Want to share travel inspiration and love to like-minded travellers through book exchanges? Join our travel book exchange community to give back to your fellow travellers!
Sharing Travel Inspiration Through Book Exchanges
A spontaneous Tweet of mine that I recently blurted out to the internet mentioned how I like to leave Lonely Planet guidebooks at book exchanges throughout the world. I love to write a little note to the new recipient wishing them a great trip, and in my attempt to simply share a little love with the ever-supportive Twitter travellers, it saw a great response. Turns out, I’m not the only one.
So, on the back of this unexpected mutual joy, the wonderful Elle Goes Global and I have decided to start the #TravelBookShare community initiative:
The goal here is to share some love as fellow travellers, and create a community of people who love a good book on their journeys. We hope that this will share memories, experiences, and become a kind of pen-pal exchange where people across the world share their stories.
Tips for sharing your travel books in book exchanges:
- Leave your Twitter/social media handles so the next person can find you.
- Remember to include the hashtag and be a part of our #TravelBookShare series.
- Personalise your hashtag if you’d like to keep track of your book, such as #TravelBookShareIceland.
- Show kindness, a personal touch goes a long way!
- Offer a few tips on the destination you’re leaving, or simply a little motivation for a fellow traveller.
- Leave them in likely places to be picked up (hostels in that same destination are a great choice).
- Take as you go, and give back as much as you can.
- Get in touch with a previous owner and see where the stories take you next!
- Share the word about #TravelBookShare to get others involved!
So, now you might be wondering: how did this all start? Let me share with you my book exchange experiences as both a recipient and a donor.
My Book Exchange Stories
Being A Recipient
My recipient story is a little unconventional. I was a short way through a 3 month trip to New Zealand and on a bus tour in Queenstown, when a girl in my room was attempting the dreaded repack. She was offering the odd items to others in the room, maybe a top she no longer wanted, a spare this or that. She was telling another girl about the book she was looking to get rid of, and that’s when my ears pricked up.
The book she’d finished was Amy Poehler’s autobiography: “Yes Please” and she said how much she’d enjoyed it. I had with me only a few rather serious books, and I thought I would enjoy nothing more than a touch of female empowerment non-fiction. When I asked her a little about it, and she offered it to me there and then! To be honest, I was surprised at how easy it was, and felt guilty I had nothing to offer back. It seemed, however, that it was (literally) a weight off her shoulders, and she was excited to see someone else make use of it.
Receiving the book was a blessing for me. I was soon without any of the friends I had made, and alone in Christchurch for a few days with a lot of time to spare. I read that book in only a couple of days, and in my loneliness and wallowing self-doubt felt inspired, heartbroken, overjoyed, and all the other emotions that come with connecting with a good book when you feel most vulnerable. I’m so eternally grateful for that book.
I never caught her name. I wish I had asked her to write in the cover page as we suggest you all do too, because I’d love to thank her for giving me a little slice of joy on my trip!
Being A Donor
My donor story is a significantly shorter one. The first time I left a book with a message inside, I was departing New Zealand and was desperate to ditch some weight from the bag that felt SO heavy after having the luxury of a car on our road trip. I impulsively scribbled a note in the front because I was SO passionate about New Zealand, and not at all willing to leave. I wanted to hold onto that book so badly, but I knew it made most sense to leave it behind and help someone else arriving into Auckland rather than me cart it around for another 4 months!
And so it began… I started to leave the rest of the guidebooks I had with me. The Australia book, the South East Asia guides: they are somewhere in the book exchange sphere with a short passing comment from their previous owner, me.
It feels pretty neat to have shared something with a stranger that way. It’s nothing especially life changing (I think!), but it’s something to bring a little bit of joy and love. And that’s all we can hope to do: small acts of kindness that collectively create a slightly better world.
So now I urge you to start sharing your unwanted books with the world – and use our tag as you go!
Travel Book Share Series
We’ll be sharing a few stories of book exchange experiences as part of our hashtag initiative. I hope this can give a little inspiration and a few more tips on how you can share your stories with the world!
First up in our Travel Book Share series we’ll be sharing Elle Goes Global’s story from Iceland. Can’t wait to hear where Elle’s trip takes her, and where her books go too!
If you’d like to be a part of #TravelBookShare or share your stories in the series, please do get in touch via my contact page, or shoot me a message on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! As always, happy to answer any questions, and brainstorm any ideas you might have to make our book exchange even better.
Stay tuned and see you next time!
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