What if I told you that you could hear “Welcome to Lagos” for under twenty dollars?* That you could one-up those great $100 flights to Iceland by getting there for just $10, and with Sjón as your guide, no less? That a sojourn in Italy is available for less than the cost of fancy leather shoes?
I’m not trying to sell you a timeshare, and there’s no snake oil involved. All of this is true. All that’s required is: a book.
This is not bait-and-switch, y’all: I am earnestly recommending that you take to your calendar, locate a free coming weekend, and make plans to get away—all for the cost of a paperback and a hotel room.
It’s the best kind of staycation: one where you’re technically still local, but not actually at home. I’ve done this for readathons before, and it’s totally worth whatever reasonable rate you secure on Orbitz or Airbnb: you pack an outfit to read in, your toothbrush, and your chosen books; you grab some coffee drinks, water, and snacks on the way; you check in to your overnight place; you fill the ice bucket for the victuals; and you veg out to books.
You can read all night without loved ones interrupting you, without getting distracted by undone dishes, and without being prodded for love by your pets. It’s just about you, even if it’s just for one night. You can be in the same town and feel worlds away; or you can go a few towns over and be foreign enough to make a walk outside between chapters or books still feel…distant. Separate. Like the nettlesome things that command your attention at home have truly been vacated for awhile.
There’s no passport required, and no one’s going to ask if you’re up on your shots; you don’t have to brave airport lines or crowded buses. You’re there almost instantly, and then you crack your book, and you’re already somewhere else. It’s magical.
Here are a few places that you can escape to now, with very little planning required:
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
New York City
Open City by Teju Cole
The Sly Company of People Who Care by Rahul Bhattacharya
Stiltsville by Susanna Daniel
Iberia James Michener
NW by Zadie Smith
Rain Birds by Harriet McKnight
One Hundred Years of Solitude Gabriel García Márquez
The South Pacific
Frangipani by Célestine Vaite
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
No Man’s Land by Duong Thu Huong
Thoughts on Driving to Venus by Christopher Pratt
Please, leave your own readcation recommendations in the comments.
*Room and board not included.