Travel ... but first to the library

Recently, my husband and I went on a vacation. A long-awaited and hard-earned vacation.  After our camera was pick-pocketed on the last day of our Caribbean cruise honeymoon in 2011, robbing us of nearly every single one of our photographs, we were determined to repeat the trip as soon as we could afford it.  We wanted to retake those photographs, to recapture those memories, and to feel less cheated and violated…because that’s exactly how being pick-pocketed made us feel.

 Our honeymoon had been wonderful. We loved every minute and deeply mourned the loss of our photos.  We found comparable pictures online and put together as much of a memory book as we could, but one thing was still missing in the pictures: us.  So we saved and saved and got more excited by the day when it finally became a real possibility.

And then we started to plan.

Naturally, we wanted to visit some of the same places and do some of the same activities, but we also wanted to make the second trip unique.  It became our mission to research each of the places we were interested in visiting, make a plan, and get it all accomplished.

 Where did we start?  The library, of course!

In the Dewey Decimal system, travel books are located in the 910 section, and most libraries have travel books that cover the globe.  We were not only able to find printed books to guide our travel experience, but we also utilized the Ohio Digital Library to borrow eBooks related to our trip.  We had two amazing resources right at our fingertips, and both worked together to make our “second honeymoon” absolutely stellar.

We read.  We took notes.  We made photocopies and lists.  One day in particular—our day in Barbados—soon stood out as the location where we had the most objectives.  For that day, we mapped our route, calculated distances, determined we could walk everywhere we needed to go, and made an actual itinerary.  Our cruise ship would be in port at Bridgetown for approximately eight hours, and we were going to use every single minute to our advantage.  And looking back, we could not have done this without the library!

The day went 100% according to plan.  We walked through downtown Bridgetown to the George Washington House, where our first president stayed with his tuberculosis-ridden half-brother for about two months when he was nineteen years old.  It was a well-kept and extremely informative museum that we learned about only through the guidebooks we borrowed.

Then we walked up a hill in the hot sun and visited the somewhat less well-kept but just as informative Barbados Museum and Historical Society.  And afterwards, it was back down the hill to Brown Sugar, a highly-touted restaurant serving some of the most authentic Bajan cuisine on the island.  It was another treasure we discovered in the guidebooks, and although we weren’t crazy about the food, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

On our way back to the port, we stopped and spent some time at the beach on Carlisle Bay.  This was the first activity of the day that was actually a repeat of our first trip.  And yes, we stood ankle-deep in the crystalline turquoise waters and had a fellow tourist take our photograph.  Perhaps that would be the one to go into the carved mahogany frame from the first trip, which stood at home with a generic picture of Bridgetown inside.

A few shopping stops later, and we were back on the ship, exhausted, but extremely satisfied with our perfectly-planned and perfectly-executed day.  And a few days after that, we returned home with all 1600 of our new photographs intact!

We never imagined we could outdo ourselves on Trip #2, but we did.  Despite my penchant for both books AND planning ahead, I had never used a guidebook to prepare for a vacation, and it was worth every minute of researching and scouring those books.  I don’t think we’ll ever take another trip without first visiting the faithful 910 section at the library.  

Perhaps you’ll consider a pre-vacation stop at the library this summer, as well!

— Andrea Burton
is the Adult Services Coordinator
for the Auglaize County Library