Meet Mishka, our second traveller in the #HowTheySleep series. Born and raised in Slovakia, she first came to Leeds to study a degree and quickly settled in. We find out how she manages to sleep when travelling, and how she copes when finding comfort between her two homes.
Where do you consider home to be?
I actually struggled with this for some time, because I felt like I had no home or I couldn't find it- or at least I didn't really or fully belong anywhere. In the meantime, I figured that home is in me, in my body, in my heart, my soul or however you want to look at it and I carry it with myself anywhere I go and in whatever I do. In terms of more material or geographical definition, home for me is anywhere where I can find good people honest to their hearts, who are not afraid to offer their friendship, who care about you, who make sure that you are OK and enjoying yourself and who make effort if you should need their help.
Home is where I feel comfortable and safe.
When going back to Slovakia, what do you miss about your bedroom in Leeds?
I miss my double bed. A comfortable good size bed and mattress are very important for me, also because of my health and back, I am quite sensitive to this. And then maybe some objects which are dear to me, but equally, I have got these in my old bedroom in Slovakia, especially objects, pictures and lots of books from my childhood. They are equally nice and important to me, just a different story. If I was going to miss any physical objects, I'd say it's my records and record player and my favourite gemstones.
Where do you sleep better, in your bedroom in Slovakia, or your bedroom in Leeds?
I sleep well pretty much anywhere as I love sleeping and am a heavy sleeper. In terms of vibe in the room I sleep well both in my bedroom in Leeds and Slovakia. But because I don't live in my bedroom in Slovakia anymore, I only have a simple bed there made out of wooden pallets, which I actually made together with my dad, and not the best mattress on it. So, I sleep more comfortably in my bedroom or on my bed in Leeds.
Do you ever find yourself missing any home comforts when you’re trying to sleep at night?
In Slovakia my parents live in a nice house in a very lovely village, pretty much in the middle of the fields. Because of this the atmosphere in the village is really serene and very natural, with beautiful sunrises or sunsets and amazing summer evenings with bees and birds flying around. This is the most perfect atmosphere and place to be falling asleep in. I like my house in Leeds, but nothing compares to my parents' place. The sound of singing insects and frogs on a summer night can't be compared to any music record either, I guess.
Where’s the worst night’s sleep you’ve ever had?
Uhm, I'm not sure I remember anymore. Because I love sleeping and comfortable beds so much, I think that I just black out any unpleasant experience! Oh, I just remembered! It was when I was travelling in Guatemala- the Caribbean part of it. Me and my friends stayed in this place the locals proclaimed was a hostel, but it was far from being anything near a hostel. We literally slept on these concrete beds with no mattresses on them. No windows in the rooms, just these sort of blinds which you could turn around to block out- well I don't really know what you were supposed to block out as anything could fly in and out of the rooms.
I was scared all night long that I was going to get bitten by a tarantula or something else crazy like that. I did not sleep there well at all.
What’s the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had?
I guess it was in a relatively fancy hotel room with a really nice comfortable bed and my absolute favourite thing - soft, white, pure cotton sheets and bedding. Nice bedding and a good quality cover sheet - especially pure cotton and if possible white - are the most comfortable thing to sleep in, for me. If I am really tired, they would probably override even beautiful surroundings or the environment I fall asleep in. I just need those... anything else doesn't matter.
What do you do when you can’t sleep when in a new bed?
I think I have got various 'tricks' down my sleeve. I do count. Not necessarily sheep, just count in my head to make myself tired. Or read a book equally, as much as I need to read to make myself tired. Sometimes I make a herbal tea to calm myself or my mind down or burn lavender oil in my oil lamp. Or i'll burn lavender incense in my room and try to stop thinking, almost meditate, focusing on my breathing.
What’s your bed-time ritual?
My favourite thing is when I've had a shower or a bath and I've freshly changed my bed sheets. Everything is nice and clean and beautiful. I'll get into my freshly washed pyjamas, put on body oil or a good quality body lotion, burn some light incense or my oil lamp in the room, get into my bed, shuffle around in it for a bit to enjoy the freshness and cleanness, or alternatively I read a book for a bit or listen to some calm music and just fall asleep.
I love having a shower as well as washing my hair before going to bed.
Read part one of our #HowTheySleep series, here.
*All images taken by Michaela Lesayova