Make it real

On the road, but not with the bookstore. Flying to DC to visit friends, and wander for days through museums. And on the flight, by chance, the woman who sat next to me pulled a novel out to read about a traveling bookstore. Needless to say, I was delighted and immediately asked if I could take a photo, and explained how I actually was the owner/driver of a traveling bookstore. I went on – and perhaps a bit too much – about how there are a number of novels out there about traveling bookstores, but actually aren’t that many real traveling bookstores that I know of. When it comes down to really traveling, taking a vehicle piled with books outside the city limits to other cities or across mountains or to the coast – there are actually very few.

I am willing to believe my enthusiasm for this topic in that moment (the plane was still on the ground) might have been overwhelming. I’ve no idea why this woman was on the flight. I didn’t ask her. I wanted to talk about traveling bookstores, and in particular my traveling bookstore. Because it seemed that talking with someone who has a traveling bookstore would have so much more validity than reading a novel about one.

But she had other thoughts on this as she put on headphones, and that was the end of the conversation. But it did give me pause. I began wondering how often each of us might opt for some filtered down, packaged version rather than the real thing. Reading books about travel rather than grabbing a suitcase and hitting the road. Reading about successful entrepreneurs rather than trying to start a business. What about reading reviews of books rather than reading the books themselves? Obviously it isn’t just constrained to reading though as we do this with films and plays. Isn’t it easier to watch some action-packed movie with an amazing hero rather than going out in the world to do your own swashbuckling?

The flight ended. We politely said good-bye. I do appreciate the internal churning though caused as the result of our exchange and will attempt to be open to real experiences going forward rather than the Nespresso variety. I wonder how museums fit in?


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