I’m a lousy backpacker because: I like my sleep

You know that whole philosophy of ‘you can sleep when you’re dead’ that does on the rounds online when people are trying to inspire you to get the most out of your day?  Yeah, well if I don’t sleep, you will wish you were dead because my Gemini psycho twin sister will visit; you’ll need to stay quiet and at least 10 ft away from me at all times.  I’m not a girl that copes well with life if I’ve had less than 6 hours sleep.

Sure, I’m young enough to do it and if absolutely necessary I’ll do it for a flight layover but partying into the early morning and then getting up for work the next day?  No. NO. FREAKING. WAY.

Believe it or not, scientists have never come up with a proven theory of why we actually need sleep, we just know that our bodies do or we’re unable to function throughout the day.  We’ve all proven the theory.  You’ve spent all night on the dance floor or a middle of the night/morning stuck in an airport and we’re unable to think nevermind talk.

I once had a layover in Bangkok Airport; I had arrived at 3am and my flight out wasn’t due until 7am.  I got talking to a family from America and when they asked me where I was flying to, it took me 30 seconds to even remember when I was, nevermind where I was flying to!

And let’s be clear; my love of sleep has nothing to do with the ‘beauty’ aspect; I have good use of concealer for my under-eye bags; I just can’t function well without it.  Even after a full 8 hours sleep, I’d recommend not aiming for a full conversation with me, using intellect, until approximately 90 minutes have passed since I physically got out of bed.   It’s nothing to do about needing a ‘morning coffee’; my brain just takes a little while longer to wake up than my body.  Ed Rex recently interviewed me and asked what my party trick is to show other backpackers in the hostel – my answer?  Switching off the lights in the dorm room.  I think my absolute favourite hostel would be one that has a ‘quiet dorm’ where lights and noise stop after 11pm; maybe I should start my own hostel one day? 😉

Some people survive on a routine of less hours of sleep each night and that works for them which is great but just don’t expect it to work for me.  If we’re sharing a dorm and you snore, therefore preventing my idyllic sleep, I will physically pull you out of the top bunk.  You think I’m kidding?  All I’ll say is: Cape Town dorm.  Tiny Korean woman.  She thinks she fell out of bed  😉 Mwahaha.

Sleep, for me, really is my relaxation time and if you deprive me of it, I hate everything about the next day.  Unless, my day consists of falling out of bed, brushing my teeth and spending all day on a beach on Koh Tao then that’s a very different story.  All I know is that I’m a backpacker that loves her sleep and I’m not afraid to say it.  I will leave a party early if I’m tired.  I will kick you out of my house if it’s ‘bed time’ and if I have a back to back weekend full of fun stuff, I need days to sleep it off.

Maybe I need my sleep more because I’m an introvert and therefore after using all my energy to be super sociable for a few hours, I need a bit more time to recover, I don’t know; what I do know is that at the end of the day, I really do look forward to sleeping.  I LOVE my bed and I enjoy a good night’s sleep because it relaxes me enough so that I can enjoy the next day completely.  Apparently, however, this makes me a lousy backpacker.  Because I’m not out until 4am and then up again by 8am because ‘sleep is for whimps’, I’m supposedly a boring person who doesn’t get the most of out life.  Yeah, why don’t you come back to me when you get the flu for 10 days because your body can’t handle it and I’m busy enjoying each and every day of my travels?

I’m a lousy backpacker because I like my sleep: who’s with me?!

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  1. Oh I am with you for sure. I have yet to stay in a dorm-type bed. I just can’t.

    I am actually okay with lack of sleep when it is MY choice. But when someone else wakes me up…

    I am also one of those “up at 4:00 to beat crowds at every major tourist attraction”. this often has me in bed early because I do not care for nightlight. I like my weirdo life and my weirdo time schedule.

  2. Whilst I don’t personally need a lot of sleep – and can’t ever seem to sleep before 12-1am – I understand where you’re coming from completely. Why? Because my girlfriend is exactly the same ha!

    She loves sleep so much that she even has a t-shirt that says just that! It wasn’t a problem for us when travelling though, I’d just let her have a lie-in whilst I went off exploring!

    I’m with you on the snoring in dorms though – Whilst I can deal with a little bit of it (it’s to be expected sadly), a Malaysian guy in my room in Japan ended up getting water chucked on him. I’d had enough of the earthquake at 3.45am!

  3. Why not just get a private room so you can sleep? It may cost more, but peace of mind is always worth the extra price.

  4. Hahahaha the bit about the tiny Korean lady made me chuckle heaps!
    I need serious sleep too, I literally don’t function until midday…unless there’s surf involved, but being tumbled around in water always wakes me up!

    I travelled with a guy who also woke up and did stuff from 6am…needless to say that travel relationship didn’t last long!

  5. Wow, you last ’til 11pm?? I’m dead to the world by 8pm.

  6. Liz

    I’m totally with you! I’m a little cranky when I don’t get enough sleep (6 hours at least). I missed that one chance I had to see the beautiful Bagan sunset when I was in Myanmar because I overslept haha. Who cares, I’ve seen the sunrise anyway. So I guess, I’m lousy too. 🙂

  7. I think this is why I won’t be able to do hostels anymore. Even in 4-person dorms, there was always a loud snorer, and I have enough trouble sleeping more than 5 hours a night as it is. I can function pretty well on little sleep since I naturally get so little, but I’ll leave someplace early or politely inform folks that it’s getting close to my bedtime when I need some sleep O:-)

  8. Liv

    If being plain miserable to be with when sleep-deprived is all it takes to be a lousy backpacker then that is certainly what I am too! My boyfriend knows the risk he takes if he wakes me before I’m ready!

  9. I LOVE my sleep! I can easily sleep until 2/3pm on a weekend and that’s even if I haven’t been out the night before. Unfortunately my mind seems to start working of an evening so I rarely fall asleep before 2am… thank god I work from home right? xx

  10. It’s funny, I was just thinking about the topic of sleep and how I’m too old to be staying up all night. I went to a concert last week on a weekday and it didn’t end until 11:30, and the crowd was everywhere and I didn’t get home until 1 am-2 am, then had to get up in two hours to be somewhere at 7 am. It was rough. And then this pass weekend I had a lot of catching up to do on stuff that I should have been working on during the week but didn’t get a chance and I “tried” to pull an all-nighter. Somehow I found myself taking naps on the couch and the next thing I knew it was 6 am and I didn’t get anything done! I’m not in college anymore where all-nighters are cool. not that they were cool to begin with. Actually, they were pretty awful.

  11. Ele

    If you ever start that hotel-sign me up for your regulars list.

  12. Amen to that Toni! In my late teens and early 20s I could quite easily party all night and work all day. Now at the ripe old age of 26 I’m afraid times have changed. I’m not sure whether it’s that I’m out of practice or that I just enjoy a good snooze! I’m pretty irritable at the best of times so functioning on little sleep is not good for those around me!

  13. I’m partial to both, but only because i do both day and overnight shifts at work or when Im on medical missions. Regardless I do appreciate 8-hours of sleep, and if I don’t, you betcha I’m cranky as hell!!! But there are those nights when I just want to be out and about, dancing the night away. No lousy backpackers here, to each its own!

  14. I’m so with you here Toni. I’d make a lousy backpacker because I’m an early to bed/early to rise kind of guy. Plus, I don’t respond well to sleep being disturbed by others, so unless I had a private room hostels wouldn’t work either. Still…You’ll never find me operating on 3 hours sleep…

  15. Hey Toni,

    I am the queen of no sleep!!! I love sleep, but I tend not to get any. I’m not quite sure why! But I can also sleep through anything (except planes) so I reckon I get quality over quantity! However I am very used to a hubby who likes his sleep – A LOT!!!!

    I have a hilarious vision of that poor Korean lady dazed and confused!!! Ha ha!


  16. best part of being your own boss is your own sleep sched

  17. I get so grumpy when I don’t get my eight hours of sleep every night. And even that is not really enough. 10 hours seems to be perfect, but I can only manage that at the weekends. I thought I was the only one who needs that much sleep. 🙂

  18. Jennifer – I think you make a great point; when it’s ‘your’ choice it’s entirely different but when someone else prevents you from sleeping that’s a whole other story!

    I don’t mind dorms if they have quiet people staying there, I just hate them when people think a dorm room means party time!

    Amen to your weirdo time schedule although 4am?! My god you’re a better person that me haha

  19. Carl – I love the sound of your girlfriend’s t-shirt haha I think that’s a great idea that you recognise you’re different and therefore will pop out to allow her a lie in etc!

    I know exactly what you mean about snoring. We all snort/snore a little here and here but what is it with tiny people sounding like a convoy of trucks?! It’s enough to try me insane. Good for you for the water-splashing 😀

  20. Nicole – sadly I can’t ‘always’ afford it but I’m learning to budget a little better so I can splash out 🙂

  21. Chris – I don’t think she was chuckling much in the end 😉

    A 6am traveller? Yeah forget that. I agree; that’s not a travel relationship that would last long for me either 😀

  22. Alyson – I don’t tend to last much past 10pm but I think 11pm should be the ‘universal absolute cut off time’ for dorm rooms…essentially you’re in a dorm room to sleep not party until 6am! 🙂

  23. Liz – glad you’re another one in the minimum 6 hour club 😀

    I love the fact that you don’t care you missed the sunrise…my kind of lady! 🙂

  24. Heather – I think it’s a great idea to politely tell people you’re heading to bed and need some sleep; I think most people are good people inherently; just not the backpackers determined to drink all day 😉

  25. Liv – ‘my boyfriend knows the risks’ haha classic!

  26. Scarlett – I’m exactly the same; my mind always works just at the time I’m ready to start sleeping; so infuriating and exactly why I need to make even more sure I sleep. I’m with you girlie! x

  27. Priya – Oh man that sounds like a rough weekend! haha ‘all-nighter’; what’s one of those?! 😉 I will never voluntarily miss out on sleep that’s for sure haha

  28. Charli – We won’t call it ‘ripe old age’, just an appreciation of looking after our bodies 😉

  29. Antoinette – you’re very right; each to their own. Personally, I have one ‘huge’ night out and then I need about 4 days of sleeping to recover 😉 I think the best thing is finding what works for you 🙂

  30. DJ – I definitely think that a private (or hotel) room is the way to go to ensure a good night’s sleep and I think as I travel more, I’ll be on the look out for more and more quiet places. I’m with you; I don’t do well when others disturb my sleep! 🙂

  31. Helen – See that’s where I get envious because you can sleep through almost anything and I’m totally the opposite. Not only that but no matter how tired I am throughout the day, once I am up, I’m up until it’s ‘bed time’ so no catch up naps for me which makes night sleeping even more important. I’m definitely with your hubby on the whole sleep thing 😀

    I have no idea if the Korean lady ever worked out what happened or not 😉 x

  32. Hogga – Rub it in why don’t you :p

  33. Tammy – I LOVE 10 hours of sleeping but you’re right, only at weekends sadly! We should start our own sleep marathon haha