In an attempt to make the very best of our forthcoming trip, we’re constantly soliciting advice from others who have traveled on this kind of scale. Last week, we met a guy who had attempted a year-long sojourn several years back, but cut his trip short after about six months when all of his gear was stolen in the Czech Republic. Bummer.
Anyway, when we pressed him to give his single, best piece of advice, he offered the same counsel that we’d heard a few times before: Take the time to read books written in the countries that you’re going be visiting. Immerse yourself in the culture by connecting through some of the classic written word. The theory is that by diving into a world created by a legendary author, you may add level of depth to your visit. For example, one might want to read Kafka while sitting in coffee houses in Prague or plod through crazy-looking Tolstoy while riding on a train between Russian cities. Admittedly, it is not the most original or creative advice, but we’re still taking it to heart.
Today we picked up two books for the first two legs of our journey: New Zealand and Japan. We prefer fiction and after some research we picked up The Bone People (a Booker Prize-winning Novel by Keri Hulme out of New Zealand) and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle (a lengthy but seemingly fascinating novel by prolific and renowned author Haruki Murakami out of Japan).
I’ve always been one of those guys who says that he enjoys reading, but never seems to be able to make time for it. So, I’m looking forward to jumping into to these first two books and start dog-earing the pages immediately. I’ll be reading thick, heavy paperbacks that I can attack with a pen and flip through at will. Brooke, on the other hand, will be enjoying both on the convenience of her Kindle. Well, only if she can find The Bone People. Amazon may not have it available…load of bunk.
We are always seeking advice and input, so let us know if YOU have a must-read classic suited to one of the countries we will be visiting that we should pick up and start bookmarking.