Have eReader, Will Travel

Reflections from the Unknown Reader

Cycling the Altmuhl River, Germany

Cycling the Altmuhl River, Germany

I am not a person who must purchase the latest, greatest trending devices when they hit the market. My cell phone is four years old, and I think I still have some of the same clothing I wore in college! However, I must confess, the thought of owning an e-reader made me weak at the knees when they first were advertised. I waited until April 2011 and then made the decision to purchase a Kindle for my husband and another one for myself. It was one of the BEST purchases I have ever made for a variety of reasons—many of which, you will be pleasantly surprised to learn, will enhance your travel experience.

My husband and I have wanderlust and our e-readers have added a whole new dimension to the travel experience. We have backpacked and kayaked in the arctic, cycled across many European countries, connected with long lost family in Northern Ireland, photographed wildlife in Africa, and are currently planning a trek up the Inca Trail in Peru followed by a wildlife photography spree in the Galapagos Islands.

An e-reader offers endless savings in the weight restriction arena—the top priority for our style of travel.

Sleeping Tents Okavanga Delta, Botswana

Sleeping Tents Okavanga Delta, Botswana

Prior to each trip, we peruse all of the available e-travel books on the countries we will be visiting and then download our two favorites. For last summer’s jaunt to Ireland and Botswana we chose to download Rick Steve’s Ireland 2011, Ireland Travel Guide by Lonely Planet, and Botswana-Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture by Michael Main, and we were not disappointed.

We also download recommended books—both fiction and nonfiction—which will enhance our knowledge of the history and culture of that country. Last summer each night before falling asleep in a Safari tent I read Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guideby Peter Allison. I thought it was the ideal book to read as the wild sounds in the night enveloped our tent! We love to immerse ourselves in every aspect of the country where we will be guests and we have discovered the more intimate knowledge you have about a country the richer your traveling journey becomes.

Our Botswana hosts were delighted when we greeted and thanked them in Setswana. Each evening, we could review basic words on our Kindle and in the morning our guides could not wait to hear what we had learned! One afternoon they gave us a tutorial on other Setswana words and were so delighted we wanted to try and learn more of their beautiful melodic language. We carry five or more e-books, which will increase our knowledge of a country but not burden us with the weight and bulk of actual books.


Cheetah, Botswana

We also no longer need to select our reading-for-pleasure books based on how many ounces they weigh and are not being forced to select books we both must have a desire to read. My tastes include historical fiction and science and nature, whereas my husband has been known to enjoy fantasy zombie tales and World War II nonfiction books. Now, if we choose to reread Pillars of the Earth—1,000 pages plus—so be it!

Thank goodness for e-books! We have discovered delays at the airport, long, long flights and sleepless nights in a new time zone are great opportunities to whip out our Kindles and catch up on our reading. Life is Good!

There is a plethora of ways to incorporate an e-book into your professional and personal life. Our Kindles have truly been a tremendous enhancement for our travel adventures! In my next blog post I will share with you my “must have” application. Until then remember my motto—have e-reader will travel!

Where have you traveled with an e-reader? What ebooks have served you well during your travels?

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