As you probably know by now, I’m a lover of the absurd but rather magnificent practice of occasionally pretending bedrooms don’t exist.
This involves finding somewhere else to sleep, like perched on the side of a hill, or suspended between two trees in a hammock – or, thankfully very rarely, in a corner of a field in Orkney with the rain hammering down on me.
All this sounds extremely foolish until you have a go – then it’s just mostly foolish, but also enormously life-affirming in a way it’s difficult to put your finger on. I’d recommend it to anyone.
It’s also, as I noted in my last post, a good way to battle insomnia and muddled sleep patterns – and, once you get past the nervy thrill of not having four walls around you for a change, it can relax your stressed-out brain and body an absolute shedload.
Fancy giving it a go? Because this Saturday, the night of the 11th July, there’s the perfect excuse.
It’s a British event, but I’d say anyone can do it (although their nighttime will be a bit out of sync with everyone else’s). The blurb on the official website goes like this:
As a society we are spending too much time indoors. In particular the recent lockdown measures for COVID-19 have been essential to protect lives but have also had an adverse affect on wellbeing.
We believe the solution is to support and encourage each other to get adventurous. Spending time on adventures is empowering, brings people together and is fun. It has also been proven to help with mental health problems including anxiety and depression. #wildnightout2020 is a dedicated date in the diary for us all to get adventurous under the cover of darkness.
If a full lockdown is in place you can camp in your garden (or sitting room) or using your allotted exercise time to explore your local area under the cover of darkness. And if lockdown is eased then we have a long list of fantastic adventure ideas below! This year you can also join an adventure talk and campfire storytelling via FB Live and Zoom.
In short, within the bounds of lockdown-related possibility right now, go night-exploring somewhere you’ve never been, or sleep somewhere that isn’t your bedroom, and enjoy how excitingly odd that feels.
If you have the freedom to head for a hillside or a remote beach, take a sleeping bag – or come up with something inventive that can double as one. I like to use a sleeping bag stuffed inside a bizarre-looking waterproof sack thing. (I promise this is more fun than it sounds.)
Or, you could just sleep in the garden, listening to the chatter of the birds and the bemused whispers of your neighbours. That’s fun too.
Please note that yes, sleeping in the garden is a valid way of being recreationally bad-ass weird. The sons of my friends Nicky and Ian in York just spent 50 days (!) of their lockdown sleeping in a tent in the garden, raising £1,580 for the RSPCA. (Fantastic work, lads.)
Explorers Connect (the organisers of Wild Night Out) will also have online events going on all evening, UK time.
But I’d suggest spending most of that night enjoying exactly where you are, with all your senses – a deep, mindful dive into a deliciously novel moment in time, in a place you’ve never been (at least not like this). Forget everything else going on in the world and just be enormously Here for a change.
So how about it?
(Leave a comment below if you’re in!)