It's almost been an entire year since Rudy Hummel has slept in a bed.
Last year, he set out on a personal quest to sleep outside for 365 nights to raise awareness and funds for people and animals who don't have homes. He's slept in 30 different places in the last year – a platform in a tree, a snow cave in his yard, a campground and even on a hotel balcony in Chicago.
The idea started with sleeping outside all summer, but when fall came he didn't want to give up. He slept outside, in a snow house, through Duluth's second-coldest and third-snowiest winter on record – on 76 of those nights, the temperature dropped below zero, the Duluth News Tribune says.
In early April, when spring started to roll in, his snow house began to melt. So he went back up to his tree platform, where he had to deal with the 50-mph winds and noisy nights. He used three sleeping bags and a quilt inside a one-person tent to keep warm, the Duluth News Tribune says.
And now, with just under a week to go, Hummel is inviting everyone to sleep outside on June 6, his final night outdoors, according to his website Snore Outdoors. He's asking people to do this to hopefully raise money and more awareness for his cause. He also wants people to share their experiences on the Snore Outdoors Facebook page.
He has been raising money through his website to support Habitat for Humanity and Hawk Ridge Bird Observatory. So far, his followers have donated more than $3,000, the Duluth News Tribune says. More recently, the Board of Directors at Hawk Ridge offered a $1,000 matching donation to Hummel's efforts if he can bring in at least $1,000 more in donations before June 6, Hummel wrote on his blog in May.
Not only has Hummel raised money to help people and animals, but he told the Duluth News Tribune that he's learned a lot about himself. He told the newspaper that his experience gave him empathy for the homeless and also gave him perspective on his place in the world.
“You think about a squirrel, or a bird at the bird feeder,” Hummel told the Duluth News Tribune. “We consider them visitors, yet they live here, and we’re just as much visitors as they are.”