The Three Great Loves of my life are: Reading, Traveling, and Sleeping. When it comes to traveling, one of my favorite parts is sitting on trains and reading while the world passes by. Sometimes, I’d rather have an eight hour train ride with beautiful scenery and a good book than visit yet another Cathedral lined city. It’s something about the gentle rocking of a train, and the thrall of a good, or sometimes absolutely hilariously-awful, book that keeps me sane in a new country.
There are bad books to take on vacation. For instance, I once tried to lug The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone on a trip with me, but it ended up taking up more room than my clothing in my carry-on so, I
rightfully left it at home. For me, packing is all about saving space, while also bringing as many books as possible, so some examples of good books to bring on trips are:
When I studied abroad in Rome, I brought a couple books with me, but the one that made it to every country was my Pocket Bible edition of The Hobbit. I’m a huge J.R.R. Tolkien fan, and so one of my friends bought the pocket edition for me a few years back. It was almost smaller than my wallet and could fit in tiny spaces when I needed it to. It was also so handy to have something to read on those monotonous Ryanair flights when all I could pack was a few days worth of clothes before my bag wouldn’t fit overhead. I read The Hobbit about 10 times during that 6 month trip, and I’m so glad I had it with me. I would have gone insane if I hadn’t. The best kinds of books for Pocket editions are ones you know intimately. I don’t think I would enjoy reading a book for the first time if it was in tiny, tiny print.
There’s nothing better than a good memoir. Written by the right person, a memoir is a perfect way to escape the happenings of your own life and dive into those of another. Some of my favorite memoirs are: Yes Please by Amy Poehler (read it in Rome, 2015), and Bossy Pants by Tina Fey. I have a soft spot for funny ladies. They’ve usually gone through some of the same things I have, and now have careers in areas I only dream of. This year, I will be tackling all of Carrie Fisher’s memoirs, and as she was one of my heroes, I know they will take me awhile to get through because of all my feelings. Sometimes it’s nice to have feelings while you travel, but usually it’s when I’m alone that I’m okay with actually feeling the feelings. The biggest reason to bring a memoir with you on a trip, is because they make you want to do something. Maybe the memoir will lead to your next once-in-a-lifetime activity on your trip.
Long gone are the days where you packed multiple steam-trunks for trips. Now are the vacations of carry-on bags and luggage fees. Weight/Size limits are about the only reasons I read E-Books. When it comes to E-Books, I like to read trashy, horrible romance novels and unknown Fantasy/Sci-Fi–anything that’s cheap. The more supernatural the better. I blame my friend Rachel for introducing me to Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books , because my love for paranormal romance has stayed with me since then. I just want a book I will literally forget everything about as soon as I’m done reading it. An interesting world with a good-enough plot is all I need to rush through about 10 books in a 5 day vacation. For E-Books, I usually just read off my iPhone, or if I felt like packing my iPad I’ll read on it too. I don’t mind not owning the books because normally I wouldn’t be able to find them in stores for the same, cheap price.
A rather genius way of bringing along those massive books like The Agony and the Ecstasy or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is to give them up after you’re done. My friend Catherine did this while she was backpacking through Europe in 2015. Cheryl Strayed burnt a book while she was hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, and I’ve left books behind on accident multiple times. Sometimes the best way to bring a book on a trip, is to not bring it home. That’s a hard one for me since most of the books I buy have some sentimental value (aka: I’m a hoarder), but it’s good practice in giving back or letting go of things you don’t really need.
There are plenty of other tips for reading whilst traveling, but the ones above are the ones I stick to the most. I also like to save room for a book or two from little bookstores I visit whilst traveling, so sometimes I come home with more books than what I left with. To each their own, right?
What is your preferred way to read whilst traveling? Do you only bring certain genres based on the trip you’re taking? Tell me all about your traveling/reading preferences in the comments below!
Aaaaand I’m back! Took a two week break because I felt like it. I just didn’t have the motivation to write a blog post while I was also finishing up the first draft of a Fantasy novel I’m writing. It has taken over my life (when I’m not at work).
Thanks for Reading!