Tales from a nomadic bibliophile (part 1) – For the love of reading and travelling


Paradise.                                                                                 photo by: Joseph Robinson

Having been enrolled in school almost consistently from the preliterate age of four until this past year, my social life and I struggled to make time to get through the never-ending list of assigned reading material. Needless to say, checking any titles off of my personal reading syllabus (which is now dictated and beautifully organized by my Goodreads account) proved difficult. However, a few glorious times a year, I would throw my course packs to the wind and stare lovingly at my dusty bookshelf, who stared back at me disgruntled because he thought he’d been forgotten–I was going on a trip! Whether it was to Grandma’s for the holidays, a cottage, or some tropical, piña colada slingin’ destination, I would actually get to read for–get this–pleasure. Oh, how we get so demanding while on vacation.

Depending on the type of trip, I tend to try to get as many pages turned as possible during the transit periods. Avoiding small talk with the person next to me on a flight by shoving my nose so deeply into the pages no eye contact could be conducted. Squinting my eyes and buckling down–and up, hehe– in a game of carsick chicken with myself until I feel queasy (which I have recently been made aware might be really bad for eyesight and potentially a subject for a future post). The train would appear to be one of the most optimal reading modes of transportation. However, now with the free wifi-access, I just can’t help but feel the need to take advantage of useless web browsing at 200km/h speeds! It’s a thrill and you know it.

Arriving at my destination, retinas destroyed and stomach beginning to settle, I promise that I do spend some time actually enjoying my surroundings and the people I’m with. However, the sooner I can get to my grandma’s most comfortable reading chair, a lakeside dock, or a salty tiki-hut with a book, the better. From there, it is known by those close to me to not try to get my attention, you will not have it. Unless, of course, there is some sort of adorable monkey or other heart melting creature around. That might even merit not finishing the current chapter. HOWEVER, the majority of the time, I’m completely absorbed.

Beginning to get to the point of this post, I think that where you read a certain book might alter your opinion of it, even if just slightly.

I should note that this theory does NOT apply to any of the Harry Potter series. Each one of my copies is filled with water stains and granules of sand from being purchased, then brought straight up to the lake to not be closed again until the final page. I know I would have enjoyed following the Hogwarts adventures just as much even if I was reading about them from within Harry’s under the staircase bedroom/closet.


Just get this bracelet off my wrist and give me my pre-ordered copy of the Deathly Hallows, PLEASE. 

Something I’m more recently discovering is not only the way I feel about the book I’m reading while on a certain trip, but how that particular book might have an affect on the trip as well. This is especially true when the book has sucked you in as any good one should. You think a bit differently when a book is consuming you. You think about the people in your life and the things you see with some relation to the characters and their going-ons. I believe this experience may even be enhanced while traveling.

In the last year, I’ve started to write the approximate date of completion on the inside cover of all the books I’ve read. This began as a way to mark my books to avoid theft. I’m not entirely sure where this fear of everyone I know being book thieves derived from, as I don’t think anyone has ever purposely taken a book from me, but I’m glad it started. Trying to recall when and where I was while reading certain books really started to get me thinking about the fond memories of both and the correlation between the two.

This post was originally intended to begin to list some of my most memorable titles and the trips that they effected, however, I would first like to initiate some thought on your part–the beloved reader–while I refine my own list.

– Is reading a priority while you’re traveling? If so, do you give any thought to the book you choose in relation to the type of adventure you’re about to embark on?

– What are some of the books you have read while on a trip, and do you believe that they have had an affect on your experience or opinion of the book?

– Do you ever (unintentionally) leave your book in the seat pocket in front of you while on an airplane? (Because I do this at least once a year).


About Alyssa Fowler

Alyssa is an avid foodie and party-animal with a severe case of wanderlust. Just recently completing her degree in Human Rights & Political Science focused in International Relations, she is now trying to decide where she wants to go and what she wants to be when she grows up (which is beginning to look like it may have to be picked out of a hat). The decision of January 2013 was to move to Vancouver, B.C., to do her Hatha Yoga Teacher Training and live with one of her oldest friends. Although an obvious prerequisite for "Unputdownable" membership, Alyssa loves to read and is thrilled to finally be able to set down some of the text books and start knocking off some of the titles on her 'impossible to finish' reading list. Although that list includes titles from almost every genre available, she generally prefers historical fictions or biographies (The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill being her most highly rated book). She has also been more recently accused of being too caught up in American politics. This is only furthered between 11:05pm and 12:05am with her addiction to the political satire of Stewart & Colbert. Trying to find adventure in the everyday, Alyssa is usually hunting down new music, baking (followed closely by eating), trying new restaurants, on her yoga mat, running, or enjoying happy hour with the ladies in her life. Preferably all in one day. To sum it up, she'd like to be everywhere, meet everyone, read everything, and experience it all. If that's not too much to ask? Twitter: @alyssfowlr Instagram: @alyssafowlr https://pinterest.com/alyssafowlr/
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5 Responses to Tales from a nomadic bibliophile (part 1) – For the love of reading and travelling

  1. Pat Lalonde says:

    Interesting and truthful post. I too enjoyed The Book of Negroes. You have Irish roots so you might be interested in reading Trinity by Leon Uris or Away by Jane Urquhart.
    Reading is most definitely a priority while I’m traveling but I do not give any thought to the book you choose in relation to the type of adventure on which I’m about to embark. I like to read non-fiction books or auto-biographies that are not too heavy while on a trip because they are usually my escapes from the drudgery of everyday life. My age has had an opinion of a book because it can change over the years as I reread favorites. With age comes experience and exposure so a changed opinion about some subjects. I once left a book in a seat pocket by accident and I was so upset because I was almost finished and did not want to purchase another copy. There are occasions where I will leave books on planes or in waiting rooms as a random act of kindness.


  2. Julia Kent says:

    1. Ummm yes. It’s actually in the top three priorities. I’d say the most important thing when traveling is to enjoy those you’re with (family, boyfriend, whatever), the second is to relax and have fun, and the third is to READ. I just booked a cruise with my Mama and I’m more excited about all the reading I’m going to do than the six counties we’re visiting.
    2. Well, for example, on my trip to Paris, the south of France and Barcelona in May 2012, I read the following novels – Fifty Shades Darker, The Hunger Games and The Color Purple. I don’t think Fifty Shades Darker had an effect one way or the other… and I read The Color Purple too fast (in one sitting)… but The Hunger Games kind of did. My Other Half and I were running around train stations and hiking pretending like we were Katniss and Peeta (he had read it at the beginning of the trip and I read it at the end). It was kind of funny and totally absorbing.
    3. No, not yet. I am quite obsessed with accumulating books to fill my three big shelves. So I never give them away… plus, I like loaning to my friends. So I need to keep them.

    Great post Alyssa!!! xo


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