I use to read a lot. When I was a child, I read books like there was no tomorrow. Of course, I did not understand everything, but I kept reading and looking things up in the encyclopedia set my parents had gotten for me as a child. My main genres were science fiction and memoirs. Books are great because they tested your imagination and would provide fodder for you to create a world in your mind. Pictures work in a similar matter as books, but without the text, you have basically just an image or several images telling a story.
The cheapest way to travel is to have an overactive imagination and a public library. I could tell people that I have never been to New York, Alaska, Brazil, Japan, Germany or some other distant faraway land (that potentially does not even exist). However, I can definitely imagine what it would be like there. Reading allowed you to connect with characters and live vicariously through their travels and experiences. Flipping through someone’s photo albums is another way.
This generally kicked doors down to places I never would have imagined. No, I have never actually seen a yakuza gang fight or floated for days at sea, nor explored the jungles of a new planet that was not supposed to be there and my ship just managed to crash into it while on hyper drive. Regardless, it is like I was there. Books are truly amazing because you could experience all of these without leaving the comfort of your home.
Then one day, maybe, you get an opportunity to visit some places that you have visited many times in your mind. For me, the day had come – I would finally visit New York City for the first time. The last book I read happened to be Jay-Z’s book, “Decoded.” He goes through a few of his lyrics and explains the meaning as well as the history behind each line. It is a great insight into the experiences he has gone through. One thing that it gave me was an image of New York City. His image of New York City.
Unlike movies, books give a different feel that you cannot simply grasp. It can be interesting how much emotion you could draw simply out of text. Without the visual image in front of you, you fill in the blanks and build around the description and experiences from the characters in the book. I love it. In Jay-Z’s book, you feel like you are in the city and you are able to meet the people he has met. A lot of times, stories are told and you have one of those, “you should have been there moments”. With a book, you could have been there…powered by imagination.
In conclusion, any book you pick up can transport you to a world you never knew existed or have yet to travel to. The characters you will never meet or the places you “need to have been there to understand” could all be captured in time, remembered in a book or picture.