Controlling how and when you wake up, travel style

Posted by Christopher Wink on Nov 6, 2008 in Travel Tips |

Sean sleeping in London, England.

Sean sleeping in London, England.

Ask anyone with whom I’ve traveled or anyone with whom I’ve lived… or anyone who will listen.

I am crafting the ability to control when I wake up. If you’re planning on backpacking, you better, too.

Last week we had to wake up at 5 A.M. for a day of traveling. We didn’t get to sleep until after 1 A.M., so we were a bit concerned about getting up on time - especially because Sean doesn’t believe a damn word about my ability to wake up on my own. Well, fortunately, the mechanism works; my laptop overheated and turned off, so the alarm turned off. I managed to wake up on my own and we were on our way.

To begin this trip, when Sean and I had to wake up at 4 A.M. after going to sleep late to prepare this site, I got up - alarm free. Sean didn’t trust me; he set his own alarm.

Back in Brussels, Sean, his brother Brian and I decided we had to try a good, old European discoteque. After a few rounds of karaoke, Belgian ale and a couple hours of dancing - seriously, just three dudes dancing - we got home at 3:30 A.M., needing to wake up by 7:30 A.M. to catch a complimentary hostel breakfast and bailing for Paris. I got us up then, and after an hour nap later in the day - alarm-free.

This is a great tool, and I want to make it more exact.

You ought to pack a watch - that much I’ve recommended. But don’t depend on it.

See, when you’re running from hostel to hostel, or sleeping on some stranger’s couch, or in a train station or the sidewalk, your tools fail you. If you have room and bring an alarm clock, there’s no plug. If it is battery-operated or wound, it dies. If you have a watch or a cell phone, you forgt to set it.

So, learn to wake yourself up. It it is a lot more refreshing to wake up on your own, than a blaring alarm.

Start on days you don’t need a specific time to wake. Pick a time, think clearly about what time you’re going to sleep and when you want to wake up. Train your brain, friends. But, have the off-switch. A nice late sleep is great after a few weeks of train traveling and backpacking.

Anyone have better tips?


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