SLEEP

1001 NIGHTS AWAY FROM MY BED. FAR AWAY FROM HOME, SLEEPING IN AN UNFAMILIAR ENVIRONMENT BECOMES A BEWITCHING EXPERIENCE.

Silence all around. Hanging like a dark curtain over an unspoilt landscape. Nothing seems to stir; emptiness reins. Everything is holding its breath tonight. Even the insects have finished their evening concert. Only the occasional breath of wind makes the tarpaulin flutter briefly before silence descends again. It’s so quiet that you wake up and look about, confused, just to check that there really is nothing out here but you and the vastness of the natural world. But the only things moving now are the slow river at the end of the sandbank and the shooting stars slicing through the bejewelled night sky.

After a magical night camping on the Ganges, you feel cleansed of the mediocre overnight stays you sometimes get when travelling. You don’t have to stay in broom cupboards, uninspiring “guest” houses or those interchangeable, soulless establishments that call themselves hotels. If the service comes naturally, smiles don’t cost extra and pleasure is not frowned upon, it can be wonderful to be away from home and in the middle of 1001 nights.

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