Sunday 12 November 2017

16 Interesting Places I've Crashed for the Night Travelling ZZZZZZZ

Huh 'Yawn, Yawn' yes hostels, back of camper vans, hotels, couchsurfing, Air BnB, camping grounds - I'm sure everybody who has travelled ovenight has stayed in official and comfortable accommodation to lay your head.

When you're travelling you've got to crash somewhere for the night, and it isn't always going to be in said places - but that's the whole experience right? Now I'm not one to regularly shy away from a unique adventure to test my tolerance; but thinking about the situations and journeys I've taken over the years - here's a list of interesting places I've found myself crashing to catch some zzzzzzs (and not always warm and comfortable either!)

1.  On The Beach

No not camping on the beach, actually sleeping ON the beach. Yep, stones and pebbles and all with the stars and hovering moon watching over you. Most will probably argue about the 'safety issue' but if you know the area is relatively safe and there is respectable civilisation in proximity then why not? The natural crashing and laps of the sea waves ebbing and flowing to lull you to sleep is hard to top, plus the morning sunrise over the fringe of the water made it probably one of the most beautiful experiences I've had travelling.

2. On A Church alter of a Nunnery

God always will open his arms. No safer or serene place than the holy sanctuary of a church.

3. On the deck of a Maori Waka

Jumping aboard as volunteer crew on an Indigenous Maori Sailing Vessel: a 'waka' as one would call it in New Zealand - sleeping on deck with the elements and the soft rock of the ocean. Did end up getting a flu by the time I got back to land.

4. In a swag under the stars

A very Aussie thing to do is curl up in a 'swag' a hybrid mattress/sleeping bag that you can roll up and be a 'swagman'. Some are very flash - kitted out with pitched up mosquito nets and are pretty comfy! Aswell as in the red centre of the Australian desert, I spent the night under the stars and next to a smoldering fire on a cattle station. If you go to Oz, do spend the night in one! 

5. In a Maori Meeting House (Marae)

Kia Ora! A very unique experience. A Marae is a traditional meeting house of the Indigenous natives of New Zealand, the Maoris. These meetings houses are cultural guardians to the local tribes whakapapa (bloodline). You cannot just go and spend the night in these sacred dwellings but must be formally invited by the chief or associates of the Marae and undergo the invitation protocol of entering their territory. I was lucky to be invited to stay in a fair few during my travels in New Zealand with the spirit of the tribal ancestors as my protective guardians of the night. No safer place to spend the night in the whole of New Zealand....  

6. Under the Bridge

Yes sir, just like the Red Hot Chili Peppers song says it so, when there's nowhere else available in a small town, park up under the bridge, pitch a tent and make yourself a cup of tea. Safety in numbers though - there were seven of us and a bunch of rather interesting characters chillin' under the bridge.

7. Under a Circus Big Top

Seriously I did! I had a job during my two year working holiday stint in Australia working as an animal care assistant for a travelling petting zoo. Here, I even wrote a book about it. I spent my nights sleeping in a swag on the stage under the big top, next to a locked chest of deadly snakes!

8. In an Aquarium

Ah why not? I was working there, I had the keys and was on the coast so why not save some money on accommodation when I had a perfectly good roof over my head? Ocean views and morning sunrise again on my doorstep for spending the night surrounded by fish, an octopus and other water tight friends - convinced myself it was haunted by the strange bumps in the night on the end of that pier....shudder....don't regret it though....

9. On a Kangeroo Farm

'Woofing' as the on-the-road lingo goes among fellow travellers stands for 'Willing Workers on Organic Farms' where curious and keen travellers could go and stay for a bed in exchange for a set amount of hours or tasks worked on the property. I spent a good many a night staying on a Kangeroo Rescue Farm in Western Australia in exchange for my baby Joey husbandry skills.

10. Under a Cattle stable

Waiting for a fruit picking job to start we had no where else to stay, until we spotted desolate cattle stables crying out 'tent spaces' to us - why not? protection from the rain, soft ground for the night and convenient posts to hang out drying noodle pots. Plus we were opposite a caravan of training cattle dog puppies!

11. On 'The Ghan' Cross Country Train

Tickets for the Cross Country Darwin to Adelaide stretch are by no means dirt cheap, even economy class. By why not while away a 24hr journey across the breadth of Australia on a historic train ride 'The Ghan' with all the hitches and interesting folk you meet jumping on and off - lets hope its not 'Murder on the Orient Express'. Quite an experience and challenge trying to catch some shut eye and waking up in the middle of no where! I rode this journey twice.

12. In a Yurt in the Aussie Bush

A 'yurt' is a Mongolian round house modelled on the mountain canvas tents designed to hold the heat from the sun. Wooden, Straw and Stone Yurts are becoming more and more popular over Australia and different parts of the world for alternative living, plus you can build your own! I spent quite a few nights venturing into the Aussie bush on farms to sample a back-to-basics world of living....they are also great characters and you'll truly appreciate how simple living could be.

13. A hammock at a Waterfall in Cambodia

How to spend a night in the jungles of Cambodia? String up a hammock among the trees at a waterfall and swing by to the sounds of cascading water and watch fireflies merge with bright electric stars above you. Make sure you can get out and run for cover somewhere if it rains as it did for us in the middle of the night!

14, A Navajo Indian Hogan

Whenever I travel I always like to get under the authentic skin of a country and see how the indigenous natives live. During my travels across southern states of the USA into the Navajo American Indian lands of Utah, I was lucky enough to spend the night in an indigenous 'hogan' a mud like roundhouse with an open top. Chances of it raining on us? Yep it did, so alot of pressing ourselves into the err....'round corners'???

15, A Magic Bus

'I told you, we're going nowhere!', ever seen 'Into The Wild' the famous 'Magic Bus'? Not managed to get to the real thing over in Alaska, but this was the next best thing, my own magic bus - late night sessions reading behind the drivers wheel with a mattress in the back.

Lastly 16. .....In The Amazon Rainforest! 

In the jungle yes! I have lived in the depths of the Amazon Rainforest of Ecuador, but I won't be giving too much away...I'm writing my second travel book all about it so watch this space!

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