thomas m wilson

Fellow converts to the religion of walking

August 21st, 2023

“Sometimes, I overheard my aunts discussing these blighted destinies; and Aunt Ruth would hug me, as if to forestall my following in their footsteps. Yet, from the way she lingered over such words as ‘Xanadu’ or ‘Samarkand’ or the ‘wine-dark sea,’ I think she also felt the trouble of the ‘wanderer in her soul.”

The Songlines, Bruce Chatwin

Helmut Newton’s portrait of Bruce Chatwin, and me. At the Museum of Photography, Berlin.

I was reading Bruce Chatwin’s letters while sick in bed at the start of this year. Strangely that book and that experience was part of the inspiration for my peregrinations in 2023.

“I haven’t got any special religion this morning. My God is the God of Walkers. If you walk hard enough, you probably don’t need any other god.”

― Bruce Chatwin

I wouldn’t go as far as that, but I do agree with Chatwin and other such as Wordsworth, that if you want to cast off low spirits or confused thinking, just walk for at least two to three hours a day, every day. If you don’t believe me, then try it. It works for me.

The other day I was sitting in Dussman’s in the centre of Berlin – a very stylish bookshop with a large English language section. As I was browsing I came upon this map.

Where to next?