Let's just start with a disclaimer.
I am not a mother.
This is not a tragedy, or a religious position, or even a steadfast decision. It's just where things are at. Sometimes I wonder if I should have been a bit more proactive about becoming a mother at various stages of my life, and I contemplate whether I have been unfair to all those ancestors of mine who toiled away to create a better life for their children and grandchildren. There they were making sacrifices so that their descendants could enjoy the good life, and when it got to me, it's as if I said 'Thanks very much for all that. I AM going to enjoy the good life you have created for me, but it all stops here."
But then, when I settle myself down into a comfortable armchair with a glass of wine and a good book for several hours, I think 'You know what. You can bet I wouldn't have a chance to do this if I had kids.' And then I remember that if I wanted to take off and travel to exotic countries, I could. I don't have to worry about the impact it would have on my children, or whether I can fit it in during school holidays. And that is when I am reminded of the positives of a child-free lifestyle.
As my sister (a mother of two) once said to me 'You know, I'd quite happily take a long haul flight (sans children) just for the chance for a quiet gin and tonic and a few hours of reading time. Then I'd fly back. Even without the holiday in between it would be worth it.'
So this is the situation.
Passion 1: Reading great novels
Passion 2: Travel and learning about foreign countries
So then I got creative.
OK - I may not have any flesh and blood children, but could I create another kind of baby out of my two great passions? And this is how Packabook was born.
Packabook is a website which looks at the relationship between novels and the places they are set. For more than a year I have been feverishly cataloging books into the country and sometimes city or region in which the action takes place. It's a fascinating venture, and I believe I may have even discovered some countries I didn't know existed in the process. I've certainly discovered a whole pile of great books.
But how does this help you?
Well, for busy Moms who have little time to read and travel, it may provide an opportunity.
If you only get the chance to read one book in a year (and I bet you think even that would be a miracle given your time constraints), why not make it one that is set in a country you have a hankering to travel to? I know it's not the same as going there yourself, but in the child-rich years at least it is some kind of alternative. Fancy visiting an island with blinding white sand and a cool sea? Try a book set in Greece. Seeking some great art and architecture, with a bit of romance? How about a book set in Italy. You might just want to re-live your days on the hippy trail. Perhaps a book set in India will do it for you. The opportunities are endless - all you have to do is choose the country you fancy going to, and then find a great read that is set there.
Of course, maybe reading a book about some glorious location is not what you are looking for. Maybe you don't need escape. Maybe you are perfectly happy right where you are now, with the kids running around doing their thing, and you managing five minutes to have a sip of coffee and a flick through a magazine. Maybe sometimes we just need to read a book to remind us how good we actually have it.
That should do the trick.
Suzi from Packabook
Packabook's mission is to search out great books and catalog them by the place in which they are set. With a constantly updated selection of travel novels from around the world, you will always be able to find something to find something exceptional to read.