Sleeping On Sofas And Floors

Derek Everything Else 28 Comments


At some point, almost all of us have had to ask (or perhaps beg) a family member or a friend to open their homes and allow us to crash on their sofa for a night or two. Maybe we’re coming into town for a wedding or a sporting event or just to visit some old pals, and we don’t really want to dish out big bucks for a hotel room. All we need is a bit of space where we can lay our heads and so we simply turn to those we know.

Given the nature of my nomadic lifestyle, I’ve been forced to ask for such favors quite often, especially during my yearly trips home to the USA. I don’t exactly have my own house or apartment in this country and as a result, my comfort level during every night I spend here depends solely on the hospitality of others.

And no more has this been evident than during the past three weeks that I’ve spent visiting family and friends. After finding flights to New York, I spent 21 days in that city, as well as in Boston, where I’ve slept in 9 different places, and I’m not talking about 9 different bedrooms or even 9 different beds. When I use the word ‘places’, I refer to any spot where someone has kindly allowed me to sleep, and on this trip, those spots have included the following:

  • Rock hard, queen-size bed
  • Child-sized trundle bed
  • Giant chair that Bruce Willis once used
  • Top bed of a child’s bunk bed
  • Several blankets piled up on a hardwood floor
  • Twenty-year-old, dead bee-infested, pull-out sofa bed
  • Extra long, foul-smelling couch
  • Super short, foul-smelling couch
  • Floor space on a semi-enclosed front porch

Every few days during this stretch, I packed my backpack and moved on to the next location, from bed to sofa, chair to floor and closet to bathtub. Ok, I didn’t really sleep in a bathtub, but if that was my only option, I would have gladly taken it.

In fact, no matter where I end up sleeping, you’ll never hear me complaining. Quite the opposite, I’m truly thankful for everyone who continues, year after year, to offer me a place to crash whenever I’m passing through. I know it’s not easy to have someone show up with their backpack, spread their belongings all over the place and turn a normally spotless hallway into a messy closet.

And that’s why I take no offense when some of you, over the years, have only been able to offer me a corner of your kitchen floor (I did appreciate the thorough mopping before I arrived by the way) or a faulty inflatable mattress that I had to blow up twelve times during the night. I’m not even mad at my friend who handed me two old towels and told me I could use those as blankets while sleeping under the dining room table. And to the friend who once gave me a sleeping bag and instructed me to sleep on the grass in his backyard, I hold no grudge, even after you accidentally locked me out of the house that night while I proceeded to get drenched during a rain shower.

I have no right to be upset. After all, I’m the one asking for charity.

So, to all of you who, especially over the past three weeks, have allowed me to invade your lives, who have allowed me to eat your cereal (even if you limited me to 1.5 cups of Honey Bunches & Oats and a half cup of milk per day) and who have allowed me to occasionally bathe, I thank you with all of my heart. Without your hospitality, I might have found myself sleeping on a small strip of grass behind a dumpster overflowing with trash, which is exactly what happened when a last minute miscommunication with a friend in Honolulu once left me stranded with nowhere else to go.

Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone for opening your doors, sharing your shampoo and fluffing your pillows, all so that I could enjoy a decent night’s sleep!


How about you? Are you used to sleeping on other people’s sofas, beds or floors when you’re traveling around?

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Comments 28

  1. gabriela thomae

    Wow, that’s an awesome experience, i once slept for almost a week in the floor too in paris with some friends and my roomates, it’s was cold, and of course my friends had school so they wook up at 6 am turn on all the lights and the noise eating breakfast and stuff, of course me and my 2 gfs didn’t had any keys so we would go all day trying to see all the atractive places in Paris, sometimes really tired waiting for them in the streeth cause they were eating dinner or out with friends, it’s rough sometimes but i love the experience!! and i love traveling too i think i have read all of your blog in the last hour hahahaha, you’re such an inspiration… keep posting =) oh and i’m from México. =)

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  3. Jennifer Barry

    Wow, I would be annoyed to be locked out in the rain! I think my days of sleeping on the floor are over with my back, but I remember staying over at friends about 7 years ago on a leaky air mattress on the floor in Boston in the winter. They only had one sheet and no blankets, so my husband and I huddled under my parka attempting to keep warm. We still laugh about that.

    1. Earl

      Hey Jennifer – That sleeping experience sounds quite rough. Having grown up in Boston, I’m familiar with those winters and even when you have a bed and plenty of blankets, it’s still not too enjoyable. But at least you had someone to help you keep you warm!

  4. Dina

    Wow Earl, never thought sleeping location in people’s place could be vary like that! Very entertaining stories, especially the on the grass part and got locked out when raining.

    When I was in school, sometimes we got group tasks that made us have to stay a night in a schoolmate house, doing all-nighter. Mostly happen during “student orientation week”. The host will usually kindly spread newspapers or some sarongs on the ground, and we would just sleeping piling up on it. Not my favourite bed arrangement, especially when my head is too close to a pair of smelly socks, but yes, we appreciate the hospitality by our friend and the parents that let the house to be used by us.
    .-= Dina´s last blog ..Top 3 Temples by Travelers Around the World =-.

    1. Earl

      A bed of newspapers next to smelly socks? That’s a new one for me! Suddenly my bed behind the dumpster doesn’t sound so bad!!

  5. Shannon OD

    Love this piece – it’s so true that the embarrassment from some of my friends is out of place. We ask for charity as nomads and gladly take what is given – as much as I love when they have a spare bedroom (what a treat) that spot on the floor by the puppies is so welcome! 🙂

    1. Earl

      My friends seem to be a little behind in the guest room category! But I certainly wouldn’t turn down an opportunity to exchange a lumpy sofa for an actual bed.

  6. Osborne

    Howdy Earl –

    I finally internet (sometimes) again. I fully understand your sleeping conditions. I recently had to crash with various people for about two weeks until I got to leave for my current short time job in PA (they cover room and board). If I ever end up having a place somewhere you are more than welcome to take over a couch/floor space. Have fun for the rest of your stay in the US.

    Osborne

    1. Earl

      Thanks Osborne, much appreciated! Glad to you see you back online and I hope that the job in Pennsylvania has been working out well for you!

    1. Earl

      That is me in the photo. I figured I would put it on my blog before my friends started putting it on the internet themselves. Embarrassing myself doesn’t seem as bad!

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    1. Earl

      That’s funny JR because I did start that night in Ala Moana Beach Park! But after getting woken up and drenched by the sprinkler system a few times, I decided to head down a small street where I found the grass behind a dumpster. If you can avoid the sprinklers though, that park is perhaps one of the best ‘free’ places to sleep in the world. It’s hard to beat the coast of Oahu!

    1. Earl

      Hey Moon, it’s wonderful to hear from you again!

      And you’re right, saving money on accommodation while I’m traveling around the US does help me extend my international adventures. That’s why I’m so thankful for any type of ‘bed’ that someone offers me!

    1. Earl

      Hey Andi – I don’t mind the random sleeping arrangements and actually, the best nights I had up north were the ones I spent on the extra short sofa where my arms and legs were dangling over the edge! I think during these hectic trips home I become so exhausted from running around that I’m able to sleep anywhere…

  8. Nate

    Hey Earl – hope you’ve been doing well. Yikes!! Hopefully you don’t need a visit to a chiropractor after, what sounds like, uncomfortable sleeping arrangements.

    It is good to hear that you are able to visit so many of your friends as well as family while you’re back in the US.
    .-= Nate´s last blog ..Yoga Poses- Downward Facing Dog =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Nate, glad to see you here again!

      I don’t think I’ll need the chiropractor as these random sleeping arrangements seem to have temporarily sorted out my lower back pains! Go figure.

  9. Janet

    I think we just adapt! I’ve slept on rock hard beds before. In India, and now in Manila, Philippines. It’s basically like sleeping on the floor.. It hurts my back at first but after a couple days I sleep just fine.
    .-= Janet´s last blog ..Evolution of a Blogger =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Janet – No matter what the surface, eventually we will get used to it I guess. And I found sleeping on the floor to be more comfortable than I imagined. I sleep better on rock hard surfaces than on soft beds!

  10. Migration Mark

    Hey Earl!
    I have a lot of parallel sleeping arrangement stories, and I am also grateful for people opening their houses to me. Some people have apologized for the lack of accomodation, but I am truly thankful for anything and can sleep anywhere and be extremely happy. Keep up the random sleeping adventures!
    .-= Migration Mark´s last blog ..Kota Kinabalu’s Phenomenal Market =-.

    1. Earl

      Hey Mark – I agree that is the right attitude to have and I always try my best to avoid being a burden during any of my visits. There is never any need for anyone to apologize as I’m the one who has chosen this lifestyle after all!

      And on a side note, I met Jody from LegalNomads this past weekend and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about you and your eating adventures in Bangkok!

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