Why I Don’t Read While Traveling

Andrew Losowsky has a great HuffPost article on choosing books for vacations.

The article brings to my mind a  trip to Texas for a family event. No, I didn’t pick any book to read for the trip. No magazines or newspapers, either. The trip gave me the chance to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes: letting my mind wander. Not that it doesn’t when say, I’m watching the washing machine slowly creep toward the rinse cycle, or watching that pot of rice simmer for many more minutes than the package has advised. Real mind wandering occurs when a person is sitting back in a tube with wings hurling through the air.

So why do I do this? Am I not busy enough, preoccupied enough, bogged down enough with daily doings to have my mind locked in a perpetual “what’s next?”

Sure. And that’s the reason I give my mind a rest.

And as it is, my technology is decidedly pre-2007. I have no smartphone, tablet or laptop. If I don’t have a newspaper, magazine, or book to read while traveling, I’m not going to much to do except sit and think.

And that’s fine with me.

I don’t fly often. I’m not the person who’s anywhere near becoming a frequent flyer, racking up miles, devising the perfect carry-on bag and calculating the smartest gate security strategy.

When folks find out about this mind wandering stuff, they usually say, “But you’re a newsman! You’re a writer! How can you stand it?”

Everyone needs a vacation from their vocation. And I’ve never been the type of person hardwired to stay busy. Newspaper copy editing and page design requires intense concentration for long periods of time. So does writing novels. Sometimes, the best thing for my brain is recess.

Don’t worry, I won’t be standing in line at the airport book store selecting a title.

But next time I fly, I’ll probably have technology more in tune with, say, 2012. Perhaps  a tablet loaded with stuff to read. A mind can only wander so far for so long.

What do you do to allow your mind to wander?

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