I keep a list of books to read. A book can be added to this list because I walked through a bookstore and liked its cover or because I read a review. I also add books that have been recommended or mentioned on the book jackets of other books.
If it seems random, it is. I don’t second guess myself. When I’ve finished the book I’m reading, I go to my list and purchase or check out from the library the next book on the list. I often have no idea how a book came to be on the list or what its about. I simply trust my list.
When I was on my last trip I finished the book I was reading (or e-reading if there is such a verb) so went to the next e-book I’d downloaded for the trip. That book was Paulo Coelho’s “Aleph.” In one of those wonderful moments where what you’re reading aligns with what you’re doing or your location, Aleph’s main character goes on a long journey just as I too embarked on a long journey.
I felt the author and I were on the same wavelength when I read:
“After weeks on the road, listening to a language you don’t understand, using currency whose value you don’t comprehend, walking down streets you’ve never walked down before, you discover that your old “I,” along with everything you ever learned, is absolutely no use at all in the face of these new challenges, and you begin to realize that buried deep in your unconscious mind there is someone much more interesting and adventurous and more open to the world and to new experiences. Then there comes the day when you say” “Enough!”
I had felt the wonder of being in India, the delight of being in Paris, and the confusion of China but at the moment of reading this passage, I too was ready to say enough. However, like the main character in the book, it was not enough. There was more, much more for him and for I to learn. One thing you learn traveling, is how to travel and how to appreciate the place where you are even if you’d rather be home sleeping in your own bed.
As I finished the book, I learned to appreciate the opportunity I had been given to meet some fascinating people and to see more of the world than most will ever will get the chance to.
The right book at the right moment.