One of the biggest problems while i travelled on a motorcycle was to find a place to sleep each night. I had to ride additional kms just so that i could reach a town or a city that had a place that i could crash for the night. On days when i was stuck i would ask someone if i could sleep outside their house. I knew this had to change. Sleeping out in the open in a strange place with my stuff out exposed wasn’t a good idea. So just before I left to Leh in 2010/11 i decided the best thing i could do is to get a tent and find a place to sleep anywhere on the side of the highway. I had to figure out where i should not pitch a tent and where i will not get disturbed. Lots of trial and error later, after a bunch of getting wet in the rain at night i think i had finally figured it out. Anyways that ride went well, after which i did a bunch of rides and most often than not found a fabulous place to sleep.
A few years later i wanted to do a ride for a couple of days but this time i had heard of a format of biking called bike packing. Apparently you ride with very little and pack only the essentials. So this time around i left my tent and sleeping bag behind and packed a yoga mat and a small sheet and headed out. As the night approached i started to look for a place to sleep. As luck would have it, there was this really nice looking bus stop. Made my bed and passed out. The next morning as i was getting up i found this farmer looking at me. Started to talk to him and he asked me why dint i sleep at the temple. Now this was something i dint know i could do. The second night i found this temple and asked them if i could stay there for the night. They were happy to host me. What was even better was that i could charge my phone and the music player. In the morning i woke up and left. The advantage of sleeping at the temple was that i could now leave at 5 am, since the temple opens at 5. I have tried this a few times and have been refused only a couple of times. Everytime i ask the temple poojary they seem to also offer me some food to eat.
One time while i was riding through Tamil nadu towards the late evening i found myself near a temple. I asked the priest and he readily agreed. The temple was in an isolated area and the nearest house was about 1 km away. In the middle of the night i started to have these really weird dreams, it was like something was forcing me to get up and leave. I woke up and looked around and found nothing and tried to go back to bed. After about 30 mins, i still couldn’t sleep. I had to quickly pack up and leave but i guess things like this do happen. The energy in that temple was way to much for me to handle. Dint seem to be good or bad, it just wanted me to go. As i write this i remember this one time in the mountains where i pitched my tent on this mountain face and in the middle of the night i stared to have thoughts about this guy with a snake waking me up and asking me to get out. I woke up and dint find someone but the strangest thing was i noticed a memory stone of a truck driver which i had missed noticing when i put up the tent.
A couple of months ago as in Assam and in a region known for elephants. At night while i was pitching my tent in the middle of a clearing a shepherd showed me the way to a school. All government schools are built with a small field in the front. Before i pithced my tent i walked up to the class rooms to check if any of them were open for me to sleep inside. It was cold and a classroom is a better option than the just the portico. One of the classrooms were open and i setup my stuff for the night. I made some chai and started to read while sitting outside. As i was doing that, a group of boys who smoke weed came up to the school. Apparently that is where they sell and smoke weed at night. Spoke to them for a couple of minutes and went inside and locked the door before i went to bed. In the middle of the night i could hear voices, apparently elephants had come near the school. In the morning some kids wanted to play and knocked on the door and told me the story about the Elephant attacks.
What i have noticed after all this while is that it doesn’t matter where i sleep but there are some basic requirements while finding a campsite. Most often than not i would like a stream or a pump where i could get some fresh water, a plug point to charge my phone, roof over my head in the raining season and hopefully nobody around who would wake me up in the middle of the night.