8th February, 2023


The thing is: I'm planning a short trip to visit my former host family in California in March. I haven't seen my "second mom" in a while due to Corona, so I'm really looking forward to these few days in my former home. However, being a bookworm, planning such a trip can be quite stressful. Here is why:

1) Luggage 
So I'll be away for only seven days and, considering that I'll have a washing machine at my disposal, I don't need many clothes, i.e. a small carry-on bag should be enough. It saves you the trouble of having to wait for your bags after you arrive BUT... what about the books I want to bring? I mean, I have almost a week there and two 10-hour flights. I need reading material! And being a mood reader, I need choices!! Conundrum! 

This is where I'm trying to be reasonable: "Stef, you'll visit several bookshops over there. This means you'll buy books. You don't need to take your entire library. Three to four books are more than enough." Yes, okay, sounds legit, I'll try and relax.

2) Luggage 2.0

BUT! So I'll take only a small bag, but when I'm buying books over there, will they all fit in there? I'm basically back at where I started with my argument. Damn! Again, I tell myself to be reasonable: "Books are more expensive in the US, so you won't buy too many (only like six, or seven, or ten... at most... maybe) and they'll fit. Stop worrying!!" Alright, I'll take this as an exercise in self-control. I'll take a small bag and will therefore have to restrain myself when it comes to shopping. Piece of cake. Or is it? Hmmmm…

3) Seat Selection on Plane
Good, now that the luggage question is out of the way, I need to decide which seat to book on the plane. Window is a no brainer, but which section and which side of the plane? Yes, that IS a serious problem. On my airline's webpage I can see that there is a whole block of seats already reserved in the back which probably means a larger group of travelers and, as a reader, you do NOT want to sit anywhere close to them. Most of these groups tend to be noisy and I want to make the most of the time with my books and some good movies so I'll choose a seat as far away from them as I can get to hopefully get some quiet time. Good. So left or right side of the plane? Left will give me lots of natural sunlight but then that might trigger a migraine. Right will be less bright but also maybe a little too darkish, especially if I want to take one or two pictures for Instagram. I know, first world problems, but the struggle is real!... I end up chosing the right side as this will give me a lovely view of LA when we land. 

4) Which Books to Bring on the Plane
Which book is suitable for a long-haul flight? I sometimes have trouble concentrating when I'm flying so it shouldn't be too heavy stuff. At the same time I don't want it to be too fluffy. Help! Okay, I'll decide on a selection of different books so I have one for every mood. Maybe a bestselling novel, a collection of light essays and a favourite classic comfort read. I'll have a think.

5) Which Bookish Places to Visit
I lived in California for a while years ago and have visited numerous times so I don't really need to do the typically touristy stuff. There are a few places, however, I haven't seen yet and I'll try to hit at least the more bookish ones (some of which are also connected to film and TV). For one, I have a trip to Ojai's open air bookstore Bart's Books planned with my sisters. And while we're driving we could stop at that new store in Santa Monica and maybe go back to The Last Bookstore...

See? It's difficult, and these are just some of the troubles and decisions you're facing when bookworms are traveling. I'll keep you posted. :-)

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