This is the time of year where I tell you how thankful I am for beds, but this year is a little different. It’s different because in this list of beds I get include MY bed…and ultimately, my home!
If you missed the news, after 11 years of being nomadic without a home, or even a home base, I finally settled back into normal life and became a resident of Denver. That’s right, I have keys! The word ‘resident’ might be a bit optimistic though – since I moved into my new studio apartment in June I’ve really only been in Denver 50% of the time, the rest of the time I’ve been on the road doing what I love – traveling. That means I have still accumulated an immense amount of beds this year all around the world.
My 2017 bed count is…81 beds!
Now that seems incredible to me considering I actually have a home now AND there was one whole month where I slept in the same bed on an expedition cruise. This basically means I still travel a lot! In fact, the California Project I did this year was a real test in motion – we moved every day for 19 days straight. A new hotel every night; it was a complete blur.
Thanks for Beds!
This Thanksgiving I’m thankful for all 81 of those beds. People have been so kind to allow me to stay with them again this year; friends, family, and strangers pitched in to make sure that I had a place to lay my weary head. Even after 11 years on the road I’m still amazed at the kindness of people and how easy it is to actually live without a home base and travel around the world. I’ve had some memorable Airbnb’s this year and some beautiful luxury hotels. I’ve slept in boats, planes, trains, buses, RV’s, Glamping tents and igloos. However, I realize what makes something a ‘best bed’, is not really about the bed, it’s about the experience that goes along with it.
My Favorite Beds of 2017
The Longest Bed – Not longest as in length, but the longest I’ve ever stayed in one bed non-stop in the last 8 years was this bed on the Spirit of Enderby Expedition Ship. I spent 28 days at sea traveling from New Zealand to eastern Antarctica and slept in the same bed every night. Thanks to the volatile Southern Ocean I had a love/hate relationship with that bed. After a few days of rough seas that left me confined to my little cabin bed, I eventually got used to being at sea and it was actually a pleasure to get rocked to sleep every night!
A Garage Bed – As I tried to figure out if I wanted to live in Denver, I had to give it a little test run first. I actually spent a number of weeks sleeping inside a garage in Denver! Luckily the garage had been transformed into a little studio apartment. A big thanks to Dan who let me stay in this cute, unique ‘apartment’ in Denver!
The Igloo Bed – One of the strangest and toughest beds I’ve ever slept in was the night spent in an igloo above the Arctic Circle; an authentic Arctic adventure few people get to have. Surprisingly I did this by choice. My trip to Arctic Canada was a unique look at the Arctic culture, and I wasn’t going to pass up my chance to build and sleep in an igloo. It was one of the toughest nights of sleep I’ve ever had…but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger…and it normally makes me love it too.
The Cottage Bed – The California trip I did this fall was a blur of hotels, but one stuck out to me and made an incredible impression. Mar Vista Cottages was a little simple hidden gem along California’s North Coast at Anchor Bay. The picture perfect cottages had fully stocked kitchens, fireplaces and porches to watch the sun go down. Guests are encouraged to use the community garden to pick vegetables and gather their own eggs from the chicken coup to cook up a garden fresh breakfast in the morning!
New Zealand Homestead Bed – It’s always a treat to reconnect with people who I’ve met on my travels. One of my favorite ‘bed’ experiences this year was my stay at my friend Marty’s place in rural New Zealand on his small farm. I had met Marty 10 years earlier when I was traveling through Greece and now I was staying in his ‘guest cottage’ for a memorable 4 nights. It was 4 nights of fantastic New Zealand local experiences!
The Tiny Bed – I had a fun two nights taking a 135 square foot tiny house for a test run. My stay at Wee Casa in Lyons Colorado was a memorable experience! I loved my tiny little home and its lofted bed – the perfect size for a solo traveler!
Giving Thanks for My Bed and Home
And then there’s my bed – a bed I actually put together with my own two hands. I started with an air mattress for a couple of weeks, but eventually decided on a Queen size bed to buy. I put it together with a simple alan wrench. It’s not an easy thing to put together a Queen bed frame solo in a small studio apartment space! But because I put it together myself, it means that I have even that much more love for it. It is the perfect firmness, simple, and comfortable. I always say I can sleep anywhere, but I do love coming home to my new bed!
I’ve been in Denver now for nearly 6 months, and the thing I’m most thankful for is the fact that I have a home to come back to. Of course there are ups and downs to paying rent again when I’m only there 50% of the time. But the ups grossly outweigh the downs right now! I don’t think I would have survived the summer mentally without having a home base to come back to for writing and relaxing.
Everyone asks me if I was happy with my decision to get a home base; the overwhelming answer is yes! It gives me a chance to form relationships, a quiet place to work, a chance to get healthy and rehab some injuries, and it means I don’t have to spend so much time and guilt on trying to figure out where I’m going to sleep next. One of my favorite things is I get to form a bit of a routine when I am home. I have found that I have plenty of change, newness, and uncertainty in my life just from the travel and work I do, so it’s nice to come home and use my same coffee mug everyday, go to the gym, and have food available in the kitchen.
Of course there are some weird downsides to having a home base though too. I don’t see my friends and family as much as I used to because I no longer have to use them for a place to sleep/stay. And I don’t feel as carefree to just go off to places any longer on a whim. Then there’s also the struggle of feeling boring as when I am home I’m usually working on writing and trying to line up my next work. My life now may have some routine to it, but it’s still not normal as I try to figure out how to balance ‘work hustling’ and settling in and meeting people.
But all in all, having my own bed again is the best change I’ve made this year. However, I’ve also really enjoyed my other 80 beds around the world too. Maybe I’m most thankful that I’m able to live this lifestyle balancing travel and home. It’s taken me a long time to get to this point, but it’s great to be here, and it’s even better to have a familiar bed to come home to.