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Too old to throw away travel guide to places I may never go??

Too old to throw away travel guide to places I may never go??

Old Oct 19th, 2023, 04:05 PM
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Too old to throw away travel guide to places I may never go??

I posted this in the Lounge but I would like to post it here as there are so many more viewers on this forum...

So for now, I'd love to hear your thoughts..this is serious, to me anyway, and speaks to many issues:

Toss or keep..travel guides???A few days ago I received an invite from a cousin living in Jakarta. Thrilled!! I'd spent many months in Indonesia in my early years of traveling....let's say, 40 or so years ago)
Back then al most all foreigners in 'se Asia were seen toting the black-covered Moon /guide to Indonesia, along with what we called the "Bible," the yellow-covered Wheeler guide to SE ASIA on a Shoestring. Yes, those were the days when $5 was a the expected amount of cash to spend on an overnight stay....no problem if it was a shared bathroom and we never could expect hot water. But what a time we had. And in my case I got a lot of assignments that helped pay my way....few American writers had ventured to such an exotic pace as Thailand..Imagine!!!!

Never mind all that.

So now I get the invite from my now-adult cousin, and immediately hightail is to my bookshelf, much of which is devoted to travel guides and travel essays.
The Moon Indonesia is nowhere in sight. So sad..all my notes, written over 3 or 4 lengthy trips through several of the islands....gone, along with the early Wheeler guide and so many others.

! But what IS on my shelves are dozens upon dozens of newer guidebooks, everything from shopping in Shanghai to various SlowFood guides to Italy, to guidebooks I bought on a whim when I had an idea of sprinting off to, (among the titles on the shelves), Sardinia, Chile, Ethiopia, and on and on...

So: I'm just writing this as I feel a little sad. I know in my heart that the chances are that I will never get to Ethiopia in this lifetime (By the way, my uncle, who lived there during the Selassie times, always told me that I HAD to get there because it was the most beautiful place he's ever seen on earth). Laos..been twice..chances not great that I will return.

But casting away these books (donate to library IF THEY ARE STILL USEFUL) makes me sad. Years ago, all of these destinations were possibilities. Some of them still are but due to physical issues, being realistic, I know that I can never visit any place represented on my shelves, and some of them (Israel) are off the table for other reasons.

Please do not condemn me and tell me to just "throw it all away," I am writing because I feel a deep sadness in this, as travel as been the one constant love of my life since I was a little girl and would devour the National Geographic the day they arrived. And how many do you know who majored In geography in college?!?! And went on to an early career in which travel payed a big part?

So..I KNOW I have to get rid of the books that I will probably will never use, and most are out of date in any case. I so wish I had saved the older ones like the Moon guides and Tony and Maureen's Se Asia guides. (to become Lonely Planet later on...)

I wish I could have posted this in the "destinations" forum but was unable to do that, or could not figure out howl


MODS..Do you think this should be moved to that forum?

I wonder if and when others here have had to face this issue. It sounds easy..Just throw that stuff away!! But it speaks to something else: Aging, economic distress (thak fully not in my case) physical issues, and so very much more.....

Last edited by Moderator1; Oct 19th, 2023 at 05:04 PM. Reason: removed funky copy / paste fields unrelated to content
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 05:13 PM
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I have tons of old guides and I tend to keep all of them. I have a couple of shelves in my library that hold everything from old A to Z London map books of various scales (which I still regularly referenced until maybe 4 or 5 years ago) to Hong Kong guidebooks from the 70's / 80's to a (I think 1976) Europe on $5 a day to a guide for the 'Silk Road' to a 1981 guide to the USSR and one for Leningrad. Just all sorts and its a neat corner of my den/library.

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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 05:24 PM
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So many doors slams as we age: forget high heels, degrade the spice level to medium, summon an Uber instead of walking 5 miles, heed where you step. It is not setting my library free that concerns me. I am terrified that our traveller soles will be grounded.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 05:30 PM
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Much of our travel took place before posting online. I not only have scads of DK Eyewitness books, but bulky photograph albums as well. Hello landfill my old friend... alternative suggestions welcomed. 😁
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 05:34 PM
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I definitely have guides for places that I will probably never get to. Almost all the trips I've made in the last 18 years have been by myself, and realistically, I won't be able to do that indefinitely. I will continue to do so as long as I can. However, I don't see any reason why you need to get rid of those guides, even if you will probably never get to those places, unless you want to. I will enjoy the trips I still take without worrying about the ones I'll never get to.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 05:47 PM
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What a timely thread, Ekscrunchy. I've recently emptied my storage unit after a mid-Covid move and guess what the 3 remaining unopened boxes contain: "Travel books", "Cook Books" and "Art Books". These represent a very "curated"** collection after a severe sell/give & donation purge before packing up my house.

My head & eyes tell me I don't have enough bookshelf space for them all. Very few of them, really. Heart says I'm probably not going to part with these old friends just yet. Like your books, they're not just a collection of words & pictures about places travelled to or dreamed about. Like a whiff of perfume or aftershave, a garment glimpsed on the street or in a window - they are magic carpets transporting us back to the time & place, geographically & in our own lives, when we acquired them.

I use postcards (remember them?) as bookmarks, sometimes a printed photo (when did anyone print a photo last?) or a birthday or Christmas card from someone special. I'm sure there will be some lovely memories tucked in those old friend books when I get around to liberating them from their boxes. If I disappear for a month, I'm probably sitting cross-legged on the floor, surrounded by old travel, cooking & art books!

** Some might remember an hilarious discussion we had some time back in another place about "curated".
Not a whit of worthwhile advice for you, Ekscrunchy, but thanks for starting this interesting thread.

Last edited by Bokhara2; Oct 19th, 2023 at 05:49 PM.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 05:55 PM
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Bokhara2, you put that very well!
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 05:55 PM
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Bokhara2, I'm totally with you about those old friends. Please remind us about the curated thread.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 07:00 PM
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Thanks SusanP & TD. TD, I can't remember how it started or when, but it included a riff on "curated" household items being "curated" where we'd have said "sorted & tossed", and I seem to remember a "curated" cheese or antipasto platter. Someone else over there in yonder forum might remember - it was one of those threads where we all got into the spirit & found hilarious & pretentious examples.

Just on the tossing out of ... oh excuse me, I should have said ... on curating one's collection of elderly books ... and magazines,

I had about 25 years National Geographic and Gourmet Traveller magazines. Yes, big enough house to store them in chronological order. And probably 10 years or so of the "Australian Good Food Guide" - where restaurants earning Hats and others were reviewed and their scores published annually.

Knowing I really couldn't keep all of them, I gave the GT and NG magazines to my local Library and I can't remember what I did with the GFGs. Now, I'm quite sorry I parted with them. The culinary ones are a timeline of our food fashions and fads over the years, reminders of restaurants and the procession of chefs who have entertained, enriched and fed us as they moved from place to place.

The National Geographic magazines had wonderful photos and stories of people and animals in faraway places whose habitats we have largely destroyed and or made untenable for them.
Sitting here in my comfortable home on this sunny Spring day, I feel ineffably sad for the destruction we humans have wrought on the world. Having those old magazines wouldn't restore the world's natural habitats. I suppose it would have been nice to see the way some of it was again. But - how often would I have opened them up to look? Giving them to my Library lets everyone who wants to share them, so they're not totally lost.

All of this in the full & conscious knowledge that inside every "Hoarder" was probably someone who felt getting rid of a magazine or book would be too sad/wasteful to do.

Last edited by Bokhara2; Oct 19th, 2023 at 07:25 PM.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 07:26 PM
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Bokhara..Touching, beautifully written. Thank you. I will treasure your response.

Marija!!! How I've been searching for you!!!!!!! So glad to see your name again...possible that you've been here all along and I missed seeing your name but in any case so glad to "touch base" again..

Thank you to all..I did make an mistake in saying that I cannot visit anyplace represented by a book on my shelves...I still have some (or more than some!!) travel in me but I see more in my partner (older by about 8 years) that getting around has become more difficult.

And I saw it in my parents..two Long Islanders from traditional backgrounds but, due to my Dad's lust for travel, they made it to China just after the opening to western tourists and to Senegal and Mali in the early 70s, and my dad is the one who took me to India, TWICE, after I had a scary cancer during my college years and had to take a leave from school. My oncologist recommended that my parents take me on a vacation to relax and get over the trauma of coming close to the end. I was 19 at the time. The doctor imagined that my parents would book a trip to the Caribbean for a week. But guess what? Daddy found a $450 (not a typo) Rt from NYC to Bombay on Pan Am.....so THAT is where I went to recover, while Mom watched over my younger sister. So I's sure I got the "travel bug" from my dad, and from his brother as well!! And now my relative works in Indonesia!!! How lucky I've been...I see so many of my contemporaries who are afraid or just have no interest if=n gong anywhere off the beaten path, or even to travel at all....l may be an oddball in some circles but I've had a great life and much of that is due to the travel I've been fortunate enough to have done.

But when my Dad passed 70 he just seemed to lose the lust for travel..kept saying it was much more difficult than it used to be. They took a few Road Scholar (??) trips and after that, rented a place for a month one winter in Florida where my mother fell and broke her writs, and that was that..I'll always keep the idea that when my Dad had no more trips to plan, he became depressed..what was there to look forward to....and I can see that in my own future which hopefully is very long down the road!!! Right now, all good and thinking about Indonesia, and even Spain before then!!!

Ouch..too much spilling of emotion here but I won't cut it out....take it for what it is!!

I want to get rid of the books cause my apartment is too jammed with STUFF..mostly brought back from my travels!!!!
But I'm sorry I did not keep that guide to Vietnam (Moon, I think) where I penciled in about a restaurant in Saigon that my cousin,, who lived there at the time, took me to where the specialty was chicken penis (no joke!!) ...I even had the menu tucked into the pages of the guide!!!). Now why did I toss that and keep the Shanghai shopping guide???

Last edited by ekscrunchy; Oct 19th, 2023 at 07:33 PM.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 07:30 PM
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"So..I KNOW I have to get rid of the books"

Why do have to get rid of them? I must have missed that part.

I have an 1983 Fisher Guide Book to Greece that just now I might be able to use for a trip in July. Do you think hotel prices have gone up?

Seriously, it's fascinating to see what is highlighted. I keep them all.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 08:16 PM
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I have shelves of old travel guides and books (yes to those London A to Z's) and have no intention of getting rid of them. I have file boxes of file folders full of travel souvenirs saved for years and years. Let someone else deal with them after I'm not here to know it. I have loved travel all my life.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 08:28 PM
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Loan them to the woman to whom I "loaned" all of my Scotland books. You'll never see them nor hear from her again.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 08:53 PM
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Seems to me that tossing out your old travel guides is tantamount to tossing out your dreams and as we age we need our dreams because the reality of aging is at the best of times difficult.

I have files with travel notes, maps, receipts, some guides as well, of trips dating back years which I go through when a particular memory is provoked or view a travel program based on place I’ve been or wished to see once upon a time. It’s a comfort to know hands on evidence is there when I feel the need to reach back or browse on a rainy Sunday.

Cull maybe, but toss them all, perhaps not.

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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 09:28 PM
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I have three shelves of Travel books and purge old ones every 3-4 years. Do sorta miss my first Travel guide, Letís Go Europe from the mid 70s.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 09:38 PM
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I also have a couple shelves bursting with often vintage travel guides. Sure, the info in them may not be current (many are from times before email and internet) but they are souvenirs, offering a glimpse into past pleasures, not unlike photo albums (of which I also have a few hard copy types that predate digital photography.) I also have a load of Christmas ornaments from around the world, and even though we do not always decorate a tree every year now, I could no more toss them than cut off my arm. I do also have plenty of digital mementos, but I don't walk by them several times a day. The books stay. I love bokhara's magic carpet metaphor.

Like Lucie, I'll leave it to whomever is cleaning up my mess after my last trip to handle the books. Might seem selfish, but I've said on more than one occasion that I don't care what sort of, if any, funerary arrangements are held for me, as I won't be there.
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Old Oct 19th, 2023, 11:41 PM
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I've just cleared out a number of travel guides and also some Rick Steves DVDs -- I felt bad letting them go until when I listed them on our local "Buy Nothing" FB group, an earnest young man with dreams asked to be considered for the lot.

I left them on the porch bench and he swooped in and got them right away. His eagerness gave me a good feeling in giving them away. I still have more to pore over and yet more DVDs that I will probably move out next.

I know that doesn't address the larger issue close to the heart of letting go of travel dreams. I don't know if I ever will, even as advancing age has, like George Orwell wrote in another context, given me a remarkable clarity of mind when it comes to focusing on how much time and money and health remain for travel.
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Old Oct 20th, 2023, 03:32 AM
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Even though this is sad - the difficulties of ageing and throwing out books - I'm enjoying reading it. Just today I was looking at the travel guides on my bookshelf and thinking when was the last time I looked at them? I don't think an op shop (charity shop) would take them so what does that leave? I feel putting them in the bin or the recycling is an awful thing to do to a book.

I remember seeing the first guides that Tony and Maureen Wheeler wrote, that turned into Lonely Planet. One was black and white - photocopied maybe - and stapled together. Another was yellow, the SE Asia guide? With the company being bought and sold a few times, their guides are nowhere near as good. To be expected I suppose, the travelling and writing seemed like a passion for the Wheelers.
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Old Oct 20th, 2023, 07:00 AM
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Such an interesting post and responses. I've been traveling for many years and also had a large collection of guides, maps, etc that made me happy to glance at. When I retired two years ago, i was in a "clean out" frenzy (not sure why...) and discarded about 30% of the books. I kept the ones to places I likely won't re-visit since they are reminders of glorious trips. European guides are the ones I got rid of since I go several times a year and want current info. In retrospect, I wished I had kept them all since sometimes when pondering a trip it's nice to look through a guidebook to find out "what's there to see" and similar general info. So, I support keeping them all!

On a bit of a tangent, I'm a volunteer at our local library where book donations from the public are sold at a friends of the library bookshop with all proceeds supporting the library. I triage the book donations because we only sell books published within the last 10 years that are in good shape. As part of the triaging process, we end up putting about 50% of the books in recycling dumpsters (you wouldn't believe the moldy or musty books we get from people's basements or garages). Tons of college textbooks and management books which also go into recycling. Aside from people's personal interests which are fascinating (e.g. yachting, cooking, militaria, pottery, drawing, etc.) we also get travel books. If they are more than 6 years old, we discard them. Although I enjoy the satisfying "thunk" of throwing a book into the dumpster, I understand that people who buy and read books have a hard time throwing them away. The problem is that people who buy in our shops are looking for new-ish books that are still accurate. I say keep all your travel books since they hold good memories and make you smile.
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Old Oct 20th, 2023, 07:34 AM
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Eks, I got rid of half of my travel guides when we moved, yet again, two years ago. Now I wonder why I bothered to keep those that I did.It was so hard to do. It is like saying your travel days are ending. But we plan to begin traveling again soon. COVID canceled so many plans for everyone. Our last international trip was to Egypt and Jordan.If you have room for those guides, keep them!
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