June 1st, 2018
Reading is something we can all do more of, but if you're about to set off travelling, you may wonder if you have any time to do it at all. I've found from my own experience that travelling actually makes reading easier. Surprised? Read on to discover my reasons why.
Your Thirst for Knowledge Gets Reignited
Between the ages of 5 and 21, I spent most of my days in educational institutions. Somehow, they manage to make one of the most meaningful pursuits – learning – into something dry, dull and, in some cases, scary. Once you escape the torturous land of exams, it can be tempting to stop pursuing knowledge altogether. This is especially true if you are in the same place you’ve always been and you know everything you need to get by.
When you submerge yourself into an unknown culture, you return to being a child. Bill Bryson is his book ‘Neither Here Nor There’ expressed that he knew of nothing more exciting than to be in a place where you can’t read anything, struggle to purchase basic essentials and can barely cross the street without being killed; that's the feeling of being five years old again. There is a lot of fun in not understanding what’s going on, but it motivates you to start learning. You have to, just to get by.
By experiencing new things, you trigger new areas of interest, whether it’s wanting to learn more about the Holocaust while in Berlin or wrapping your head around Buddhism in Cambodia. Either way, you can only satisfy this urge to learn by picking up a book.
Endless Waits and Long Drives
Much of travel is actually quite boring. It turns out the world is pretty big and getting from one place to another can require hours on a bus, train or plane. Eventually you get bored of listening to music or watching films and the only other option you have is to read. If you want to make your time go faster while waiting for your choice of transport to arrive, then always carry a book.
For when your transportation method doesn’t include WiFi, a book can come to the rescue. With a really decent read, hours can fly past. There’s a whole world of information and stories to get lost in; you don’t ned the internet for that.
You Have to Save Your Battery
Another problem with long waits is that electronic devices go flat. For instance, say you have a one hour flight leaving at 7am (as I will in a couple of days). You want to be at the airport at 5, which means leaving the house at 4:30, which means waking up at 3:30. In total, your phone will have to last at the very least from 3:30am to 8am. That’s almost five hours before you have any hope of getting to a power outlet. It therefore makes sense to save your battery and read a book instead.
I’ve actually managed to get around this by carrying a portable power bank, so I can charge my phone on the plane, while still using it. However, the power bank itself will run out of battery and then it takes a few hours to charge, so it’s still good to save battery where possible. With the possibility of delays and breakdowns, especially in remote corners of the world, you can’t afford to waste phone battery life. If you get stuck, your phone will help you find your way, call for help or book into a hotel. It’s really something you can’t allow to die, so switch it off and read a book instead.
Eventually, You Get Sick of Socializing
For introverts, travelling can be a tough time. Even for the most social among us, meeting new people everyday and having to discuss your whole life with them grows tiresome. Staying in overcrowded hostels and having to interact with strangers each day, be it to book a tour or find the right train, will eventually leave you seeking solitude; just a few moments to be alone.
One of the most effective ways I’ve found to avoid conversation is to start reading. Sit in your hostel bed or in the common area and pick up a book. People will gladly talk to you while you use your phone, so pick up an actual physical book. It’s a great way to forget about your surroundings for a while and be alone to recharge.
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