The Romanticism of Words

I was walking around the bookstore at the weekend trying to pick out my reading for Africa and it suddenly dawned on me (like the metaphorical lightbulb) that there is something terribly romantic about the written word. About putting pen to paper and allowing your thoughts and emotions to spill out on to the page.

We now live in a generation that doesn’t seem to appreciate the art anymore.  Letters are sent as emails, memos are text to each other and books are typed instead of written.  Personally, despite the fact that I can type quicker than write, (as archaic as it may sound) still hand write all of my posts before I type them. It’s my process. I write out ideas for posts, the layout and even when a link or photo is appropriate.

There’s just something about seeing your hard work written down…you hand wrote those words, that masterpiece, that travel blogging award acceptance speech! (I’d like to thank…myself!)

I love the idea of the old fashioned book on my travels.  Granted, I wouldn’t say no to a Kindle simply for the fact its so handy but there’s something about seeing a battered old book on a shelf that makes me fall in love with the art of writing all over again.

I re-awakened my love of reading when I backpacked around Asia and when I spent just over two weeks on Koh Tao, Thailand I ended up reading 10 books from the exchange shop (beach lover and quick reader).  Knowing that someone had spent time and consideration on their chosen book before lovingly reading it and passing it on to someone else to enjoy was a great feeling.  It’s like the movie ‘Pay it Forward’ but with books instead =)

I wrote a note in each and every one of them; something inspirational to keep the next person reading the book whilst travelling and thinking about life.

After my bookstore visit I have finally decided on the 5 that I’ll be taking with me:

Cross Fire (James Patterson) 

9th Judgement (James Patterson) 

It’s Not Me, It’s You (Jon Richardson)

Life and Laughing (Michael McIntyre)

Mafia Princess (Marisa Merico)

(I’m also taking my Rough Guide – ‘First Time Around Africa’ just as a reference for each place)

How about you? What books do YOU read on the road?

Leave a Reply


  1. Whether I type out my post or hand write it depends on where I am when inspiration strikes me. For instance, when I’m traveling I write everything by hand and do the editing when I get home on the computer (unless I hop on a computer on my trip). When I’m at home, however, I’ll either write it out on a pad of paper while sitting out by the pool or on the beach or even while in front of the TV. I try to schedule “office hours” where I type up everything and sometimes while I’m editing the inspiration will hit me for another post that I type up. (I feel like nothing I just wrote makes sense!)

    PS I totally want a rainbow bookshelf like that when I finally settle down. I’m having to part with all of my books so I’m going to have to start a whole new collection.

    When I travel, I pack along light reads. Something that doesn’t require too much thinking. I really like David Sedaris, Janet Evanovich, and Augusten Burroughs.

  2. Great post! As far as writing my blog posts go, I have a little yellow notebook I carry around with me which I’ll jot down ideas/write ‘blog to do’ lists but I also have another notebook where I hand write a travel journal; that one’s just for me and not going to be published EVER haha!

    The books I have right now are lonely planet books on Melbourne and New Zealand (I absolutely love love love travel books!) but I love getting a book bargain from an op shop and passing it onto someone else when in done reading 🙂

  3. I love this post. I’m a total geek when it comes to things like this. I love literature and everything that goes with it and I love hand writing my posts and scribbling all my thoughts down and crossing things out and generally creating a little world that I can get lost in.

    I wouldn’t say no to a free Kindle either but there is something lovely about wandering around a second hand book store and seeing a battered old book with a few loving notes in the margins! 🙂

  4. @Elle – I’m with you…it depends where you are and what you’re doing. Like you, I’ve got a small pad for the ‘one liners’ I think about or my proper travel journal when I’m on the road. Also, again like you (I swear you were the person going through my trash the other night!) I have a bi writing pad that I jot down my posts when I’m out in the sun or chilling out with a movie etc. Don’t worry – EVERYTHING you just wrote made sense – I speak 20-something female brain =) Light reads are the way to go on the road…I have books about Presidents but I’ll save them for time when I can’t afford to skim read haha

  5. @Beverley – I love little notebooks; absolutely perfect for the random inspiration you can find in the most unusual of places =) I dread to think what’s written in your travel journal then haha Bargain books are fantastic, especially knowing that someone has read and loved those words before you =)

  6. @Monica – glad you like my words =) you’re right, when you’re in that frame of mind you can get totally lost in it; whether it’s your words you’re writing or someone elses! Seeing notes in the margins is one of my favourite things about exchange stores on the road…it’s that thought of you buying something, going back to the hostel etc and getting a peep into their world and what they thought of the book =) Love it!

  7. Now that I take a laptop with me, I do all my journaling on there. This is a recent development, and I have 10-12 small hardback journals from my earlier trips that I pull out and look at from time to time.

    As far as what I read on the road- I have been doing driving tours here in the USA for the past 8 years or so, trying to see all the National Parks. I usually drive by myself, so I can’t read while driving, but I listen to lots and lots of audiobooks. Many are about travel, but I also love some non-fiction and novels alike. It’s so easy with my ipod now, I can take an almost unlimited supply of audiobooks with me.

  8. Reading has always been my #1 favorite thing to do. Growing up, you basically had to tear books out of my hand, I read them in the bathroom, while at dinner, during church, etc. As much as I love the feel of an actual paper book, I’m looking at investing in a kindle for travel. It’s so much more portable and convenient.

  9. I love that first photo — so pretty!

    I type my posts but usually begin by writing out an outline 🙂 I send tons of emails on the road but am a firm believer in also sending random postcards and cards to friends and family. I do my best thinking when I reflect by writing versus typing — even if I use my laptop *much* more often.

    And I love book exchanges!!

  10. @Erik – I think looking through old journals etc is great…they’re like our own personal libraries =) Oooh you listen to audiobooks? I didn’t think about that one; a GREAT way to get your ‘read on’ without ever looking away from the road =) Think I might try one or two of those for Africa and see how I go – thanks Erik!

  11. @Sheryll – you’re buying a Kindle? You traitor haha. I know what you mean about convenience etc; I’d buy one if I had the money but for now, I shall keep falling in love with tatty old ones. You sound just like me as a child…I would literally walk into things whilst trying to read =D

  12. @Heather – you sound like my kinda lady =) I’m always on my PC/laptop but feel like I’m most productive when I’m putting pen to paper! Book exchanges are one of the best things when travelling…book choices are very personal so when you read someone elses and they’ve written notes in it etc, it feels like a window into their lives!

  13. Jen

    This is well cute, I’m totally the same, I hate staring at a screen and I have to hand write my posts first too…granted probably not as neatly as your, and usually mine are full of doodles and random notes like “buy milk” and random words I write as I’m speaking them.
    Once I found a book on a train that in the cover had a list of signatures and dates and at the top it said once you’ve read this please leave somewhere for another person to enjoy, it was so good thinking I was reading something that had travelled the world x

  14. I love this Toni. Sometimes we get so caught up in the cyber world that we forget how lovely a handwritten note looks and feels. I’m not on the road at the moment, but I am currently reading ‘The End of Mr Y’. So far I am enjoying it – it’s a little bit more scientific and theory-driven than I normally go for, but it’s about time I went off the beaten path! Might reward myself with some chick lit after this 🙂