For the last three weeks I have been travelling around Istanbul in Turkey and key significant archaeological sites in Greece with just one paperback book. No, my reading during travels have not slowed down. I have most of the books I want to read in digital format in my iPhone and iPad. I used to measure the length of my journey by the number of paperbacks I will read. Destination London one way is a two paperback journey (12 hours) while San Francisco is a three paperback one (18 hours). This means I usually lug around 10-15 kg of books in my luggage during my travels. If I have to choose between books or clothes in my luggage, books usually wins.
Nowadays I travel with only one paperback to read during take off and landing and at other times when digital appliances are forbidden. Otherwise, I read using my iPhone 6 plus (which has a larger screen) or my iPad. And I can carry more books. My devices has about 1,000 books on them. However these ebooks have no weight. My luggage is lighter and when it wears out, I will buy smaller ones.
I am also able to highlight, make notes and comments on my ebooks. This is extremely important for me. Another advantage is that I have Microsoft Word on my iPad which allows me to write while travelling. In the past I have to bring a laptop computer along.
Technology has changed reading and books during travels. At home I still prefer to read hard-copies-books which I can touch, smell and feel. I am still a devout hardcopy bibliophile. However, I cannot deny the advantage of ebooks for portability and convenience.
The paperback I brought along was Valerio Massimo Manfredi’s Odysseus: The Oath. Valerio is an Italian historian and archaeologist. I always liked his books. While travelling in Asia Minor and Greece, I find it refreshing to read this retelling of the Homer’s Iliad main protagonist Odysseus. I have enjoyed reading it. This book ends with the fall of Troy. I look forward to reading it sequel, Odysseus: The Return. Of course, I will read a hard or softcopy book, not an ebook one at home.