One of my personal goals for this big tip of mine is to read. A lot, preferably. I know some of you were skeptical that I’d have the time or effort to read, but it’s actually quite easy. I will admit English-language books are increasingly difficult to find, though not impossible.

Plus you can always trade books with other travelers. And luckily for me, the people I’ve met are reading good books.

I’ve got a secret list of books I want to read on this trip (too many to properly list) because I really do have the time. One of the first books on this list is Cervantes’ Don Quixote and I snagged a copy of the book while I was in Seville. It just seemed so appropriate.

“At this point they came in sight of thirty to forty windmills on the plain. As soon as Don Quixote saw them, he said to his squire, “Fortune is arranging matters for us better than we could have shaped our desires ourselves, for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay, and with whose spoils we shall begin to make our fortunes; for this is righteous warfare, and it is God’s good service to sweep so evil a breed from off the face of the earth.”

“What giants?” said Sancho Panza.

“Those thou seest there,” answered his master, “with the long arms, and some have them nearly two leagues long.”

While I was running around Andalusia on buses from Malaga to Cadiz, Cadiz to Gibraltar, through & back again to Tarifa, I passed by hundreds of windmills. Not the same kind Don Quixote saw, but windmills none the less.

Wind

Tarifa, Spain is on the very tip of the southern coast. It’s extremely windy there (kite surfing is hugely popular on the beach) which explains all the wind power they’re harnessing up on the rolling hills. (Not to mention Spain is one of the world’s top producers of wind power.)

Wind

There’s something Romantic (with a capital R) about the Spanish winds though I can’t quite put the words to my mouth. Maybe it’s to do with the changing of rulers (Christian, Moors, Franco) across Iberian history, or the fluid Flamenco skirts the women wear.

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14 comments

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  1. Adam

    One thing I've noticed is you only have time for what you make time for. Travel can keep you busy but if reading is one of the things you want to do while traveling, there's certainly no lack of time to do what you want.

  2. MeganRTW

    This is definitely something I've really been looking forward to – having a whole lot of time to do nothing but read!

    I've been lucky with books so far, having managed to find some really great ones to swap for here in Turkey (Yann Martel, Marilynne Robinson) – am a bit worried that once I head into the Middle East and Asia decent English-language novels will be few and far between!

  3. Because I'm a movie geek:

    Wasn't the movie Volver supposed to have taken place around this area?

  4. Adam

    Hi Erica,
    Not sure about that though I did see the movie. I'm a bit of a movie geek myself!

  5. Adam

    Thanks Suzi! I'll definitely check out your site. I like the idea of books organized by country. It almost makes more sense than alphabetizing by author.

  6. Adam

    I'm thinking of adding a book section as well… just gotta see if I keep it up. I think there are some sites that you can find books around the world as well: bookcrossing.com for example.

  7. It's one of the great joys of travel, having the time to read on those long journeys – and discovering books you wouldn't expect to read as you go along. And it is even better if you get the chance to read books set in the countries you are going to. It really enhances the experience. If you want some inspiration in this department, we have lots of lists of books set in particular countries at Packabook that might help. Happy reading – I am jealous!
    Suzi

  8. hikebiketravel

    I read a ton on a trip too and ask my travel friends to bring books I haven't read so we can trade them around. If you're going to be in 1 spot for long maybe Amazon in the UK would ship books at a semi reasonable price though I could be totally out to lunch on that. I wonder about hitting up the local expat community or broadcasting your wants via twitter.

    Just added a book section to my website which over the next few weeks will have lots of suggestions over about 6 categories. Don't have Don Quixote on there yet.

  9. re: books, I actually used my time to read books I normally wouldn't pick up, if given the choice of say, an american library. and in foreign countries, beggers can't be choosers with stuff to read in english!

  10. Adam

    Oh yes – beggars definitely can't be choosers. So far I know I've been lucky — it's only going to get more difficult to find books for sure.

    You're right about trying to read things you normally wouldn't. I think meeting other travelers is good for that — because they can usually recommend authors from where they're from. Or even their favorite books may not be ones you'd ever heard of from your home country.

    Either way, I think travel & literature go pretty well together. A lot of people are reading while traveling—something I wasn't entirely sure I was going to see.

  11. Adam

    I know, right?! I just can't seem to get away from Spain. Definitely plan on getting back there again soon.

  12. Adam

    YES!

    Words on paper are almost infinitely better. I refuse to give up on books… no matter how heavy they make my pack.

  13. flexeble

    It obvious that Spain has left a lasting impression upon you, young Adam. A week (or a little bit more) has passed and yet you still write with a longing disposition of the place you left behind; you are after all at a more exotic location than the one left. right. IT seems clear that Spain has stolen your heart as it does so many travelers who visit, wish they could stay longer or in many cases wish they could live there. Spain is a romantic place, full of life, where (not to sound trite) people enjoy living life to its fullest!

  14. I lost my reading glasses day 2 and just got them back so I´ll definitely be reading. Sometimes its nice to get away from the screen and actually read words on paper.

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