Woman reading books on a beach holiday
Image: Unsplash

Reading on holiday: why you should leave the books at home

As an English student and last year’s Boar Books editor, you would expect to find me reading constantly and lost in a book on holiday. In fact, I almost never read on holiday and the only way I’m getting lost is by taking a wrong turn during a sightseeing tour.  I have the best intentions, and always say that I’m going to read for fun. It just never works out that way.

My previous few holidays have been short city breaks to Edinburgh, Barcelona or Prague. In one of the most recent I went to Scotland for two nights and walked from Glasgow to Falkirk before getting the train along to Edinburgh.

Whilst the reason I didn’t take a book on the latter was because it would make my bag too heavy to walk 26.2 miles and I’d rather have the extra snacks (a very sensible decision, I might add), I did take a book on the former holidays. It just lived in my suitcase the entire time and didn’t see the light of day.

No matter how much I convince myself I’m going to read on the journey, it just doesn’t happen

I knew I probably wouldn’t have much time to read as, only having four days in each city, we wanted to explore as much as we had time for. However, I at least expected to want to read on the plane. I’m not sure where this expectation comes from as I pretty much never read on the plane, despite plans to.

No matter how much I convince myself I’m going to read books on the journey, it just doesn’t happen. I either end up in the middle seat and accidentally leave the book in my bag in the overhead locker, or get it out and leave it on the tray table in front of me. I just can’t concentrate with all the noise and distractions, and the weird lighting coupled with the strange way flying makes your head feel really makes me struggle.

On a city break, my book stays tucked away at the bottom of my suitcase because I get up in the morning, get ready and go straight into the city to explore. I don’t sit and read and I don’t pack a book to take with me because I know that it’s just going to weigh my shoulder down. I would never take it out of my bag to read a few pages at lunch.

The problem with this is that I don’t like reading when there’s a limited period in which I can do it

In the evenings, I get home and begin getting ready to go back into the centre for dinner. Whilst it might not be immediate and I might relax for half an hour before, I am usually too exhausted from the day to pick up a book and get into it. I might tell myself I’ll read a few pages when I’ve finished getting ready and I’m waiting for others to get ready. The problem with this is that I don’t like reading when there’s a limited period in which I can do it. If I’m going to read, I want to have hours where I can really get into a book and read 60 pages.

Even when I go on beach holidays, I don’t read books then either. If I’m outside, I’m in the pool to cool down and, unfortunately, you can’t really read in the pool. I don’t enjoy laying in the sun so there’s never a time when I’m relaxing on a sun bed and want to read. On a holiday to Majorca in 2012, I tried to read a lot on a sun bed under an umbrella, but it was so hard to get comfortable.  

So it makes sense that when holidays are supposed to be relaxing, I steer clear of something which has been my main source of stress all this time

Lots of people choose to read when they go on holiday because it is relaxing but I am the opposite. After an intensive English degree and reading multiple novels per week, it’s difficult to find reading relaxing anymore. It has been the biggest source of stress in my life for four years. So it makes sense that when holidays are supposed to be relaxing, I steer clear of something which has been my main source of stress all this time.

Maybe once I have recovered and regained a love of reading, finding it relaxing once more, I may enjoy getting into books on holiday. But, for now, it’s just not for me.

Related Posts

Comments (1)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *