4 Problems for Book-Loving Travelers

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The spectacular James B. Hunt Library on North Carolina State University’s campus, a new favorite spot of mine for writing.

Well, it’s been a little while since I’ve blogged, partly due to traveling and also due to a cold that knocked out my energy for almost two weeks. But I’m back, and I’ve got lots of posts coming up! I decided to post this today because I’m catching up on writing projects at one of my favorite places — a library. I don’t know if most writers share this sentiment, but libraries and bookstores tend to be one of my most inspirational and productive locactions for writing.

As much as I love them, though, I’ve found that when I try to combine books and travel, I encounter some issues. Do you run into these problems?

1. My luggage is always too heavy.

I’m actually a light packer, thanks to a lot of practice. I made it through our ten days in Italy with just a carry-on, with room to spare.
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But where I struggle is with reading material. It’s bad enough that I start most trips with too many books. You’d think that owning a Kindle would solve this problem, but even when I stick to digital reading on a trip, I rarely go anywhere without bringing home books. And then I almost pass out when I try to hoist my bag into the overhead bins.

2. Cool libraries and bookstores require a detour.

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The City Library of Salt Lake City.

I’ve detoured for books so frequently that I now pre-scope book stops, because they’re going to happen anyway if I stumble upon a cool place by accident. Google image searching “city name + library” is now an automatic part of trip planning.

Just in the past year or so, I’ve seen Salt Lake City’s amazing library, Charleston’s Blue Bicycle Books, Orlando’s downtown library (with a bookstore inside that sells their “dusties” for cheap!), Venice’s Acqua Alta bookstore, and more. At least it’s always a free diversion, until I buy some books.

3. There is never as much time to read on vacation as I think there will be.

Maybe it’s just me, and maybe I need to stop taking vacations to places where I’m always out and about and try a vacation in a remote cabin, but there is never enough time to read when I travel. I always have these delusions of grandeur that I will spend uninterrupted hours lost in a book, and it very rarely happens.

4. I spend more time thinking about what books to pack than anything else that should come with me.

I am not exaggerating this, especially for big, planned trips. I have a thing about reading just the right book in particular places. I’ve been known to pack enough books for a month, and then forget basics like socks. And of course, I spend hours thinking about which books I should bring, only to finish maybe one of them on most of my trips. (Because of what I said above.) My idealism is unfailing in this area.

Despite it all, I’ll keep reading when I travel.

You’d think I’d learn my lessons, but I won’t. There’s nothing like finding a book I’ve been on the hunt for in a random bookstore and reliving that memory whenever I see it on my bookshelf, or associating certain novels with certain locales. I’ll keep accepting these “issues” of book travel, because I won’t stop reading, or traveling, or doing them together.

What about you? Do you deal with any of these issues when you travel? How do you like to pack your reading material when you vacation?

2 thoughts on “4 Problems for Book-Loving Travelers

  1. I definitely have the same problem with never actually finding time to read while traveling… Good to see that others know the struggle, lol

    Liked by 1 person

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