Last week, while flying from Perth to Singapore, en route to Thailand, I randomly decided to try and count the number of beds that I have slept in over the years. And it didn’t take long for me to become obsessed with trying to reach a semi-accurate ballpark figure. First, I began ticking off the beds I’ve slept in over the past 11 years since my current travel adventure began and I did so by tracing over every country, city and village I’ve ever visited as meticulously as possible. The next step was to begin adding up the beds that I slept in during my high school and university years by trying to recall my whereabouts at all times during that period of my life.
The task was difficult and I carried on for over three hours, right up until I found myself unable to remember any more beds for twenty straight minutes. Then, I looked down at my piece of paper full of tick marks and began doing the math until I reached a total.
And the total? 583.
At first glance, that doesn’t seem like such a big number. But when I consider that I slept in 583 beds over an 18 year period (6570 days), that averages out to one bed every 11.27 days since I began high school. And I went to the same high school for all four years, living in only one house at the time as well.
So after looking at the total number of beds this way, I suddenly find it disturbing. Surely sleeping in a different bed every 11.27 days cannot be healthy for one’s body and mind, especially when half of those beds were in third world hotels and guesthouses, or in other words, more closely resembled a piece of sand paper than a mattress.
A BED OF MY OWN
Admittedly, one of the major downsides of this lifestyle is not having my very own bed. Knowing that I will have a good night’s sleep on a comfortable mattress is unfortunately only something I can dream about, as I lie awake on a dirty mattress made of towel scraps and filled with what feels like steel shavings. Oh how I wish I could carry around a bed of my choosing at all times, everywhere I go, so that every day on the road ends with a blissful rest.
Instead, I continue gambling, never knowing what I’m going to get and how I’m going to sleep. And while I’m still tough enough to handle sleeping on a piece of plywood covered with cloth for a night, or maybe two, long gone are the days when I could spend a week or more sleeping on such a ‘mattress’ in order to save a few bucks while declaring my loyalty to that traveler’s concept of adventure!
This is actually a large part of why I have begun to slow down my travels over the past couple of years. Instead of being constantly on the go, I now prefer to spend several months per year staying in one location so that I can find a place with a good bed that I can sleep in every night, allowing me to achieve that zen-like state of mind that a consistent good night’s sleep can provide.
I want to wake up with a wet, drool-soaked pillow more often! Unfortunately, with my nomadic lifestyle and my absurd rate of sleeping in a new bed every 11.27 days, my craving for such a luxury remains unsatisfied most of the time.
Let’s hear your numbers! How many beds have you slept in? Too many to count or enough to count on one hand?