I've mentioned it online before, but here we go: Two years ago, my wife and I decided to leave our rented home behind and move into a 40-foot RV. We spend our spring and summer in Alberta, Canada where she has a job for six months of the year working as an addictions counselor. The other half of the year, we head south to Mexico and beyond so that she can work as a dive Instructor.
This might be an excellent time to point out that my partner is far more interesting than I'll ever be.
We love this life, but it's not without its difficulties. We have all the repairs that come along with home ownership and owning a semi-truck, rolled into one. Our paychecks can sometimes take weeks to catch up to us, leaving us eating rice and beans. Again. But perhaps the worst thing about living in a motorhome, for us, is that we had to get rid of our book collection. Between us, we owned hundreds of books. We looked upon them as shelves of old friends who we could turn to, no matter what life brought us. But, sometimes, you have to leave old friends behind in order to grow. A motorhome can only carry so much weight, not to mention the limited amount of space that you'll find inside of one. We packed them up and took them to our favorite used bookstore where they'll, hopefully, find new homes.
When I'm not guest blogging here, part of my job is to review e-readers. I love it: I'm paid, albeit occasionally, to read books all day. There's a ton of e-readers out there. You've got your Kindles and your Kobos. Barnes & Noble just launched a new one too. There's also scores of shifty little companies in Asia and Eastern Europe that make slabs with E Ink displays which run Android--you can read almost anything on them. Too bad I have yet to find one that works well. Right now, my favorite e-reader is the 2017 Amazon Kindle Oasis. It's got a larger display than the rest of Amazon's recent e-reader lineup does. It's brightly lit display is easy on the eyes, no matter how long you read from it. It handles comic books pretty well, and reading texts on it is a joy. Once I finished reviewing it,I held on to it as a reference device to hold up against other luxury-priced e-readers. Before long, it became my daily driver when I needed something to read.
Perhaps my favorite feature that the Oasis has to offer is that its waterproof. I have a lot of old injuries that see me spending a lot of time sitting in hot tubs and standing in trailer park shower stalls. Now, when I hit the water, my Kindle Oasis comes with me. It feels like such a privilege to have something to occupy myself with during the time I'm forced to spend on pain management. In the past, I've killed an e-reader by taking it in the water with me, wrapped up in a Ziploc bag. Kobo makes a couple of waterproof e-readers and they're pretty great. But if you get their displays wet, they think you're touching the screen to give their operating system input. These registered 'touches' can turn pages, add bookmarks and do all kinds of other crazy shit that you'd rather not have in your life. Thanks to a recent software update, it's possible to turn the Kindle Oasis's touchscreen off and navigate using the readers page turn buttons instead.
In the time since we've moved into the RV, we've been able to replace a lot of the books we gave up. And now, I can read those books, anywhere. A digital device will never replace the experience of reading an actual book. At least not for me. But my Kindle Oasis provides me with enough happiness that I'm not bummed out about the absence of dead-tree editions of my favorite words in my life.