20 years ago today, 500 copies of a little book titled Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone found their way to bookstores in the U.K. I didn’t know at the time how much that book would mean to me. But now, looking back, I know that few other things have had a bigger impact in my life.
I wouldn’t have the perfect job I have today if it weren’t for this book. For once, I only asked my mom to enroll me in English classes so that I could read the Potter books as soon as they came out, and not have to wait 9 months for the Spanish translations. Then, back in 2008, my first ever contact with WordPress was through a Harry Potter fansite I joined as a reporter.
I also know that I wouldn’t have traveled to as many places as I have if it weren’t for this book. My fascination with the U.K. was born from my love for Harry Potter, and when the time came to decide where was I going to complete my semester abroad in college, the only reason I chose Ireland was because my university had no agreements with any U.K. universities and, well, Ireland was the closest country.
From there on, so many of my trips have been motivated by Potter-related stuff: London, Edinburgh, Galway, Bath, Bristol… the list goes on.
Finally and most importantly, I would have never met some of the most amazing people in my life if it weren’t because four years after its publication, I picked up Philosopher’s Stone.
I can confidently say that Harry Potter didn’t just change my life, he shaped it. I am who I am today because almost two decades ago I saw this book on a shelf and decided to give it a read. So thank you, Harry. Thank you, Jo.