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I just napped for four hours or more here in a hostel in Copenhagen, with the rain falling and birds chirping and children yelping outside the open window … I needed the rest. Oddly enough, I’ve had trouble sleeping all my time so far in Europe, in part because I was in higher-end hotels with their fat fluffy pillows and too-thick duvets and inorganic feel and invitation to take oneself and the silence so seriously that mental quiet was difficult.

After a week of insomnia and a hectic schedule, and staying up until 2 a.m., I still could not sleep last night… slept maybe ten or twenty minutes of the two hours I was attempting to. Got up at 4 and hauled myself to the metro station so I could catch the plane on time.

After I got to the Copenhagen airport I decided that before I tried to figure out this new world I needed to rest. So I found a plush bench seat in a posh part of the airport and slept for about two hours, the buzz of unknown language a safety net in the background. Woke up, felt relatively human, and figured out where my hostel was using a combination of travel-savvy strategies since the directions on their website left much to be desired. Checked in. Slept more.

Maybe it’s the comfort of being unknown, safe in the embrace of collective, congenial aloneness, that makes it easier to sleep in a hostel. People court fame, but anonymity is much to be desired, particularly after any brush with notoriety, and an unexplored northern European city is a good place to disappear. Pull up your tall black boots, stomp the pavement rat-tat-tat in a straight line with a straight face, and nobody will question you. And sleep will come.

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