Travel bestows many gifts but one of the most precious is the gift of time. It's very easy for travelers to become overwhelmed by this newly inherited wealth of minutes and it's often tempting to hunt down activities for every second of these minutes. This is not an inherently evil desire. But some of the joys of travel are simple. Like reading.
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    Travel Inspa/Tip Book
    Examples: Vagabonding, How To Travel The World on $50 a Day. Books like Rolf Pott's Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel or Henry David Thoreau's Walden give you some basics to get started in long term travel, but more importantly, they provide a philosophical foundation for traveling with a sense of freedom and joy.
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    Ex: Snow Leopard, The Sun Also Rises, Cabbages & Kings. These are the books that reinforce the tastes, smells, sounds, and rhythms of your journey. Like that song that was playing during your first kiss, or that movie that takes you back to when you were a kid running through the sprinkler. These are the books that include you in something bigger than yourself.
  3. 3.
    Childhood Books
    Shoshin is a Zen Buddhist concept that means "beginners mind". The fullness and richness of travel requires an openness, an eagerness, a sense of Shoshin. To cultivate this it makes sense to return to our very own beginnings. There's something surreal and beautiful about reading childhood books to prepare for a trip or to ease the pain of a homesick heart abroad.
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    Historical Books (Your Own History)
    Ex: John Adams, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. There's nothing like resting your head against a thousand year old temple in SE Asia as the sun sets while reading about the creation of the comparatively young US of A. Reading love letters between John and Abigail Adams may mirror your own long distance romance. Or maybe the free wheeling socializing of Franklin in the coffeeshops of London or El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz's thirst for justice and recognition of peace and unity abroad. Either way dive
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    Spiritual Texts
    Headed to Jerusalem? Grab the Gospel of John for the teachings of Christ or a copy of the Tanakh to delve into the tradition of the Jewish people. Lumbini, the Buddha's birthplace? Meditate on his proverbs in the pocket size Dhammapada as you saunter through the many stupas and gompas erected in his honor. It's hard to imagine a spiritual text that westerners are more ignorant of than the Quran and a region more misunderstood than the Middle East. So what are you waiting for, dig deep!