Monday 24 August 2015

Book Review: Ways to Wander

Fancy going on a walk with a difference over the bank holiday weekend? Wherever you might happen to be - town, city, countryside or coast - a delightful new book called Ways to Wanderoffers all sorts of inspiring ideas.

Ways to Wanderwas introduced to me by Phil Smith, author of the book On Walking and a contributor to this new one. He said, in an email:
Members of the Walking Artists Network have just published their ‘Ways to Wander’ (to which I am very pleased to be one of the 64 contributors). The book is an invitation to different ways of exploring and responding to the world.

It is intended for anyone who makes, or wants to make, walking art or walk-performances, or thinks and writes about these things, and for anyone interested in psychogeography, mythogeography, site-specific dance and theatre, radical walking, drift and dérive. It is a treasure trove of tactics, and I particularly like the fact that the vast majority of the artists here are people who I had never heard of before I worked on this book.
It sounded just my kind of thing, so I immediately asked for a review copy. But then, I'm ashamed to say, I didn't even open it for a few weeks after it arrived. When I wasn't busy writing my own book, I was too busy being out and about walking for real, going wild swimming and visiting ancient sites like the Medway Megaliths. Then yesterday it bucketed with rain and I'd finished writing my book, so I opened Ways to Wander.

It isn't your average book of walks; it doesn't often say things like: "Start at the car park by the pub, go south down the lane beside the church then cross the stile into the field."

Instead, it offers things like this:
Choose a river in a city or a town.
Decide where the most significant point of the river is in the urban area.
Find out where the river's source is.
Go to the source...
Walk from the source to the point on the river in the town or city you have chosen...
Or this:
Walk as SLOW as you dare. FEEL your SKIN against your clothes as you MOVE. Step with an irregular rhythm.
Or this:
Imagine the following. You go into the countryside and start walking...
Yes, just the thing to be reading on a rainy Sunday in summer to get inspiration for when the skies clear and the world outside once more calls to be explored...

Ways to Wander is published by Triarchy Press and can also be ordered via Amazon.

Links and previous related posts
Ways to Wander

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