Sleeping Outdoors is Underrated

I know very few outdoor people. Except for the few campers and mountaineers, most of my friends are city folk, not comfortable unless they’re in a room with four walls and air-conditioning. I don’t blame them. I’m not an outdoor person, either.

The one and only time I went camping was in grade five, when the girl scouts camped overnight on school grounds. We slept in tents and had a bonfire, and while it was fun, the heavy tent and the effort made in pitching it put me off camping. Plus, it was a heavy canvas tent and the Philippines is a tropical country, which meant heavy condensation inside, resulting in the amplification of, well, smells. I think it was this, more than anything, that turned me off. I did like the sleeping outdoors part, though, and I feel that I don’t do it enough.

The last time I got the opportunity to spend the night in the open air was on a group trip to Villa Escudero. My friend’s boyfriend was in town and he invited us to vacation with them. We stayed in a villa whose porch overlooked the river. While my friends shared the bedroom, I decided to spend the night on the porch. We moved a spare mattress next to the bamboo railing. My corner claimed, I proceeded to refuse to move from it, getting up only for dinner and bathroom breaks. I was quite excited to be spending the night outdoors, next to the river. I’ve heard stories about how the resort’s surroundings are enchanted, and I was hoping to experience something like that. Long story short, I didn’t experience anything out of the ordinary, though I did have a great night.

I loved how quiet and serene it was. I loved that there was a constant breeze from the river, and how the trees and shrubs kept everything cool, despite it being the middle of summer. I loved how the light deepened into darkness, then lightened into morning. I loved how with the light came birdsong, soft at first, getting louder as more birds woke and joined in. What I did not like were the mosquitoes, but a bug patch on the back of my shirt–the one with cute animal designs they use on kids–quickly fixed that. Also, no weird smells.

I woke early, had breakfast, then switched to the hammock to sleep some more. Yes, I was on vacation with friends, but this was the group of introverted friends who agreed that going on vacation meant getting away from people, and sometimes, ‘people’ also meant each other.

Would I recommend sleeping out in the open? Yes. As long as you bring a mosquito patch and are sure you aren’t near anything wild or poisonous.

I’m looking forward to spending my next night outdoors. Yes, the porch of a cottage doesn’t count, but I’ve come to accept that that’s as close to nature as I’m willing to get.

If you appreciated this article, you can buy me a coffee here.


Yvette Natalie U. Tan is a multi-awarded author of horror fiction and the Agriculture section editor of Manila Bulletin.

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