If you were to ask me what my hobbies are, I would tell you that I don’t have many. Only three, in fact: reading, writing and traveling.
Writing takes up a lot of my time these days, and I am grateful to find myself in that position. I will always wish I had more time to read, but I keep a paperback in my car and, with modern technology being what it is, I carry hundreds of books around with me every day on my Kindle and my phone. Traveling? Well, that’s a bit more difficult these days.
During my student years I made a point of traveling as much as I could, working almost constantly to buy as many plane and train tickets as I did books. I visited almost every continent in the time it took me to get my degree. I don’t say this to be boastful. It’s just what I did. I don’t remember ever thinking much about it other than ‘ooh, there sounds good’!
After graduation, I realized I was so badly infected with the travel bug that there was no hope for me. I have been taking off periodically for years and I have no desire to change that. But. And there is always a ‘but’…
At some point over those same years I seem to have managed to get myself involved in a stable, loving, settled relationship. At some point, when my back was turned, I also seem to have acquired a car. And a house. And a mortgage. Travel then, has to take a backseat to responsibility. That is not as I would choose it, but I can live with it for the simple reason that I have books. I can read, and still escape when I can find the time.
Every time I buy a book I can go on a trip. I can go to cities in the world that I remember well, and ones that I have forgotten. I can go to places that I haven’t had the chance to see yet, and I can go to places that don’t exist.
For the cost of a few pounds I can spend hours living a life that isn’t my own. I can fall in love, be chased by ghosts, hang out with vampires – I can even be murdered if I so choose, and I can do all of those things without leaving my sofa. Hell, I can do all of those things without getting out of bed. I don’t have to worry about finding my passport or the mosquito repellent. I don’t have to worry about schedules and luggage weight allowances. I don’t even need to get dressed. I can just roll over, smack off the alarm, turn on my Kindle, and I’m there. Wherever ‘there’ may be that day, in that book.
I realize this is hardly a new school of thought, but it’s still new to me. Nowadays, I buy books instead of plane tickets, and when I write I try always to include some interesting or exotic location in my stories for the sake of my readers. In the case of my latest release, ‘A Secret Love’, those locations are Scotland and Peru. Mundane to some, adventurous to others, but that’s so often the way with travel. My paradise might be the town you grew up dreaming of escaping from, but either way we’ll end up there together – traveling together – and it’s a lot cheaper to travel there by book than it is by plane!