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9781554074280

Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die

Watkins, Steve; Jones, Clare Author

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30 life-changing journeys, in low gear.

The number one complaint these days is that life is too fast. Here's how to slow it down. Richly illustrated throughout with specially commissioned photographs, Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die is for anyone looking for ideas for an inspirational trip of a lifetime, at a slower pace.

Choices include a wide range of locations and cater to a variety of interests. There are exquisitely scenic walks, challenging hikes, explorations, history tours and cultural experiences. All are available as organized tours or can be self-guided. Every continent features at least one walk, and all can be completed within two weeks, many of them in one week or less.

Destinations include:

  • Ama Ifi Coast, Italy
  • Lofoten Islands, Norway
  • Boston's Freedom Trail
  • Tiger Leaping Gorge, China
  • Battlefields of the Somme, France
  • Garden Route, South Africa
  • Canals of Amsterdam
  • Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • The Lycian Way, Turkey
  • Darjeeling Tea Trek, India
  • Coast to Coast, England
  • Great Ocean Walk, Australia
  • Takesi Trail, Bolivia.

Walking gives us a new perspective on the world. Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die is an inspired guide on where to start that journey.

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About the Author:

Steve Watkins is a travel photographer and author. His images and articles have been featured in many publications, including Wanderlust, Geographical, the Daily Telegraph the Daily Mail and various guidebooks.

Clare Jones is a travel writer and photographer whose work has been featured in a variety of publications, including USA Today, the Herald, the Sunday Telegraph and numerous travel guides.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Introduction

The hectic pace of modern-day life often leaves us hankering after the chance to escape; to slow down, take a deep breath and soak up the simple and immediate details of our surroundings. If there is an art to travelling, walking can justifiably lay claim to being the most refined, as well as the most ancient, mode of getting around. This ultimate form of slow travel allows us to dictate how far we go, how long we linger and how much we see. By choosing to walk, which naturally engages both body and mind, we sense everything around us more acutely, and can have a deeper, healthier and more revitalizing travel experience.

Another appeal of donning walking shoes or boots is that there are end less opportunities and options to suit just about us all, no matter what our level of fitness. Walks can range in diversity from a gentle stroll through American history along Boston's Freedom Trail or a spiritual journey among the temples and shrines of Kyoto, to more committing adventures, such as traversing the Mont Blanc massif in the European Alps or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Even the more challenging trails are increasingly attracting relatively novice walkers, a sure sign that there is today a widespread and deep-seated desire to engage with the wild places on the planet. When the German climber Hans Meyer became the first person to stand on the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in 1889, he could not have envisaged the tens of thousands of people who now do the same every year.

With so many choices, it was difficult for us to decide which 30 walks to include. All the ones we selected are accessible to anyone with the relevant fitness levels -- you don't need to be a technical mountaineer for any of them -- and they can be completed within at most two weeks; the majority require one week or less. Although you can opt to carry your own equipment, all the walks are available as organized tours, some guided, some self-guided. The Useful Web Addresses section on pages 254-5 lists their operators. These are the ones we used while researching the book and their services will invariably add a welcome touch of comfort and convenience to your walk.

We wanted to include not only some of the world's best-known walks, such as the Inca Trail in Peru and the Coast to Coast walk in England, but also some more unusual destinations, like the Karst country of Slovenia, which takes you back into a bygone age, and the trails around Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright's outstanding example of how architecture can combine with nature, in Pennsylvania, USA. Our selection is not in any way meant to be definitive, nor is it laid out in any sort of ranking priority. Of course, we have our personal favourites, but everyone will experience the walks in different ways, so lace up your boots and get out exploring some of them if you can -- the map on pages 252-3 will help you to locate them. This book is not designed to be a guidebook to trails and paths; rather, our intention is to give you a taste of what it is like to walk them. There are many excellent route guides and maps that give detailed descriptions of where to turn right and left.

Although walking is an ideal pace for taking photographs, our schedule did not allow us to hang around for days or weeks waiting for perfect weather. We undertook the walks just as anyone else would, and experienced the full range of what Mother Nature has to offer: the light of the midnight sun under clear skies in the Lofoten Islands; pelting rain on the Inca paving stones along the Takesi Trail in Bolivia; gale-force winds on the cliffs of England's South West Coast Path and glorious sunshine on the Routeburn Track in New Zealand. We may have flinched when things got wild but, thankfully, our camera equipment and sense of humour survived.

Some of the weather patterns we experienced served as reminders that extraordinary changes to our planet are occurring and that our fragile environment needs protecting. Given the heightened fears for the health of the Earth, it is, for some, becoming harder to reconcile these with flying to long-distance destinations. Awareness of global warming and the impact of air travel makes it difficult to feel that catching a plane is environmentally viable. But understandably, given the many wonderful and inspiring places the world has to offer, people still want to see them, to explore and experience them.

First-hand knowledge of the beauty of the planet can be the motivating factor for changing our way of life. At home, altering our shopping habits or means of transport, recycling, and being careful about the way we use water can seem inconvenient. Travelling often puts us in step with a very different world. We naturally eat only what is grown locally in Bolivia, happily explore Amsterdam on foot and conserve water in drought-stricken Australia. Perhaps these are some of the more valuable lessons we learn and bring back to our own lives, helping us to take small steps to change and improve the world around us.

Should you choose a long-haul destination, once you reach it the impact you make by walking is far less than that of any other form of travel. Depending on where you live, in this book there are, hopefully, walks that can be accessed without the need to board a plane. The choice of walking as a way of travelling is perhaps as good an interim answer to environmental problems as there can be -- our way to leave only a light footprint.

Steve Watkins and Clare Jones, 2008

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Watkins, Steve; Jones, Clare Author
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Book Description Firefly Books, 2008. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: 30 life-changing journeys, in low gear.The number one complaint these days is that life is too fast. Here's how to slow it down. Richly illustrated throughout with specially commissioned photographs, Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die is for anyone looking for ideas for an inspirational trip of a lifetime, at a slower pace.Choices include a wide range of locations and cater to a variety of interests. There are exquisitely scenic walks, challenging hikes, explorations, history tours and cultural experiences. All are available as organized tours or can be self-guided. Every continent features at least one walk, and all can be completed within two weeks, many of them in one week or less.Destinations include: Ama Ifi Coast, Italy Lofoten Islands, Norway Boston's Freedom Trail Tiger Leaping Gorge, China Battlefields of the Somme, France Garden Route, South Africa Canals of Amsterdam Mount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania The Lycian Way, Turkey Darjeeling Tea Trek, India Coast to Coast, England Great Ocean Walk, Australia Takesi Trail, Bolivia.Walking gives us a new perspective on the world. Unforgettable Walks to Take Before You Die is an inspired guide on where to start that journey. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_1554074282

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