Popular Stories on Walking to Inspire your next Adventure

A good piece of literature has the power to transport us, letting our imaginations play out the words as we read them from the page. Travel writing in particular takes the reader on a journey, from the familiar to the exotic. Walking, for example, is a subject that has been covered in many narratives, both fiction and nonfiction.

When those narratives take their cue from a real-life location, you might find yourself compelled to visit the area in person. What better way could there be to see whether the reality measures up to what’s on the page?

Let’s look at six of the best books that deal with walking and see what inspiration they might provide for your next walking holiday adventure.

A Walk in the Woods – Bill Bryson

This travelogue, released in the late nineties, deals with Bryson’s attempt to navigate the Appalachian Trail bridging Maine and Georgia. Bryson’s style is approachable and wry, and there’s plenty of information about the trail itself mixed in with his account. This one was so well-received that it inspired adaptations for both stage and screen. 

A Walk from the Wild Edge – Jake Tyler 

If you’d prefer something closer to home (home in this instance being the UK), you might consider Jake Tyler’s ‘A Walk from the Wild Edge’. It deals with the author’s brush with suicidal thoughts, which ultimately drove him to get outside and start walking around the country. 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry – Rachel Joyce

Rachel Joyce’s novel made the longlist for the 2012 Man Booker Prize. It, too, has been adapted for the film. It deals with a man who discovers that a former colleague is suffering from cancer – and goes to visit her on foot. The journey takes him across more than six hundred miles and provides him with plenty of time for reflection.

Wanderlust: A History of Walking – Rebecca Solnit

You might suppose that the practice of walking from one place to another has always been with us. But it actually has a long history and might serve mental health functions that are being neglected by the modern age. This is the thesis explored in Solnit’s book, Wanderlust.

The Pilgramage – Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho is perhaps best known for this other travel novel, The Alchemist. But this one deals with walking more directly. It chronicles his journey to Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain.

Wild: From Lost to Found of the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed

This memoir by podcaster Cheryl Strayed deals with a specific hike on the Pacific Crest Trail, undertaken in 1995. The book got to number one on the New York Times bestseller list and was adapted into a film starring Reese Witherspoon.


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