I used to travel light. In my early twenties, while overseas for school, I grabbed a bag, put a few things in it, and traveled to Scotland for spring break. I’ve always thought of myself as a light traveler, taking only what I need.
Then I went to Portland last week to wrap up things on our new house and realized I have lost that gift.
I won’t bore you with the clothing half of the packing – who cares how many socks or shirts or underwear I took? No, it was the entertainment portion of my packing that I failed to keep a good grasp on. I left California with all kinds of visions of what I would do with a week alone. Sure, during the day I’d be working or managing house related tasks, but at night I was free! I’d write, obviously, and when I wasn’t writing I’d read. Worst case, I could watch any one of the dozen or so shows I’ve been meaning to try out or catch up on.
So I packed. First, I packed my journal, because I wanted to get that going again (that was actually a success). I packed three books to read – The Warded Man (re-reading-ish – I’ve listened to the audiobook), The Temporal Void, and The Lost City of Z. In the weeks preceding my trip, I was reading an average of a book every three or four days, so this didn’t seem too ambitious. I had a flight out and back, plus all that free time for the week in between. I also brought my Fire, filling it with graphic novels and comics, figuring it could also act as a video player for Netflix, Hulu, Xfinity, and of course, Amazon Video.
None of that quite worked out in the end.
My flight out was probably great. It was my birthday, and I flew out first class. I’m only vaguely conscious of most of the hour and a half because after getting up at 3am and being on the move all morning, I passed in and out for most of it. The rest of the day was social meetups, which I’ve already blogged about.
The problem became that the rest of the week, I was never quite at a point with enough down time to read much. And why watch a small seven-inch screen when I had a large screen TV in my room?
So there I was, in Portland, with three books, a notebook, a Kindle Fire, and all of it for naught. Even the times I did have legitimate down time, I found myself doing other things. Sometimes, that was just sitting and thinking. Sometimes it was daydreaming, which if you haven’t done in a while, I highly recommend.
Why physical books instead of Kindle books? Lately I’ve had trouble with screens later at night (when I typically read). The good news is that while on this trip, I confirmed it’s from a lack of solid sleep. The bad news is the biggest interruption to my sleep is the big furry baby.
So it turns out I could have traveled much lighter, because I don’t need to be entertained as much as I thought I did. On the upside, I have plenty of reading material for the next few weeks before the move. What I found most interesting is that within hours of being home, I was back to sitting in a chair and reading. The mind is a mysterious place, my friends.