Books make you feel. Whether you’re aiming for that feeling to be wonder or wanderlust, picking up a book to take to the beach can transport you to a different world. And having the option to ‘armchair travel’, from right there on your sun lounger, can be a blissful escape.
As an author, one of my favourite things is to write adventures based around travel. In penning my latest novel, The Holiday Bookshop, I hopped on imaginary aeroplanes and explored alongside my characters. And as a reader, travelling via your books may unlock bucket list items you’d never have dreamed of.
Why should I take an armchair adventure?
There’s a heatwave in the UK. The skies – certainly above my coastal town in Devon – are clear blue, the sea glitters, and the urge to spend the day on my paddleboard instead of working is as intense as the heat. But hot days and still-hot nights beg for a good book. Something to devour while you sip your mojito. Something to lose yourself in after a day of grind. Romance. Adventure. A destination – far-flung or even down the coastline of your own country – to sink your imagination into. That’s why the beauty of armchair travel via literature can be so important.
Because… perhaps you’re not feeling ready to dip your toes back into the IRL-travelling pool just yet. Perhaps you’re saving, and dreaming of the day you’ll take your escape. Perhaps you’re booked, packed and itching to go, but picturing yourself sitting atop your suitcase in a long airport queue. Perhaps you’re already on that sun lounger, soaking up the atmosphere.
Whatever your situation, perhaps you can find your happy place in the pages of a novel.
So… Where can I go?
When your ‘flight’ is the price of a paperback (or hardback, ebook or audiobook), you can take yourself… anywhere.
I love an armchair adventure. In The Holiday Bookshop I couldn’t help myself, and wrote not only a story on a tropical, sea-breezy island in the Maldives, but wove in a secondary character’s road trip around the heat of Western USA. Why would I write two destinations, and two storylines? (Why indeed, I asked myself, several times during the editing process). It’s because I was writing what I wanted to read. A book about sand between toes, and also about driving with the top down. About topaz-blue waters and also about fabulous Las Vegas. I was craving it all… so I wrote my characters’ adventures and imagined myself going along with them.
I think that’s what we sometimes want, as readers, isn’t it? To read something that makes us feel like we’re right there, with the characters. Armchair travel in the form of a book can take you to pretty inlets on the UK coast, sultry paradises a hemisphere away, big city lights, snowy mountains, cabins in the woods, mansions in the Hollywood Hills, a bullet train in Japan (cough, The Broken Hearts Honeymoon, cough). Go wherever would make you happy.
So please, if you’re reading the paperback of The Holiday Bookshop this summer, feel free to scatter the pages with sand, drip ice cream onto the words, crease the spine during a snatched read on the underground or lose your place because you fell asleep in the shade. Let’s have an armchair adventure together.