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travel: book reading

here’s a fun news flash… i’m a book nerd.  my friends, most of them, also book nerds. my husband, definite book nerd.

because of that, when we travel, there are extended conversations of what books are being brought and why.  there is also book trading, bargaining and for all intents & purpose, almost a psuedo-book club.

it’s good times.

in addition to being book lovers, myself & most of my friends are FAST readers.  and that’s no joke.  we devour books and race through them in a day or two max.  so when you’re on, say, a week long vacation, that’s at least 4 books that you have to bring.

i have a pretty solid reading regimen for my travels… i bring an old favourite (usually one of two that are my “travel books”) and i bring a few new ones.  then, i buy a magazine at the airport in each direction and sometimes another book, if something catches my eye. so basically by the time i get home i’m lugging around 3-4 books and a couple magazines.  every time.

my standby travel books are my two favourite books.  they’re both books that i love deeply, and while i could pick them at in any place, at any time and start reading, i have that ridiculous drive to finish it front to back whenever i see them.  book 1 is fear & laothing in las vegas by hunter s thompson and the second book is the witching hour by anne rice.  no lie, i have read one of these books (sometimes both) on every single vacation that i’ve been on in the last 10 years.
i’m on my 3rd copy of the witching hour and my 5th copy of fear & loathing.

i hard-core LOVE this book.  and funnily enough, i’ve come across a few friends lately that have never read it… so i’ve been lending it out.  and because i’m OCD about this book, every time i lend it, i have to reread it again because its out.  so right now i’m about 2/3 of the way through it and i’ll probably finish it on the plane.  and maybe start it again if i rip through my other reading, lol.  i never ever get sick of this one.

my “new” reading for this trip is two food books… the first is from anthony bourdain, and while it’s not “new”, it just arrived in my mailbox from amazon last week, so it’s new to me.

i think that the knowledge that anthony bourdain is fucking awesome pretty much goes without saying, so i’m stoked to read this.  also, i’ve been watching a LOT of No Reservations lately, so it’s kinda timely for me.

the other pick is from jeffrey steingarten, who my fellow food lovers might recognize from being the most frequent judge of Iron Chef America.

both books are about food, travel & humorous observations, so i think they’re perfect for my hawaii trip.

then, on the back up reel is my ipad… i didn’t get a chance to download as many books as i would have liked, but my time has been at a bit of a premium lately.  so i grabbed basically a bunch of books that i already own in hard copy and put the on my ipad, so if the mood strikes me to continue reading the witch series from anne rice, i can do that… or if i wanna jump to vampires, well, i can do that too.

having my ipad has made traveling infinitely more awesome.  it’s so freaking handy to basically have a hand-held computer… and really, in the usa especially, free wireless is everywhere, so it’s even better.

but the whole book thing has been especially great.  don’t get me wrong, the ipad will NEVER replace my books, but they sure do make travel reading easier and more accessible.  no longer do i have to lug around 5 books on my trip, now i can load up hundreds on my ipad and read whatever i want, whenever i want.  technology is magic.

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travel: always be prepared

well team, i’m off today for 15 glorious nights in hawaii.  so i’m just working on all that last minute stuff… you know, laundry, packing… blogging?  sure.

it occurred to me a couple weeks ago that i am in need of new luggage.  i’ve never actually owned a proper luggage set, just random suitcases that i’ve acquired as the need for them has come up.  i have no proper carry-on size suitcase… i’ve always just used backpacks… fine for the random things to carry when you’ve checked a bag, but not so great for those weekend trips where you really could just get away with that little bag.
also, my mid-size suitcase is starting to not zip so well… and my larger one is so giant that filling it means that my bag is always overweight.

so yes, it was time.
i’ve been on the hunt for a while… hard case or soft case?  this was the dilemma.  hard cases are lighter, but are they more durable?  i just wasn’t sure… but then i thought about it, and really, it’s not like i’m going to have this suitcase for the rest of my life.  i’ll use it for 5 years or so and then it’ll give up the ghost because i just travel so damn much.
really, my main priority was getting a bag with the 360 spinning wheels.  if you’ve never owned a bag with this, you’re doing yourself a disservice.  they’re so far superior, it’s actually not even fair.

so, after a lot of shopping around, price hunting and quality control, i am now the proud owner of an actual brand new, high quality set of matching luggage.

and i’m pretty stoked on it. they’re totally awesome.

i’m using the small one for my carry-on bag and the medium size one for my checked luggage.  but the big daddy is sitting this trip out.  he’s for my big trip to europe in september/october.

i went with heys, and yes, i did go for the hard shell.  they’re customizable with these cool dot stickers, but i’m not sure if i’m going to use them or not.  i might just throw on one or two so that i can be sure its mine.
but, i’m pretty happy.

now that i have the luggage, i’m on to the actual packing part.  the good news is that for 12 or my 15 nights, i’m in a condo with laundry, so i don’t need to pack everything i own for this trip.  also, it’s hawaii.  i really just need bathing suits & dresses.
buuuuut… packing is not really my strong suit.  i’m forever jamming my suitcases full of stuff i don’t wear at home, let alone on vacation.  and i usually come back with a lot of things that never saw the light of day.  so, i’m trying to do better with that.

the one thing i am really good at is the paperwork.  i mean, as a travel agent, i should be, but it’s definitely where my organization soars.  i have files and folders of things that i may or may not need.  this trip includes: plane tickets, hotel confirmations, spa confirmations & gift certificates, restaurant, luau & tour confs, more plane tickets, condo info & maps and various “facts & must-do’s” for maui.

but overall, i have very little planned.  it’s hawaii.  just being there is the plan.
tomorrow i have a massage, facial & body scrub at the spa at the hilton.  dec 23rd we have a luau booked… and dec 26th is my organic farm tour.  that’s it.
(unless you count dec 29th where i cry and hang on to a palm tree as my family tries to drag me home.  but that’s more of a tentative plan)

the other things to be penciled in are: molokini snorkeling trip, maybe the road to hana… ummm… maybe the sunrise over the haleakala crater?  because, i mean… come on! look at this!

ya, that’s pretty much the reason i’m packing my tripod.

alright, and speaking of packing, i best get on it.  the flight leaves at 2:30pm and i tried to check in online, but have already been flagged for “additional random checks” (hooray) so we’ll be getting there extra early.

i may or may not be blogging from destination… i have internet access, i just might not care to be on it that much, lol.  merry xmas & junk!