Walking is a simple act, often revealing complex meanings and motivations. So… why do we set off, across valley, along beach, or through city? Is it for fitness, exploration, or something to do with improving our mood? Well, the answers can be found in a variety of novels, memoirs and poems spanning every century, with characters and authors explaining their need to ‘foot it’ over distances great and small. Be they Jane Austen, Charles Dickens or Bruce Chatwin, the reasons for setting off are physical, psychological, even spiritual, and Duncan Minshull has collected their accounts in his book While Wandering (published by Vintage). This weekend, on Saturday and Sunday, you can take a creek-side stroll with him (slightly off-site!) when he will read short extracts from While Wandering. Dickens walked to cure his insomnia and feared he would ‘explode’ if he didn’t get going. Virginia Woolf used the rhythms of her walks to encourage creative thought. Learn from these walker-writers and others, and perhaps hear from those who are accompanying Duncan – why do you set off across valley, beach or city? Is it from fear of exploding too… or otherwise?
Duncan Minshull is a radio producer and editor of two books on walking, While Wandering and The Burning Leg. He has also written about walking for countless newspapers and magazines.
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