Some Who Wander Are Lost Part 3: Insomnia

This is a personal series about how I’m particularly unsuited to travel (but do it anyway). Part 1 is about being lost in all manner of ways and part 2 is about my hatred for our trailer hitch. Exciting stuff!

Full disclosure: I slept for six hours last night and the night before. This is pretty much a record for me, at least as far as the last few weeks go. Six hours is my goal, and I’m not even aiming for them to be uninterrupted. Just give me six, and I feel like I’m succeeding at being a human being.

This is rarely the case; I’ve failed at sleeping since I was a baby. Mom would tell the story on repeat about her opening the door to check on me at nap time, and there I’d be standing up in my crib, silently clutching the rail, eyes wide open, like an itty, bitty maniac. She always said I fought sleep, but I know what was really going on.

My problem is the more tired I get, the more wired I feel. I have a theory about this that I claim is rooted in evolutionary biology. Tell me what you think.

Imagine you’re a prehistoric person low on sleep; maybe you’ve got bugs in the your bed furs or something. Then imagine a wild fire is creeping up on your encampment, so you have to leave your cave and run to keep in front of the fire.  Day after day, you’re running to stay ahead.  Some nights you can lie down and rest a bit, but you can’t afford to sleep because the fire might sneak up on you.  

As you get desperately tired, your body gets twitchy to keep you from falling asleep. With this theory, being wired is a survival mechanism that flips on when you get super tired. Why else would a person be so danged tired unless they were running for their lives, right? In which case, sleeping is the last thing you should be doing.

I now know this is called Restless Leg Syndrome, but I hate that. Mine isn’t my legs, it’s my whole body, and it’s not a syndrome, it’s a freaking horrific condition that affects every part of my life.

Here I get to the travel part, though.

Imagine being a lifelong insomniac and walking intentionally into a lifestyle where your sleeping conditions vary nearly every night. 

Yes, I’m in my own bed no matter where we’re parked, but where is that, exactly? The very fact that I need to think about it when I wake up in the middle of the night is enough to wake me up all the way.

Seriously, where are we?

Are we on the edge of a ravine? (I totally can sense that in the middle of the night!)

How about squeezed into a forest with acorns dropping on the aluminum roof?

Are we about to get evacuated due to a hurricane? (That happened.)

How about a wildfire? (Very close; that haze is from a fire we’re avoiding, above.)

Or, are we parked on totally flat prairie during a massive thunderstorm?  In an aluminum trailer.

Is the wind blowing so hard it’s rocking the trailer like a boat?

Are we in a crowded campground with strangers just feet away

Seriously, all of these conditions are choices I’ve made and that I’ve tried to sleep through.

And those are the conditions outside the trailer. Inside is its own story, which I’ve blogged about twice already.

To save you from clicking, the bottom line is that, if you don’t want to wake up your entire crew, you should just lie there in the dark, wrestling with your psyche all danged night.

So, why does an insomniac choose to live where sleep is even more of a struggle? Actually, who knows if I’d be sleeping better in some apartment somewhere. What I do know is I’d be missing out on all these other places. There’s a meme about setting your clocks forward where the insomniac says, “Great, one more hour for not sleeping.” I’m embracing that: one more place for not sleeping!

Stay tuned for more in this series, such me making fun of campground life. Heck, I’ve been doing that in this space for three years. Fish in a barrel.

2 thoughts to “Some Who Wander Are Lost Part 3: Insomnia”

  1. Hey there Shelly…, it’s me Li. Are you okay? And whatever, you can email me anytime!
    I’m scary I know, but that (whatever) is someting we all have to come to terms with. Me of myself too.
    Love and Hugs

    1. Ah, this is just like my email to you recently, touché. I am okay, and I very much miss our correspondence. Email is coming. Love you!