The Joy of Walking

This pocket-size book by David Bathurst is rather wordy, with few illustrations (mostly of maps) and contains a number of fascinating facts and handy hints about the world of walking. It starts with a quote by Thomas Jefferson: ‘Walking is the best possible exercise’ in the author’s Introduction. Every chapter begins with a quote, for example,

  • Walk and be happy, walk and be healthy. (Charles Dickens)
  • Travelling on foot can be meditative, fostering a slow frame of mind… … When we walk, we are aware of the details around us – birds, trees, shops, homes, other people. We make connections. (Carl Honore)
  • There must be something about long-distance walking that compels some people to keep trekking when they’d be better advised to quit. (Paddy Dillon)
  • To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower; Hold infinity in the palm of your hand And eternity in an hour. (William Blake)

Benefits of walking include

  • Feeling happy and energised
  • Having more stamina
  • Living longer, feeling fitter, enjoying life
  • Keeping fit and independent in retirement
  • Being able to enjoy life to the full
  • Having a good, healthy heart, normal blood pressure and good circulation
  • Enhancing social life
  • Helping others
  • It is fulfiling and needn’t cost anything

This book is particularly useful for walkers who venture to Great Britain and abroad because it contains lists and descriptions of the best areas to enjoy walking. For me, what’s interesting about the book is the snippets in every chapter called ‘Did You Know That…’. Also, I enjoyed getting a glimpse into the walking habits of well-known personalities like William Wordsworth (poet), John Hillaby (travel writer) and John Merrill (professional marathon walker). I’m also excited about the fact that there’s a movie called The Way, directed by Emilio Esteres and featured his real-life father Martin Sheen as an American doctor who backpacks the route in memory of his son who died while walking it, and in doing so rediscovers his sense of identity and reconnects with the son he lost. I wonder if I can find this DVD at the library@esplanade tomorrow.


2 thoughts on “The Joy of Walking

  1. Hi Florence,
    Having read the book, surely you will be convinced to join us for the nature walks.
    The last nature walk was just Mary, Yih Nah and myself. It was great!


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