ear plugs today as well as a mask to simultaneously help me sleep and to give my sleep routine one element of constancy in my nomadic life.

So far I have been able to sleep in quiet conditions in very few places. My inability to sleep well was also grounds for raucous laughter in El Salvador. It was a very rural place and where I learned that roosters don’t just crow at sunrise. They crow whenever they feel like it, and prefer to crow all night when stationed outside my window.

A Hammock In Colombia

A Hammock In Colombia

In other places I have had to sleep on the floor. It’s possible to sleep on the floor in relative comfort, but with my bony body I often end up in positions that are uncomfortable through normal tossing and turning.

In some places it’s been horribly hot, others had mosquitoes from hell. Some places had bugs that seemed out of this world that freaked me out a bit, including bed bugs.

Oh, and then there are the bus/train rides.. the long, never-ending bus/train rides. From landslides with diarrhea, to crossing northern India over 30 hours, to hitting rock bottom in an Indian train, I’ve had my fair share of long, overnight journeys. Needless to say, I don’t really sleep well on buses, planes, trains, boats, or anything that moves.

My Tent In Thailand

My Tent In Thailand

Apart from all these things, there is just that feeling of “home” I don’t have. Don’t get me wrong.. I feel at home on the road and I am comfortable sleeping in new beds all the time.

I love what I do, but all this lack of sleep probably contributes to me getting sick about once a month. If anyone knows any sleep techniques I could try to sleep more soundly, please share them in the comments below!

6 replies
  1. Maria
    Maria says:

    Sleep tricks… You need to slow your mind and relax in order to sleep well. Try any of these an hour before “bed time”:

    *Meditating or focused breathing
    *Light workout
    *Reading (preferably from paper as opposed to an electronic device)
    *Journaling or notes (w/pen and paper as opposed to an electronic format)
    *Eating or drinking some sort of dairy (Milk, yogurt)
    *Melatonin
    *Glass of wine

    Reply
  2. Britany
    Britany says:

    Glass or two of wine usually works for me — but then again, I sleep like a rock. Except on buses. They’re the worst! This comment is pretty unhelpful, huh? Hope someone else has better advice! 🙂

    Reply
    • Adam Pervez
      Adam Pervez says:

      Surprisingly, alcohol just increases my chances of having to pee in the middle of the night, and if I drink too much I can’t sleep at all. It has the opposite effect on me that it’s supposed to, unfortunately!

      Reply
  3. Owen Lipsett
    Owen Lipsett says:

    Nice post Adam! I really appreciate your candor – the fact you’ve done all this travel on relatively little sleep is all the more impressive. I’m afraid I’m a light sleeper myself so I don’t have many tips to offer, but your experience gives me great hope that it’s possible to do some pretty strenuous things while running on empty.

    I hope you’re getting some nice sleep in Northern Cyprus! 🙂

    Reply
    • Adam Pervez
      Adam Pervez says:

      Yes, I’m sleeping well in North Cyprus 🙂

      In my previous life working in the oil industry I routinely went 24-48 hours without sleep due to the nature of the job. That was worse, so I guess I am well prepared for this kind of lifestyle. But maybe since I’m older and travel is more stressful in some ways, it takes a heavier toll.

      Reply

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