In-between work projects, I've been trying to clear out the clutter... both physical and mental. My latest project has been to go through my massive store of books and get rid of all the outdated texts that are taking up space. I started with old computer manuals and then went on to web reference books for HTML, CSS, PHP, RUBY. From there I jumped to old software books for everything from Lightwave 3D to Photoshop. After that I went on to my travel books collection, which I can never bring myself to throw out.
And found something rather surprising.
Back in the year 2000, I was really starting to put some effort into seeing the world. I would use any excuse to leave the country, whether it was for a week in Japan on a work assignment... or just an overnight to Copenhagen so I could attend a birthday party. I'd go anywhere for anything just to say I'd been there.
I had always been collecting travel guides to dream about the places I could go, but now I was actually going, and my guidebook obsession went into overdrive. It's easy to find cheap travel books, because when a new revision comes out the old revision is put on half-price (or less). And I was buying them by the handfuls. Not only to places I'd already been so I could re-live my time there... but also to places I had no intention of ever going, just to see what it would be like to go there. Soon I was buying so many books that I could never read them all, and decided to stop. Partly because they were just piling up and collecting dust, but mostly since you can get all that information on the internet now.
As I was vacuuming off my collection I noticed that, with two exceptions, I've been to all the places in the dozens of guides I bought. The two books that are left are "Eyewitness Travel Guides Peru" and "Frommer's Australia 2001."
Add India, Amalfi, and Cambodia... and my top-5 dream destinations guide is complete.
All it ever seems to take anymore is time and money to make dreams come true. After re-stacking my travel books back on the shelf, I found myself wishing I had more of both.