August 27, 2011

Pajama Musings - The No-Book Rule

This will come as quite a shocker to most of you, but ... wait for it ... I don't take any books with me on vacation. I just heard one very loud collective gasp from my devoted readership. And I can't blame anyone who might be questioning my sanity right now. But let me explain myself ...

When I was a kid I'd drag books with me where ever I went. No matter if it was solely an evening out or a full fledged two week vacation. Over the years though I slowly morphed from the devoted reader to the equally devoted traveler and somehow I always ended up being out and about all day long with literally no time to grab a book to read. Maybe you could blame it on the fact that I'm not the kind of gal who can spend a week just lounging at the beach or by the pool. This just isn't me. That's not to say I don't like to take a stroll on the beach or swim a lap or two in a pool, but generally I switch from adventures in reading to adventures in exploring when in a far away place.

Of course the transition wasn't all that smooth either. In the beginning I took at least one book with me, usually a small volume that didn't add too much extra weight to my luggage. I swear I did my best to warrant taking that book with me, but it soon turned out that I never read more than a few pages and it was just dead weight in my bag. Sad, I know. Especially seeing how hard it is to pass the time on a long distance flight. Those flights might be long and give you plenty of time to read, but (and there is always and inevitably a but) I can't enjoy reading in a loud and crowdy place where your seat gets constantly kicked by some screaming toddler behind you while at the same time the person in front of you takes a 9-hour-nap pushing their seat back so their head is almost on your lap. To answer your question, yes, I hate long distance flights. Well, maybe not the flights per se, more the fact that there are torture devices that are more comfortable than seats on an airplane, and the fact that there are other people on board, the most obnoxious ones usually sitting in my near vicinity, doesn't help much either. But I digress.

So I go by the No-Book Rule these days. I will often take a newspaper or maybe a magazine with me. Those don't demand the same kind of concentration a book would. I can just browse through them and dispose of them by the end of the flight. No dead weight in my bag, remember? Besides I know that if things really go bad, bad as in two weeks of snow storms in August (you never know, do you) where there will be a bit more downtime during my travel adventures, I can always head to a bookstore, inhale deeply and do some book shopping.

Do you read on vacation? Or are you more like myself and do all kinds of other things while traveling? Let me know.


  1. Ah, Birgit, you are the explorer. I understand completely because this is what I do on holidays - explore :) I used buy a few books in the airport and then leve them in the hotel, because I wanted to have something to read when I go to bed. But now I've got a netbook - I can read check the net and upload my photos at the same time, but not I don't drag it with me during the day. It's like security blanket - I just need to know it's there and that I can use it. :) Where did you go for your holidays?

  2. Well, no computer or books when I am away, simply because I don't have time for any of those, while discovering a new city and its people. It is funny, because I thought of myself as not being able to stay away from books or the computer, but it's a totally different "me" when I am away :) Plus, I always come back with one or two books bought from that place, so I compensate :) Plus, the travel guide is always a very good companion :)

  3. I'll be going to the UK - first to Scotland than a few days in London. Aaand I'm not just going book-less I will also leave my netbook at home ... the only concession to a "civilized" life I make is taking my cell phone along.

  4. I'd always take a book. But that's because I read in bed before going to sleep. I hardly read during the day anyway, so it wouldn't keep me from exploring.

  5. I am as appalled by the fact that you take no books on vacation as you are by the fact that I dogear my favorite books. How do you pass the endless hours in airports? Especially if your flight is delayed? How do you pass time in the hotel room? Wow. Even when I'm going to my mom's, where every minute is packed full, I still take a book. Just in case.