Have Book. Will Travel.
I have been what I call a "vicarious vacationer" most of my adult life. My husband and I married after our sophomore year in college and eighteen months later we had the first of our five children. We decided early on that we were going to be a single-income family, meaning one of us would work outside the home (my husband) while the other of us worked inside the home managing our growing family. Thankfully I got to do the latter and during the ensuing years, all of our single income went into financially providing for our big family...which meant there was not a lot of leftover for travel.
And that's okay.
I think the fact that we lived with tightened belts for 30 years while we grew our humans uniquely positioned us (me, specifically, as the appointed household manager) to create moments that would become treasured memories as a family - all on a very strict budget.
One of our favorite ways to create those memories was through the pages of books.
LOTS of books.
LOADS of books.
During the early years when we had only one car - the one my husband drove to work every day - we thankfully lived only a couple of blocks from our local library.
The library was like a train station with stops all over the globe and our library cards were multi-pass golden tickets to ride.
And ride we did! We traveled the United States on an orphan train and learned that sometimes what you get turns out to be better than what you thought you wanted.
We homesteaded with the Ingalls family on the prairie and learned about sacrifice, family, community, and that we can live with less - & still be happy.
We traveled to the U.K. for boarding school - seven times! - where we faced our own mortality, confronted the forces of evil, and learned about the difference one life can make in the world.
We wrapped ourselves in courage as we did a solo challenge on the Island of the Blue Dolphins.
We circumnavigated the globe on a sailboat with teenager Robin Graham.
We lived for a season in the Catskill Mountains with our peregrine falcon learning independence (and the flip side of that coin, the need for companionship).
Like I said, LOTS of books.
LOADS of books.
As our kids grew, our adventures began to grow, too. Alongside our family's vicarious vacations, each of us also began enjoying "solo adventures" through the pages of our own books, which is when I first fell in love with classic literature.
I loved the language.
I loved the values of yesteryear.
I loved the characters.
And I loved the settings.
OH! How I loved the settings!
That ability to be transported by what you read as if you were there in person - that is what I am focusing on this summer, both personally and professionally through Pretty Literate.
And you are invited along for the ride!
We kicked off the summertime theme of BOOKISH TRAVEL with the Summer Road Trip Book Box in May. This unique book box contains everything you need to experience the Great American Road Trip - a road trip that you will definitely be glad you took! Featuring John Steinbeck's Travels with Charley in Search of America, this book box is packed with a handful of the best bookish souvenirs we've ever offered in a Seasonal Book Box, each item carefully curated to make your journey through the pages of Steinbeck's travelogue as unique and memorable as the author's original road trip.
May also began a four-part guest blog series by Monthly Book Club Member and self-professed traveler + reader, Mirah Welday. Mirah is the most bookish traveler I know and I have enjoyed so many exotic destinations vicariously through her from the comfort of my own home - and now you can, too! Mirah's first stop - Japan. See which novel prompted her travels around Kyoto by checking out A Travel Blog for Book Lovers: Part 1. (Make sure you don't miss out on Parts 2-4 in the series by clicking the tab in the lower left of the screen. I'll notify you when A Travel Blog for Book Lovers: Part 2 publishes.)
In June, we're heading to the Caribbean to sleuth alongside Agatha Christie's matronly armchair detective, Miss Marple. A Caribbean Mystery Book Box features a pretty paperback version of the 1964 classic and a one-of-a-kind bookish souvenir that you will definitely treasure. Handmade by our own Monthly Book Club Member, Heather Qualman, the accompanying gift to this book is hands-down my single favorite novel treasure ever included in one of our book boxes. Enjoy the book, soak in the sunny setting of the Caribbean, treasure the bookish souvenir. (Check out Heather's Guest Blog here. It is all about how she has creatively integrated her hobby & her love of reading.)
In July, we're heading across the pond through the pages of a book that invites the reader to have a rip-roaring good time on a hilarious holiday not soon to be forgotten. This book has all the vibes needed for a fun friends' trip and I've paired it with the perfect poolside/seaside/beachy bookish souvenir - one that you will use over and over and over for many summers to come. Make sure to check the Pretty Literate SHOP in early July because July's Book Box is going to also be a twofer - one author, two stories! (Psst! We are also celebrating 2 years of our Monthly Book Club in July by opening the doors to new members. I hope you'll considering joining us!)
In August, we're heading to the seaside inside the pages of a classic novel full of family, friendships, and a whole lot of memory making. In June and July, the book boxes are full of over-the-top summertime fun, but I know not everyone enjoys such a high-octane holiday, so in August's Book Box we're pumping the brakes a bit, savoring the slower pace of summertime with a contemplative, quiet, beachy book set in the most beautiful location yet. The bookish souvenir included in August's book box perfectly compliments both the setting and the story and I know this unique gift will get a lot of use during the last few dog days of summer.
In August, we'll also announce our third Seasonal Book Box of 2023 - just in time to participate in 2023's Banned Books Week. The Banned Book that we've chosen as our read-along this year is another destination book, so it will make another awesome addition to our summertime bookish travel themed novels...but the setting is under wraps until August, so please remember to check back. (Better yet, stay up-to-date on all the latest by letting me update you when we have new content, book boxes, or noteworthy news by sharing your email on either the pop-up form or by clicking the tab on the lower left of the screen).
We talked about this and so much more on Pretty Literate LIVE earlier this week as I shared a little about how you can enjoy a few vicarious vacations this summer + gave a sneak peek at what's coming up over the next few months. You can watch the full LIVE by clicking here.