In both my first post (which you can read here if you missed it), and on my About page, I have mentioned that my intention is for this blog to be focused around both travel and books. But I haven’t really talked about the reasons why I think that those two topics can be combined in one place.
When I was trying to decide on what type of blog I wanted to start up this time, I kept getting hung up because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to write about just travel. Don’t get me wrong, travel is a great topic on it’s own, and there is so much that can fall under the travel umbrella. My concern wasn’t about having a shortage of things to write about. The main stumbling block was that I didn’t know if I was ready to give up on the idea of writing about books and reading.
The last blog that I started was focused on books and stories. I didn’t get very far with that blog for a variety of reasons, but in trying to decide on my next project, the topic was persistent in popping up in my mind. Reading, books, and stories more generally, are such a big part of my life that I wasn’t ready to give up the idea of writing about the topic.
On the other hand, I knew I didn’t want to work on a blog that was exclusively about books and reading. I wanted to write about other things, and more specifically, I wanted to explore the world of travel blogging. Mixed into all of these considerations was the blogging advice that stress how you should keep your topic narrow. It might seem like a good idea to write about anything and everything, but in practice it’s very hard to pull off. So, what was a girl to do?
After thinking about it for a long while, and working through all of the reasons why it wasn’t a good idea, I finally decided that despite all those reasons, I was going to write about both. I know, I know, shocker. But I kept coming back to the idea that travel and reading might actually work as partner topics. I started thinking about how for me, travel and reading are connected in a lot of different ways. And the more I thought about it, the more I started thinking that, if they’re connected for me, they might be connected for others too.
Not yet convinced of the connections? Let me explain the main points of my thought process.
1. Books can be a major source of Travel Inspiration
I don’t know if you can relate, but at least a portion of my travel inspiration comes from books that I have read, either directly or indirectly. Have you ever read a book that described a place so well you couldn’t help but wish you were there? Have you ever then gone and researched that place afterwards to see what it might be like to travel there? Have you ever loved a place in a book so much that you booked a trip to that place – maybe not right away – but at some point after you read the book?
When I was a child I fell completely in love with the Anne of Green Gables series, and then in turn with all of L.M. Montgomery’s works. Each additional book that I read made me want to visit Prince Edward Island more. Eventually, I talked about wanting to go so much, that we decided to travel there as a family one summer. Now, my obsession with the Green Gables series obviously wasn’t the only deciding factor, but I know for a fact that if we hadn’t gone that summer, my love for the Anne and Emily books would have driven me to the Island sometime in my life.
2. Travel can be a major source of Reading Inspiration
On the flip side, sometimes travelling to, or being interested in a place in real life, can influence the books that we choose to read. Reading about places that we love can make us feel like we’re back there. I will always love reading books set in London, England, for example, because they remind me of the year I lived there.
We might also pick up books because they are set in a place that we would love to go someday. Sometimes a place grabs hold of our imagination in such a way that even if we never travel there in person, we find ourselves gravitating towards books or movies set in that location. I can’t say when it happened exactly, but at some point in my childhood, I became fascinated with Russia. I will probably never travel to Russia, but I have read many a book primarily because of that setting.
3. Reading can be a form of Travel
Apart from providing us with the inspiration to travel, reading can be a form of travel all on its own. Obviously, books can’t physically transport us to different places (though I think we can all agree that it would be pretty cool if they could), but they do transport us to different worlds while we are reading them. While this might be most apparent within the Fantasy genre, with books that are quite literally set in different worlds, I think it can be true for all genres. A really good book will make you feel like you were living in the world within it’s pages.
Narnia. Middle Earth. Hogwarts. A little house on an unforgiving prairie. All of these, and more, are places that I have travelled to through the pages of books. I am certain that, if you’re a reader of fiction, you have a list like this of your own. I would argue that Non-Fiction also does this in it’s own way, even though the world within the pages is familiar to us. I thought it would be really fun to explore reading from this angle.
4. Books travel with us
This last point may be a stretch, but I think it’s still valid. For people who read, books are an important part of our travel packing. Tablets, phones and e-readers have made travelling with books infinitely more easier, but I don’t think I’ve ever gone on a trip where I didn’t bring at least one book along with me, even before these technologies were an option. I can remember camping trips where I would have packed more books than clothes if I had been fully in charge of my packing. Audiobooks have saved me from many a noisy hostel experience, and ebooks have been a major source of entertainment on bus rides that felt never ending.
The lists of “Beach Reads” that start to come out early summer every year suggest that it’s not too much of a stretch to say that there are books, or types of books, that are good for certain types of trips. Beach Reads. Camping Reads. Plane Reads. Books to listen to on a long road trip… I think that this also could be a fun avenue to explore.
I hope from all that, you can get an idea of what I see when I think about combining these two topics. Maybe as I go, I’ll find that I focus on one over the other, or maybe the topic of this blog will shift into something that I haven’t considered yet. In any case, I’m excited to start writing about travel and reading both alone and combined, and seeing where the journey may take me.
Do you have any stories about a time when a book you read inspired a trip you took? Let me know in the comments!
Until next time,
For the stories that take you on adventures, and the adventures that turn into stories.