Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind. I wish I could claim this line as my own, but history tells us that the Roman philosopher Seneca was the true author. Wanderlust is a natural impulse—the desire to escape, to see new sights and immerse ourselves in different cultures and ways of living.
The travel bug really works its way into our systems during the summer, when we’re conditioned to feel a little more carefree and adventurous. I guess it goes back to our childhoods, when summers meant no homework and more freedom. It helps that the sunshine gives us a big dose of energy on summer days.
As adults, we plan day trips, road trips, cross-country plane rides, and global excursions. All of this travel requires planning, and the library is a great resource for everything travel-related. We have travel magazines like National Geographic Traveler and Backpacker, as well as destination periodicals, including Yankee and Sunset. Of course, we also offer plenty of books with helpful information to be utilized as you plan your getaways. For instance, we have essential guidebooks with tips and maps for locations near and fear, everywhere from the American coasts to the Outback of Australia. We can also offer you an assortment of fun location-specific reads that will tell you where to eat and what to do while you vacation, and inspire you to seek out the world in all its beauty and uniqueness. This includes books like Lobster Shacks: A Road Guide to New England’s Best Lobster Joints, Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, and Diners, Drive-ins, Dives : The Funky Finds in Flavortown : America’s Classic Joints and Killer Comfort Food. Trust me when I tell you that there are many, many, many more travel books and guides available at the LPL. With the help of our librarians, you will be ready to go faster than you can pack your suitcases.
Unfortunately, not all of us can hightail it out of town when the mood strikes (we wish, don’t we?!). Many of us will have to be content with the cheapest and most convenient kind of travel there is: reading. Popsugar has put together a fun list of 50 Books for the 50 States. Each book takes place in a different U.S. state; consider it a literary cross-country road trip (the next best thing to an actual vacation). There’s a little bit of something for everyone: classics like To Kill A Mockingbird and I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, some Stephen King and Charlaine Harris for fans of the supernatural, a healthy smattering of YA (The Fault in Our Stars and my personal favorite, Eleanor & Park, among others), and popular contemporary works, such as The Firm, The Help, and Safe Haven. You can also check out The Ultimate U.S. Road Trip Reading List, courtesy of Buzzfeed. Instead of focusing on a book from each state, this list includes novels and non-fiction accounts about characters who travel the country and/or the world in one way or another.
Set out to see the country and “read the country” while you’re at it.
We’re in August now, and I know it feels like summer is over, kaput, might as well start organizing the school supplies and unpacking the sweaters. Wait, stop! There’s still time! Summer’s not over yet! Take a trip, even if you only travel two hours away. If that won’t work, plan the next trip you will take, even if you have to wait a year to take it; just knowing that it will be there waiting for you will make the days go faster. And don’t forget about the books—they will always be there to whisk you away to castles and country roads, cobblestone streets and mountaintop vistas.
I hope that you make the most of the remainder of your summer. I would like to leave you with a thought from one of my favorite fictional characters from my all-time favorite film, It’s a Wonderful Life. At one point, George Bailey (the impeccable James Stewart….but you already know that) explains to Uncle Billy that the three most exciting sounds in the world are anchor chains, plane motors, and train whistles. Before the month is over, I hope these are the sounds that bring you exciting new memories.