Ebooks, audiobooks, & reading on the road

Life is full of tons of big changes, busy times, and some times that your brain feels enough like mush that just the thought of reading makes you tired. And sometimes reading just doesn’t, or can’t, realistically happen.

I know what you may be thinking, “No, but Jennifer, you’re a reader like me. Reading is a stress reliever for people like us. The book worms, and the introverts, we always have time to read and it makes us feel better.” Yes, often times that is true. I absolutely love to read, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. And reading, getting lost in these other worlds or learning about my own, it always feels like the right thing to do with my time.

Except for when it doesn’t.

Real talk time. My fiancé and I just moved from Washington State all the way to Texas, road tripping across states and time zones, and the move was intense. It was wonderful and everything that we had been looking for, but in a lot of ways it was also one of the biggest changes and most stressful times so far in my life – the seven day road trip, getting furniture up and down all of the stairs, figuring out how to fly with a cat! (Let me tell you, not the easiest part of the trip.)

So how do you read? And when? While you’re paused on the road and visiting with family? When you’re in the car being co-pilot? Or at the end of the day when you’re dead tired and all you want to do is curl up in a bed, any bed, and get about 2 weeks of sleep?

Sure, sometimes you get 10 minutes to read with sunshine (and adorable reading buddies) while visiting your in-laws. But those 10 minutes are never long enough.

Sometimes the answer is simply this – you don’t. And sometimes that is the exact right answer.

For me, I got very little reading done while we were in transition this last month and a half. I only finished a total of two books in that entire time. And even the two books that I did finish didn’t actually get reviewed until almost a month later. I was feeling like I was slacking, like I wasn’t getting anything done, and like I was wasting the little spare time that I did have.

And then I reminded myself, and my amazing fiancé constantly reminded me, of one important thing – this is what I do for fun. And to relax. When I am stressed, or upset, or don’t like the world around me, I read. And forcing myself to do something that I love when I don’t have the energy or the brain power to enjoy it to it’s fullest, wouldn’t be fair to myself or the books that I brought. And trust me, I brought a lot of books. Like, we’re talking an entire carry on full of books. I wish I was kidding. It was very heavy.

So here is what I did. When I had an hour or so that I knew I could take for myself and relaxing, I read one of my buddy read books on my kindle. Other times, in between albums and podcasts and some naps, we listened to an audiobook while in the car. And we stopped at a lot of Little Free Libraries along the way, when we needed to stop the car and stretch our legs anyway it was a great and bookish excuse to do so. And I got myself to feel alright with the fact that I would only read two books, and not put nearly the dent in my famous TBR list that I thought that I would.

So, for anyone out there, my advice would be this. If you are travelling, or moving, or just spending your time being stressed and busy, remember this – remember why you love to read, and don’t read for any other reasons. Don’t make your stress worse by creating false deadlines for yourself, it’ll make this thing that you love feel like work.

So during your travels research a Little Free Library or two, stock up on those audio books, and give yourself and the books the time that you deserve. And seriously, don’t fill a carry on full of physical books. Just take my word. Your back will thank me later.


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