When you are traveling around the world for a while you have to plan thoroughly what you really need to bring with you and what you can leave behind. Then of course there are some that you can always buy as you go, they do have stores everywhere in the world!
Technology is one of those things that makes life easier in many ways. It can give you the chance to do homeschooling by using different learning apps and videos, it can help you buy plane tickets, rent a car or camper, book hotels or apartments, entertain your kids when you are on a long drive or flight. It also offers the opportunity to take with you as many books you would like. But what if you are old school and still enjoy holding a book in your hand while you are all curled up in a corner of the camper parked in the middle of nowhere in Australia, or laying on a green grass in New Zealand or sitting on a sunny beach in Thailand? Then technology is useless and your bags get much heavier!
Our family still enjoys the paper version of a book, we enjoy holding it, smelling it, picking it out in a book store, looking ahead to see how long to the end of the chapter (that is probably only my thing!). So how do you solve the book dilemma if you are traveling and have a weight limit? We all know books are heavy!
The Used Bookstore experience
We all started our journey with a book or two in our backpacks. I actually bought one at the airport too but for some reason couldn’t get around to read it for weeks. In Bali we were a bit lazy, except Cosimo who dove right into the ones he had, so by the time we got to Australia he had finished all his books! As we were walking around in Fremantle (Australia), we found a used bookstore. I thought it would be a great learning moment for the kids to see what they could do with the books they already read and at the same with the credit received buy something else. The kids absolutely LOVED this idea. We spent hours looking through what they had available. This is how Cosimo started to read a new genre. What they learned? There are many stories to be told and that at a used bookstore you can find some hidden treasures that maybe you would have never found in a regular bookstore because already considered “too old”!
We started setting aside all our books as we finished them and as soon as we got to the next town, with a used bookstores we would sell and buy more! Of course it isn’t for the money, but rather to inspire them towards new genres and to be flexible and open to read something new, also if not considered the book “of the moment”.
The book exchange experience
Another great book experience specially for me happened during our stays in the many campsites. While we were at one of our first stops I noticed a shelf full of books, the lady explained that I could drop off something I read and get one. This was the beginning of an amazing reading adventure for me!
I started reading faster and checking in every campsite what books they had available. I decided that I was going to experience whatever came to me and felt right. In the past 4 months I read many books, they are so different from one another, different authors, different stories, some fiction some real. I wanted to read a book on the aboriginal community and I found it, I wanted to read books that took place in the countries we were visiting and I found them! I feel like I sent my requests out to the universe and I received what I was looking for!
There were campsites that barely had any and ones that had shelves full of books. I found all kind of genres and often in different languages too. It was fascinating to see what travelers are reading. For my personal book choice I set a couple of rules: to read only books whose setting was in a country somewhere in the world other than the US and try to find some that explained more about the culture and tradition of the place, best if a biography. In one of the campsites I found a book that was written by a lady that was narrating the history of her family starting from the generation that moved to New Zealand. I don’t think it was even published and sold but simply printed for family members to read. I’m not sure how it got there but I loved it! After learning New Zealand’s history with the kids, going to a few museums focused on the colonization of the country and then reading this book made New Zealand’s past come to life for me. It was a wonderful!
What I have learned from this experience?
Books are an amazing tool to learn more about places, people, culture, realities or simply to take you places you have never been for sometime everyday and this tool should be shared. My months of travels have been so much more adventurous because at one point of the day I could simply sit down and enjoy the story being told.
You have to be open to new experiences and new stories. When picking up books along the way you might find plots that if you were in the comfort of a regular bookstore maybe you might not pick but when you have a limited selection, you have to make a choice, hoping just like when you go to the movies, that you will have a great time!
Up to now all the stories have been truly incredible and I feel so blessed to have found them on my way!