May 2022 is National Walking Month, so what better opportunity to lace up your hiking boots and explore your local walking trails?
During the coronavirus pandemic, going for a walk or run was one of the few safe ways to get out of the house; you might have found that walking relieved stress during lockdown.
Even outside of lockdown, though, a countryside walk can improve your fitness, reduce your stress, and enable you to discover new paths in your local area.
The benefits, beauties, and histories of hiking have been well-documented by writers of all walks of life. If you need a little inspiration to get back onto the trail this May, here are five amazing books about the beauty of walking.
1. Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods
Bill Bryson, the American-British author known best for his books on culture and travel, published his bestselling book, A Walk in the Woods, in 2015. Telling tales of merciless insects, frightening weather, and a less-than-enthusiastic walking partner, Bryson writes of his travels along the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail.
Bryson is known for his wit and vigour as a writer, making this an unmissable read if you want to feel inspired to go hiking while laughing your head off.
A Walk in the Woods was adapted into a feature film in 2017 starring Robert Redford, Nick Nolte, and Emma Thompson.
2. Simon Armitage’s Walking Home
You might know Simon Armitage as Britain’s current Poet Laureate, so picturing him romantically gallivanting across the English countryside might not be too difficult.
Back in 2011, Armitage took to the Yorkshire hills, hiking by day and reading poetry in village halls and pubs by night. In his acclaimed book, Walking Home, Armitage tells of how walking the Pennine Way allowed him to meet enthusiastic walkers from all over the UK, who joined him daily for hikes from village to village.
In the book, Armitage discusses the meaningful experience of walking the ancient land of his home county. It’s not all plain sailing – the blisters and fatigue soon begin to set in – but it’s the encouragement from communities across Yorkshire that keep his fire burning.
Walking Home has been followed by a sequel, 2015’s Walking Away, which follows Armitage as he traverses the South West Coast Path.
3. Cheryl Strayed’s Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found
You might know the story of Wild from the Oscar-nominated movie version, starring Reese Witherspoon, released in 2014. This bestselling book is an autobiographical tale by Cheryl Strayed and tells of an epic journey along the 1,100 mile Pacific Crest Trail.
Following her mother’s death, her divorce, and severed family ties, Cheryl took to the famously treacherous trail in pursuit of self-discovery.
Wild is an incredible tale that explores the tenacity of the human spirit, the beauty of risk-taking, and the importance of self-reflection.
4. Rebecca Solnit’s Wanderlust: A History of Walking
If you’re searching for an in-depth tour of the cultural relevance of walking throughout history, look no further.
American author Rebecca Solnit takes us down memory lane in Wanderlust: A History of Walking. In Wanderlust, Solnit writes about: the political act of walking in protest; the pleasurable act of walking in nature; and the romantic act of walking for poetic inspiration – to name but a few.
A feast for the intellect, Wanderlust explores the link between our relationships to our bodies, our environment, and our belief systems. Solnit’s creative touch adds a flair of wonder and imagination to this historical text.
5. Andrew Cotter’s Olive, Mabel & Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs
Lastly, during the 2020 Covid-19 lockdown, sports commentator Andrew Cotter became an internet sensation. How did he achieve this? He posted videos of his Labradors, Olive and Mabel, on Twitter, commentating on their activities as if they were a sports game.
In light of his social media virality, Cotter went on to write a bestselling book, aptly titled Olive, Mabel & Me: Life and Adventures with Two Very Good Dogs.
Although this may sound like a simple book about the antics of his two beloved hounds, Cotter’s writing delves far deeper than that. In Olive, Mabel & Me, Cotter writes about the joy of walking with his dogs and the almost-transcendental experience of sharing your life with animals.
If you have dogs who accompany you on your rambles, Cotter’s book could be the perfect read and it might even bring a tear to your eye.
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You can prepare for May’s National Walking Month by purchasing these books online or in most commercial bookshops.
In the meantime, remember that at Lloyd O’Sullivan, we can help you take the next step on your journey towards financial freedom. If you need financial guidance, contact us today.
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