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To be well traveled is to be well read…

Or is it the other way around? Well, doesn’t matter, they both add up to making you a person of great learning and knowledge. I started traveling hardcore about eight years ago. I’ve traveled extensively for months, and there have been times when for months, I’ve been busy with either work or pursuing other passions in life. No matter what, after such a great journey I’ve had in these past years, I’ve always felt the thirst, the hunger to seek more knowledge. Meet new people, think and talk about places, destinations that make for the best memories throughout.

So, apart from the fact that travel makes me a well read person, because I am able to do all of those things, I believe one thing that I always carry on all my travels, especially in the mountains, is a book! A book to keep me company and to give me time to unclog especially if I’m on one of those unplugged trips where I want to get away, off the grid from this melancholy of life that we lead on a daily basis.

While, my choice of books is varied, across genres of travel, sci-fi, modern classics, technology I always feel the need to pack more than one book, in case I want the choice to read another if I get stuck somewhere on one of them. Guess, what, being a backpacker, my first motto is always to travel light. And if I have to travel light, there have been times that I’ve probably traded an extra book, to an extra pair of jeans or even a jacket for that matter. That’s how perplexed I am after I’ve stuffed my backpack. I keep wondering, let me choose a few thinner books rather than one large size monster, cause what if I don’t like that book and want to read the other ones. Then I wonder, what if I finish all my books and I don’t have anything to read or have to buy one on the move… And yes, that’s why I always have my iPod, where I carry an additional audio book just in case, but mostly end up listening to music if I’m on longer trips.

Anyways, that dilemma has been solved, now that I’ve got the new Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. I’ve always had it in mind to get one of those, especially for my mountain trips, treks. I remember trekking the Sandakphu in West Bengal, and that was the time I had pre-ordered a mammoth Steve Jobs book, which was released around that very time. Sadly, I couldn’t carry the huge book atop, and had to leave it at the base camp. I did have an e-book version of it, on the Kindle App on my phone, but the battery wouldn’t last long enough to survive the entire trek. So I can actually remember reading bits, savoring the battery life I had and somehow manage to skim through some chapters before I could actually come back to the base camp and continue a better reading experience on my return journey back from Darjeeling to Mumbai. Add to that, despite having a 4″ screen, the reading experience is not the best and I admit, having a Kindle, would have been a great experience.

Cut to 2015: I was on another trek in the Himalayas, (Har-ki-Dun) This has to be one of the most magnanimous journeys I’ve taken in the Himalayas, especially because of it’s amazing view of the mountains, the landscape and the journey across a serene landscape of solitude of sorts! I could probably just stay there for years and years, if I have over a thousand books with me. One of those surreal dreams of being a sage, a relic in the mountains surviving on learning through the wisdom of books!

Har Ki Dun India Travel Blog srinistuff srinivas kulkarni

Thanks to the Kindle, now I can. I think as a traveler, this is the best gadget to carry especially if you are one of those who travel solo or travel with few people and don’t mind the company of a few good reads along with the conversations, imaginations and view of the landscape around you. I’ve been using it for over a month now.

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One of my biggest problems of choosing how many books to carry, or which one, is kaput! To add to that, I don’t have to worry about space in my backpack or my book getting wet as well, cause you can actually be worry free especially if you buy the Kindle cover that’s available separately on the Amazon store. The fact that it’s battery lasts for about 2 weeks would easily mean that you are sorted for about 15 days, which is mostly the length of most of my trips, and either ways, you have the ability to charge it with any USB / Mobile charger nowadays. While the earlier version I’ve heard lasts for more than 3 weeks, the ability to download / buy via 3G and probably the better user screen experience, could be the reason, why the battery life could use some more juice, it’s still a great advantage for a traveler like me.

For most travelers, the user experience of flipping through books, being able to read without straining your eyes, especially if you go for a mobile device to replace the actual books, then I think this Kindle is perfect for you. Probably one day, if my dream of becoming a Modern Day Relic, would come true, then I’d probably disappear in the mountains with nothing but a thousand books on this device and probably an iPod. That’s all that I need to survive in the realm of my imagination!

Disclaimer: While I mostly write about travel on this blog, I’m also an avid reader of books, especially e-books and audio books. The Kindle device was given to me by Amazon for my views on how it’s a great tool for a traveler like me. I’ve written this blog for my audience, fellow travelers as I felt this recommendation makes sense for you readers and I recommend this device on my own accord and makes a lot of sense especially for backpackers like me to carry a Kindle as opposed to many books. The views on this blog are personal and neither Amazon India or their stakeholders have any influence on my thoughts.

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