One of the things I find most enjoyable over the Christmas break, is the time to sit back and read. Just for fun. For the pure, unadulterated pleasure of it. Just to feel a book in my hands, a soft pillow behind my head, and not care what the time is, or how much of it has passed – until my tummy rumbles or I feel it’s time for a cup of tea.
When you run a business, you find most of your reading is, in some way, chosen to support improving your business. It could be new studies released, new business concepts, new psychologies, new processes, new ideas. But all of your reading is focused on providing a better service to your clients.
But in Australia (where I live) Christmas, New Year (and my birthday!) are all in summer. Lazy, hot, kick back your shoes and chillax summer. Sleep in, swim, entertain, catch up with family and friends – it’s a wonderful time of year.
And, as I said, the chance to read – just for fun.
So I read one book this Christmas break – and it was A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson.
It charts his walk, with his friend Stephen Katz, along the Appalachian Trail (AT) on the east coast of the United States.
It’s usual Bryson, laugh-out-loud funny, witty, observant, honest, packed with facts and figures in a way that makes them enjoyable to read. And with Bryson, I learn stuff, really interesting stuff, about another country.
I had no idea that AT was such a monumental undertaking. Traversing 2,150 miles (the exact length keeps changing because the AT route keeps changing), across seven states, is a serious undertaking. And not everyone achieves it.
First there are the weather conditions to deal with, snow, sun, rain, stinking hot, freezing cold. There is the trail itself, which is often difficult, in one place they have to swim to reach the rest of the trail! Then you have the dangers, natural such as bears, cougars, rattle snakes and other nasties big and small. And then, sadly, there are dangers of the human kind.
It’s also not a cheap, as good quality hiking equipment is expensive.
And a choice of travelling companion could make or break your trip – or at the very least, the enjoyment of it. (That reminds me of my first trip to Europe with a poorly chosen companion – but more of that another time. Let’s just say it has given me stories to dine out on for two decades!)
And when talking to my husband Henri about it, it occurred to me that what Bryson was doing – taking time out to walk the AT (and I won’t tell you what happens because that would just spoil it for when you read it!) mirrored what I was doing. Taking time out – in my case, reading about his taking time out.
And I think I’ll write about that for my first post in February – because taking time out and recharging your batteries is absolutely vital to living a healthy life.
Until next week!
PS. I’m so pleased I bought Bill Bryson’s latest book, The Road to Little Dribbling, for my husband Henri for Christmas. I might even let him read it first!