When I moved out of my last house, I, an amateur packer, saved all the biggest boxes for my books. They did, after all, make up the bulk of my possessions.
I could not get them up the stairs.
In the end, my meticulously-packed, extra-large boxes had to be divided into a number of smaller, more manageable boxes, despite my protests about violating my organizing system.
Needless to say, it was excruciating for me to abandon my beloved treasures in a storage unit gathering dust in the dark when I moved to Thailand.
Until recently, I have been an unequivocal opponent of e-readers. I like to turn pages. I like the way a book fits in my hand. I like the smell of paper. Libraries and bookstores are sacred, some of my favorite places in the whole world. Electronic and book just seem incompatible.
That being said, it was even more inconceivable that I would not read for the months that I was abroad. There was no reasonable way for me to bring my collection, or even just enough books for me to read, with me across several continents and thousands of miles. And so, I gave electronic readers a chance.
I was given a Kindle as a graduation present with my departure in mind. I admit I was skeptical.
After living abroad for nine months, I can say without reservations that my Kindle is the best thing I brought to Thailand. I have found that paper books, especially in English, are difficult to find here.
I read voraciously under normal circumstances. Especially with all of the time I have spent in quarantine or confined to my apartment since being here, I cannot imagine what I would have done without a limitless (and lightweight) source of reading material. I easily take it everywhere for moments of boredom and have read an astonishing number of books in the last year.
I still prefer real, physical books, but for avid readers, this is an acceptable and convenient solution. If you expect to read while living and traveling abroad, I highly recommend investing in an electronic reader. This is the single most valuable thing I packed. When I return, I will tenderly dust off my books, but for now, I could not be more grateful for this piece of technology.