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.)
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.
How do people who battle anxiety and/or depression find peace and happiness?
I have found answers to this question through reading the wisdom of some brilliant writers whose works I have featured here. (Click on “more books” in the menu to see them.)
But I have found some of my life’s most enjoyable times on the long-distant trails in Europe. My story about my first such journey became an adventure memoir, Camino Sunrise: Walking With My Shadows.
I am finding this happiness again in England on the South West Coast Path. Sue and I are about a third of the way through our 260-mile trek from Minehead to Land’s End. Here are a few scenes from England.
Freedom. Henry David Thoreau wrote about it in Walden. Cheryl Strayed experienced it as she walked the Pacific Crest Trail. Jon Krakauer wrote how a young man encountered it in Into the Wild.
When Ken Ilgunas graduated the University of Buffalo with $32,000 in debt, he feared a life without the freedom he valued more than anything. Defying his mother and conventional wisdom, he endured hardships and life-threatening adventures in Alaska as he worked jobs few would consider. He knew that difficult times, mixed with astounding experiences, would build memories he would treasure forever. Through it all, he penny-pinched himself debt-free.
Now what? he thought. His answer may seem out of character for readers of Walden on Wheels. I will reserve it for your discovery when you read Ilgunas’ superb book, which often made me recall the words of Thoreau, Strayed, and Krakauer.
Ken Ilgunas is as extraordinary a writer as he is an impressive person. His book is an adventure, but so much more. It will tug at your heart, tickle your funny bone, and spark thoughts like “I wish I could do that!”