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.)
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.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then walking the South West Coast Path is indescribable.
I am reading Raynor Winn’s best-selling book, The Salt Path, while walking in her footsteps on England’s South West Coast Path.
Except I am hardly following her lead.
Winn walked after she and her husband Moth lost their home in a business deal gone sour. Plus, he had just gotten news that he was dying from a neurological disease. They camped, mostly, and she wrote that they lived off 48 pounds a week. In two segments, they trekked almost all of the 630 miles.
Sue and I are fortunate that we are healthy and will return to our Oregon home. We have a shower, warm bed, and pub meals at the end of each day. We are carrying everything we need on our backs, sans the tent, sleeping bags and stove. Finally, should our script play out, we will hike “just” 260 miles from Minehead to Land’s End.
But, like Raynor and her husband and all who venture here, we are astounded by the glory of England’s southwest coast. The steep path challenges, but our senses bask in this experience.