Welcome to Caravel Books, the literature wanderlust blog.
I’m committed to bringing you tales of cultural exploration through reading and travel. In the spirit of exploration ushered by the invention of the caravel in the 15th century, I aim to travel more richly than sightseeing.
For each major city on my trip, I’ll be reading a book. Selections will be set in the destination city, written by a national figure, or have some other relevance. You can follow my progress on this cross-cultural reading list here. I will also do my best to post other interesting tidbits – including travel itineraries, tips, and musings.
I have to admit, before embarking on this project, I was not a big reader.
As a recent graduate, the last decade and a half of my life has taken place within the structure of the school day. The garden has gone to seed, however, in the last two months. No classes, no assignments, no structure around which to build my restless ambition. With freedom, I’ve exchanged all of that for the opportunity to explore. Before I start work as a D.C. based consultant next January, I’m going to do some good old fashioned backpacking.
I’ve been lucky to travel pretty extensively for a twenty-one-year-old. Istanbul, Amman, Dubai, Beijing, and Shanghai – these are the cities I’ve had the pleasure of exploring. The worst thing is to travel somewhere and not be prepared. Not have a sense of why you are going and what you hope to learn. The trip to China stands out as a particular example. My knowledge of the country was paltry before I visited, based on AP World History and the excellent intergenerational memoir Wild Swans by Jung Chang. Definitely hazy by the time I showed up at PEK international airport.
Because of that haziness, it was much harder to stay focused during the tours, tai chi lessons, and cooking classes. I felt I was missing something essential, for me at least, to fully enjoy the trip.
Caravel Books is an opportunity to for me to avoid this mistake again. After all, books give us a sense of why we would want to travel to begin with.
Travel in 2016
I am beyond excited to set out on a European backpacking trip, the classic voyage for a gap year. I’ll begin in Iceland on March 8, then fly to Barcelona on the 15th, where I will spend 3 months as an au pair before continuing my travels.
The other things I’ve done so far this year include reading 1,001 food blogs and setting a microwave on fire. So I guess you could say I’m pretty excited to start having some meaningful adventures.
Subscribe to follow my trip, and I promise not to come near your microwave.