Having just a backpack for your stuff and being a book addict don’t go together, you’d think.
But, at least when you travel New Zealand, you need not worry: There is the Backpacker’s Library! At least that’s what I call it – what happens is that a lot of your fellow travellers carry one or two books around and leave them at backpackers (the hostels) from where you can take and read them. Some of those places have quite a library now for it seems more books go into the system than out. When you have finished (maybe at some place quite a distance further on your trip) you drop it off somewhere and help yourself to a new paper friend.
The kinds of books you meet on the way.. maybe you’d never even considered looking at them. They do travel with you for a while or two, giving you new ideas and views, but at least I don’t feel I actually own them. I just borrowed them from that big library, the library that’s constantly on the move, not living in shelves in one building, but in many shelves, hands and backpacks in many houses and cars, a library that does not belong to anyone but itself.. or rather all that travel.
I know it’s a rather romantic idea and not a lot of people might share it – but to the rules they keep anyway, for you just can’t carry a lot with you.. I like it. You don’t have to pay for your reading and you do own it, somehow; one piece at a time. And you may keep the ideas and views you get. I like it. :)
By the way, my current paper companion is called <Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance> and looks like a good read. Maybe you’ll meet it on the road one day. :)
Edit: Just found another brilliant feat of the Backpacker’s Library: When you stay longer in one place you find new arrivals in the bookshelf every day.. a self-renewing choice of literature! :)