I recently joined some friends on a trip to Yosemite for a little bit of camping, hiking, cooking, and merrimaking in general. This was my first real outdoor experience while on the Ubermann sleep schedule. It was also an interesting test to me to see how some of my theories might hold up in similar situations.
I’ve always imagined not needing a hotel room in various places when on Ubermann. Since you don’t need to sleep more than 20 minutes, you could theoretically sleep in a casino lobby in Vegas, in a hotel lobby in San Francisco, in a Denny’s in Hawaii, or in any rental car anywhere. In 2005, I was polyphasic during a trip to Reno and, while everyone slept, I stayed up and played blackjack. While not the most productive way to spend my time, it was my first real taste of accomplishing something with my extra time that was in stark contrast to everyone else. Up until then, most of my extra hours were spent alone or, at least, not in very social situations.
Being polyphasic in Yosemite was a completely different experience. I didn’t bring a tent or a sleeping bag with me, I just bought a lot of firewood and sat by the fire. I read for a while, watched the fire, wrote a little, and thought a lot. The sounds of the forest, the crackle of the fire, the glow of the moon, and, when it set, the glow of the stars all seemed a little more clear when experiencing the entire night from beginning to end. I can’t remember ever watching sunset to its completion and then the entire sunrise, just watching and enjoying the nature around me.
Fire seems to be an excellent way for me to stave off boredom–there’s something primal and mesmerizing about watching it, playing with it that keeps the mind alert, even if the activity is pretty dull in description. Just one more fun way to enjoy the extra time you have.