Emily Dickinson says that "there is no frigate like a book to take us lands away." She's right that cracking a a copy Rudyard Kipling's "Kim" instantly transports me to the spice filled streets of India and L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" makes me feel like I am eleven again and walking down the roads of Prince Edward Island with Anne Shirley. I take no greater joy on a cold rainy day than climbing into the safety of my own bed with my special friend, a new book, and snuggling down under mountains of covers with a cup of tea while devouring page after page.
The pleasure of a book is that when I get bored or tired I can just fold over the page corner and abandon the book to my nightstand for a day or a week. Similarly, when watching The Travel Channel, if something is gross or too graphic, I can change the channel. In a way, though that safety kills the soul of travel.
Travel is the insecurity of knowing that even though the muscles in my legs are begging to be done, I still have three miles to cover before dark. It's knowing that I've just started my journey and have not just days to go, but months of the same hard work to endure. It's knowing that no matter how often we may disagree or not get along, my hiking partner is my partner, and we owe something to each other.
With a book, we know at the start what sort it is: romance, comedy, adventure, or drama. With individual adventures, we never know if our story will a heroic quest with victory at the end or a tragedy holding only disappointment.
On the trail (or any adventure we take) we can say that we are ready, but we don't really know if our patience or our strength or our will power will fail us. we just don't get to know how the story ends. But, the power lies in the fact that even though we don't know what the next page will hold, we are our own authors. We are our own frigates.