Yesterday, I read an article on Matador about literature leading to travel. I tend to escape my tedious day-to-day life through reading, but it hasn’t inspired me to travel yet. I had always thought of reading and traveling as two separate related entities, but they’re more connected than that.
Because it was not traveling that inspired my love of the world and the need to experience it. That inspiration, that love, pressed itself against my malleable heart the moment I learned to read. The same qualities that have made me a voracious reader have made me a natural traveler.
I enjoy reading, and I want to travel. I just never put it together that my appreciation of the one might lead to realization of the other. The article’s author Nikki Hodgson devoured literature set in (for lack of a better term) the real world. Reading stories based in actual places like Alaska, Paris, Jerusalem, and Germany would focus one’s desire to travel. Because I tended to read fantasy, that didn’t happen. I’d want to go to Hogwarts, Middle Earth, or Narnia instead. But until I receive a letter, find a ring, or walk through an old wardrobe, I’m not likely to visit those famed locales.
You don’t have to leave home to be a citizen of the world. A ravenous appetite for new perspectives is all that’s required because it is not the act of traveling that shapes a traveler. It’s the insatiable curiosity, it’s the hunger.
Now that I’m reading a bit wider, I can see what she means. Memoirs of a Geisha did make me want to visit Japan, if only to see how it’s changed and remained the same. Crime and Punishment is the first work I’ve read set in Russia. And now I’m desirous of travelling there as well. When I throw myself into another world, either fantasy or not, I want to go there. Reading stories set in places I could actually go to, would be a great way to build my hunger to travel while showing me places I’d want to visit.