When your job is stressing you out, there’s nowhere better to relax than in a hammock. It’s the perfect place to rest and recuperate — lay back and let your schedules and deadlines fade away. For most of us, a hammock offers the ultimate relief from the daily grind, a chance to reconnect with yourself and attain a higher level of peace and tranquility.
While it may seem sacrilegious to suggest mixing work with pleasure, there are plenty of professions that rely on hammocks to help workers get their jobs done.
Being in the navy is no pleasure cruise. In addition to doing everything a weekend sailor has to do — from hoisting the mainsails to swabbing the decks — the men and women of the navy have to be ready to defend and attack at a moment’s notice. And that requires being alert and well-rested. As every sailor will tell you, sleeping aboard on a boat can be a challenge. Between the rolling waves and stormy seas, staying in your bunk — let alone copping some zzzz’s — when everything is pitching around is no small feat.
When European seafarers arrived in the Caribbean in the 15th century, they found the locals napping in beds made of nets. Some clever seaman put two and two together, and it wasn’t long before hammocks had overtaken bunk beds as the ultimate sleeping solution. By the 16th century, the British Navy had officially adopted the hammock, and it wasn’t long before other countries followed suit. Though war has changed immeasurably in the last 500 years, today you still find hammocks aboard most marine fighting vessels.
Napoleon famously said that an army marches on its stomach. But what good is a filling meal for a soldier if they are delirious from sleep deprivation by dawn? Soldiers are trained to fight in all environments — from jungles to swamps to mountains to deserts — and when it comes to finding a bedding system that’s equally adaptable, nothing beats the humble hammock. It’s light-weight, portable and quick to set-up. Best of all, it doesn’t matter whether the ground is rocky, thorny or soggy — just string a hammock between trees, rocks or even vehicles, and you’re snoozing.
The Peace Corps
While many countries send their armies off to war, the US Peace Corps sends its troops abroad to battle poverty and disease. For the past six decades, the Peace Corp has dispatched its idealistic young people to impoverished countries to provide basic healthcare and education to those most in need. Since a Peace Corps applicant may end up in any corner of the planet, a hammock is an essential piece of equipment, easily adaptable to life in the most remote and inhospitable regions of the world.
Protests are democracy’s engine of change. But sometimes standing up for your beliefs can leave you with sore feet — so why not occupy the moral high ground from the comfort of a hammock? Being an activist requires sacrificing your time and energy for a higher purpose, and a willingness to stick around after the speeches are done and the less committed have gone home. Whether you’re an advocate of greater environmental protection, a better social safety net for your fellow citizens, or stronger labour rights for workers on the other side of the world, doing the right thing means supporting a cause — so seems only fair for your hammock to support you.
Truck drivers in the developing world
As our world becomes more interconnected and global trade increases, transporting goods around the world has become big business. While the shipping industry takes much of the credit for bringing the fruits of the tropics to the rest of the world, it’s the trucking industry that is ultimately responsible for getting tropical fruits from the farm gate to the port before they spoil.
Every day millions of truck drivers hit the road, navigating the highways, byways and dirt tracks across the equatorial regions of the planet so we can feast on bananas, mangos and coconuts. In hot countries, sleeping the cab of a truck is a sweaty endeavor, so many drivers will hang a hammock in between the wheel wells and let the cool breezes lull them to sleep for a few short hours, before dawn breaks and another day behind the wheel begins.
Writers/graphic designers/computer programmers
Writers, computer programmers, graphic designers unite — you have nothing to lose but your desks! In these undoubtedly glamorous but often sedentary professions, earning our daily salary depends on sitting in front of a computer for hours on end. But at what cost to our physical and mental health?
For a change of scenery and a radical shift in perspective, try working from the comfort of a Brazilian or Mayan hammock. If the traditional laid-back style isn’t conducive to being productive, never fear—just plop down in a hammock chair. Not only will it be good for your back, it just might solve your writer’s block.There are many ways to sit in a hammock. How many of them do you know?