Author/adventurer Ken Ilgunas writes about testing his limits and then living within his means in his compelling first book, Walden on Wheels, in which he documents a most unusual path through graduate school.
A little older (29), but equally determined to step outside the ordinary, Ilgunas takes on what he calls an “epic, never-done-before, and sort-of-illegal hike across the heartland.”
As I read Trespassing Across America, I was drawn into his world as he sets out to walk 1,700 miles on or near the path of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, from Alberta, Canada, to the Gulf of Mexico. He confronts harrowing storms, stampeding cattle, gun-toting ranchers, suspicious law enforcement officers, and a host of physical challenges.
In the end, he was left with (no spoilers here) experiences and impressions that touch him deeply. I was left encouraged about the potential of the human spirit.
As I read Henry David Thoreau’s Walden: Life in the Woods, I had a thought that could seem corny.
“You can’t see the forest for the trees.”
The 19th century philosopher/author told readers that the mundane details of everyday life can prevent us from seeing the big picture and, unless we take a step back, we can miss what is most important.
Thoreau stepped back by living alone in a tiny cabin on a pond in Massachusetts for two years. His thoughts about his experience fill the classic book.
His writing style may confuse you at times, but his nuggets of wisdom will make the effort worthwhile. You can read it cover to cover, or randomly open to a page, where you are likely to find thoughts about life and society worth pondering.
It may leave you searching for your own way to step back. (Click on the cover if you want to check it out on Amazon…the Kindle version is just 60 cents.)
If you read my book, Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows, then you know exactly what brought Sue and me to walk England’s South West Coast Path for the past three weeks. Our fifth long-distance backpacking trek is over as we rest in the Land’s End Hotel.
Soaked to the skin, wind-blown, exhausted from the nearly relentless climbs and descents that began in Minehead, we can hardly wait to do it again. But where?
How did a virtually unknown Missouri man ascend to the White House in a matter of months?
How did a man who never wanted to be president hold up as he guided the United States to the end of World War II and into the Cold War?
What did he think when he learned about a secret that would end the war and change the world forever?
A.J. Baime uncovered answers to many mysteries about the early months of Harry S. Truman’s presidency in The Accidental President. This is one of the most gripping presidential biographies I have read. Baime brings readers into the White House for critical moments and into momentus talks with Churchill and Stalin.
This book made me feel like I was living the times with one of our most unique leaders.