Travelling is a luxury, they say. We probably never realised it as much as we do now, as we all sit locked in, waiting for the pandemic to blow over. I’m sitting on my bed writing this right now, and it’s a bit of a novelty. You know why? Because I’ve managed to travel away from my desk and try to get a change of scene. That’s right. Earlier, my change of scenery used to be writing and creating from exotic places, pristine beaches, valley views, but today, this is the normal I’m used to. When it comes to stories, not a lot has changed, though. I still hold on to the belief that a story can be found anywhere, whether at a new corner of the world or the safety of your own home.
I’ve always been a sucker for stories.
I’ve been an avid reader since I was a kid. I was that kid who had her nose buried in a book the second the lunch bell hit, and while other kids used to be playing in the school corridor, I’d be the one reading. Somewhere along the line, though, with college and work, the habit just.. dropped off, and I stopped reading altogether. I didn’t even realise how much I missed stories until I found them in a different way when I began travelling. I’d find stories wherever I went – something about a place, or maybe a person I’d meet, or a family recipe passed down through the ages that I was getting to try. There was always something new and fascinating that would open up my mind.
Somewhere along my travels, I started realising why I loved stories so much and how much I missed the fictional tales I was obsessed with when I was a child.
In a way, travelling reconnected me with my love for stories, whether in life or through books. Books, after all, turned out to be the earliest form of travel I ever did. I made a promise to return to them, and return I did. I started picking up books again and carried them with me on my commute to work or for long-haul flights. I started reading again, but then I realised something had changed.
I couldn’t read in a moving train; my motion sickness would act up. I couldn’t read after a long day at work because it was dark on my way home. I couldn’t carry books with me when I was travelling because they were heavy.
I happened to mention my conundrum to a friend, and she sent me an audiobook she was listening to. I was opposed to the idea of it initially – it just didn’t sit with me, the idea of listening to a story as an audiobook, but you know what? My earliest memory of stories is my grandfather narrating them to me as he put me to bed. That changed things, and I decided to give it a shot.
Well. Long story short (pun unintended), I commute, travel, do whatever I have to without carrying a bunch of books in my bag, but I still have them with me. I carry them in my phone to plug in and listen to an audiobook whenever I feel like it. I don’t feel guilty about not reading anymore because the stories are with me in my pocket. Picture it – a long train journey with me gazing at the rolling countryside while listening to The Alchemist (which is a beautifully written journey of a boy who’s looking for a ‘treasure’ and goes around the world to find it, only to realise it was close to him all along).
I’ve recently been listening to audiobooks on Storytel. I’m currently listening to Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.
I’d read Sapiens a while ago and had been wanting to read Homo Deus but never got around to buying the book because I’ve been travelling quite a bit and didn’t want to carry it with me; it’s pretty heavy. The audiobook, though, has made life a lot easier. It’s also worked out a lot cheaper because my subscription costs Rs. 299 a month, which is quite reasonable for the 2-3 audiobooks I usually get through in the time.
It’s also been quite a blessing during this second lockdown phase because after a long day of staring at a screen, my eyes need some rest, and listening to audiobooks is quite convenient.
Also, I can totally ‘read’ two books at once! Homo Deus tends to get heavy, so I’m also listening to the audiobook version of this cute romance novel – If I Never Met You. It’s the fantastic narration that keeps you hooked. This one is narrated by Sara Novak and is quite pleasant to listen to.
It’s your typical chick flick with a guaranteed happy ending, and it’s quite a break from routine. I cannot stop gushing about how convenient listening to audiobooks is because I can multitask – I’m usually listening to an audiobook while cooking at home or when I’m in the shower or when I’m driving.
I feel like a bit of a convert.
I’m used to buying a lot of books and reading through a pile of them slowly over time, but now I’m saving on all that money and can listen to as many audiobooks as I like because Storytel has over 2 lakh titles. I’ve started adding some audiobooks to my ‘bookshelf’ on the app, look –
There is an offer for my readers to explore this new way of listening to stories. You can get a 90-day subscription for Rs. 375 instead of Rs. 897. That’s a STEAL if you ask me. You can get it here – Get Storytel!
Books have always been my best friends. There are worlds waiting to be discovered there, and for me, listening to them while I travel or am at home has really opened up the literary world to a new level. I’d say use them as your escape now. Don’t wait 🙂
This post has been written in collaboration with Storytel. However, views expressed are honest and based on personal experience.
Travel-mad story-chaser who quit corporate life to follow her heart.
I travel, write about it, make videos and even have a podcast - Travels, Tales and Takes with Preethi.
I've been on a travel show - The Calling on Netflix.
I'm the host and creator of The Solo Girl's Guide to Travel on TLC India.