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Part 1
Know Thyself

1) Why Travel

2) The First Lesson of Traveling Well

3) How to Travel: Traditional Approaches

4) Threading: A New Approach and Philosophy

5) The Walking Threader

6) Road to Discovery

5—The Walking Threader

There's no better way to locomote a sensing mind...

"I’m a walker. I fly across oceans because I don’t have the time or messianic nature to walk those segments, but once I’m across, I walk. It’s carefree, it’s flexible. Vehicles encumber as they facilitate. Leave them behind and pedestrianize whenever you can."
Paul Otteson / The World Awaits / All Rights Reserved

Two things tend to put travelers into bus and train seats and take them off of their feet. The first is the need to cover significant distance, the other is the need to get somewhere in a hurry.

But behind both of these needs is motivation. Travelers feel those needs -- they set themselves up by planning in a way that compels them to travel fast and far, thus frequently putting them in a transport frame of mind. It need not be that way! For many segments of a journey, you can plan it so there's no need to move too quickly or move many miles, thus enabling you to walk.

Where might you walk? We all have our walking habits at home, but should we take those habits across borders and over seas? In "The World Awaits", I take a hard look at the where's and why's of the walking traveler. Here are some excerpts from a section detailing where you might choose to walk to extend and improve your travel experience.

"In the City—Walk in the city where you wouldn’t otherwise walk...

Through the City—Walk from the outside of a city into its heart or vice versa. It’s a great way to feel that even the most huge metropolis has limits and history—an edge and a present...

Back Roads—Countless miles of lightly trafficked minor roads link similarly countless departure points and destinations. Back roads take you from ports, depots, and stations to villages, trailheads, castles, temples—to anywhere and everywhere. Tolkien’s Bilbo said it best:

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

J.R.R. Tolkien

Ancient Ways— With a bit of research, you can find the byways of antiquity and prehistory...

Off-Road—Walk up the pathless ridge that the eye can follow from the north end of town to high crags and meadows. Head out into the desert with water and will, striding until the silence wraps you and the emptiness of so much of the Earth’s surface feels real. Leave the river trail and ford to the other side to discover where the wild animals walk. Hike the train tracks to hold an even grade while the world undulates around you. Fix a landmark in mind, thread through the bush, make for a high point to see about you, and stand still to disappear where you can see nothing at all. Leave the track and find a spot where, if you died there, you’d never be found. Feel strong and vulnerable as you dissolve the thread to smoke and know that you can go anywhere."
Paul Otteson / The World Awaits / All Rights Reserved

But perhaps you wonder why I place such emphasis on walking. There are the obvious reasons -- like that there are places you can only reach or explore if you walk, and that walking is good for your health and fitness -- but there's more to it than that. Walking is a natural and deeply rooted mode of moving a mind across the land. The rhythm and pace of walking matches the mind's natural way of getting a feel for a place -- of perceiving and learning that place.

"The effort you exert walking drives a place into memory. When you’ve walked it, it’s yours. You’ve “been” there. The walk is a story punctuated with smaller stories like a beaded thread. The walk-story is a journey unto itself that you recall forever after with gladness, longing, and a humble pride. You own a piece of the world, and ownership gives strength."
Paul Otteson / The World Awaits / All Rights Reserved

As a walking threader, you will be richly primed for the kinds of engagement and experience that will have a potent, lasting, and truly revealing impact on you.