These days I find myself lingering in the travel section of bookstores. Even our local sports and adventure store has a travel book section. I spend much of my time there. I pour over the titles and imagine the places listed there.
While books often bring you to different worlds, usually those worlds are metaphorical. In travel guides and essay collections the reality of these spaces is poignant. Reading the descriptions of colorful fruits in a street market in Cambodia, I can’t keep from the back of my mind how easy it would be to hop on a plane and go there.
Easy is perhaps a relative term. Once plans were made they would be easy to execute. But until plans are made the thoughts will simply linger in the back of my mind.
I have taken to buying books of places I’m interested in going to. It started innocently enough. Just one book. On a place I very well may go come summer. But then… Before I knew it, a trip to a bookstore wasn’t complete without a travel book tucked into my stack.
As strange as this new collection is, I couldn’t be more exciting. I am already imagining shelves full of travel books; organized by places I’ve been and places I haven’t. When I go somewhere I can hold tickets and mementos between the pages, a miniature memory book of all the was and all that could have been.
These books will be my favorites. Of all the stories and tales that line the shelves, it will be the travel books–books full of potential for my own stories–that I will prize. I can’t wait.