The day I decided to read in a park

and why I will keep on doing that.

Back in Brazil it was not very common to really see people going to a park. I believe that is due to the lack of security we face in our country or maybe it is just not part of our culture. On the other hand, it is pretty common to see this happening here in Europe and after being here for almost 2 years, I started to include this habit in my routine.

Most of the times when I go to a park I find myself into two kind of events: either I am chilling with my girlfriend or hanging out with a group of friends (sometimes even barbecuing). Frankly that is what the majority of the other people are doing there as well. However, once in a while I can spot some lonely people in more calm and hidden areas — far from the crowd. It is like they are there simply to enjoy the nature or just to spend some time relaxing. What is interesting though is that most of them have a book in their hands.

Every time I see that I question myself if there is any advantage in reading over there; lying in the grass, surrounded by mosquitoes and in the middle of nowhere. Instead, they could be sitting in their couch and benefit from all the comfort of their sweet home, right?

Well, in order to clear up my doubts I could have approached one of them and asked (even though it would be awkward), but as I like to take conclusions from my own perspective I decided to do it myself. I started by packing all the accessories I would need such as towel (to lie down on the ground), cellphone, headphones (In case I get bored) and of course a book. I also put some water and fruits just in case. I picked a park close to where I live so I could easily arrive by bike. Once there I decided to follow the same approach: search for a quiet and silent place, stretch my towel in the grass and start reading.

There I was entertained with my book when I decided to make a short pause and, to my surprise, almost 2 hours had passed from the moment I started reading. I was a bit confused because that does not happen to me very often — usually I take a break after the initial 30 minutes — but at the same time I was amused by the fact that I had concentrated and read much more than I often do. In that afternoon I spent a total of 4 hours just reading reading and reading.

I guess each person has its own reasons to read in such a place. What I could notice and I consider some of the takeaways from this experiment are:

It is just more relaxing. By being in contact with the nature — watching the sky above, the birds singing, a lot of green — I was more relaxed and unconcerned about everything around me. The image below speaks for me:

The park I decided to go for a reading. By Iuri Matsuura.

At home you might have much more distractions including noise coming from television, some family member speaking loudly, someone might request you to do something, your dog wants to play, whatever. In a park all of this is gone and you can fully concentrate. Personally I could absorb much more the content than reading anywhere else.

There might be no parks close to where you live or even in you city, doesn't matter, just try to find different spots where you can have some time for yourself without anyone or anything distracting you. Try a place where you feel more relaxed and identify yourself with — coffee shops, malls, squares, libraries, parks, beaches. You pick. Nice offsite readings and don't forget to share your experience!

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