Wanderlust tagline, A History of Walking, is a bit misleading because it feels very superficial as a history book. The book is better described as a collection of musings and digressions around the subject of walking in the context of cultural history.
Walking and it’s influence on the world and human thought
In Wanderlust: A History of Walking, Rebecca Solnit, explores walking’s influence on philosophizing/writing/thinking, women’s rights to roam freely, the “walking gardens” of leisure class, political marches and the automobilization of public spaces. Just to mention a few of the topics covered. It sounds kind of dry and boring but for some reason (and I can’t really put my finger on why), it kept my interest all the way through.
Notes and Highlights from Wanderlust: A History of Walking
📝 About the car mentality of modern day America: “People seem to have a mental radius on how far they are willing to walk, and it’s shrinking.”
📝 Flâneur: A stroller. A connoisseur of the the streets.
📝 Rousseau believed that the original man wandered the forests in solitude, living a simplistic life. This was what we ought to emulate. Most of his philosophy was born during his long walks.
📝 Walking has been much more accessible to men than women. And this is still the case today. Restrictions and risk of physical abuse has limited women’s access roaming freely. 2/3 of American women are afraid to walk their neighborhood at night.
📝 Back in the day the treadmill was used to punish prisoners sentenced to hard labor.
I should pay attention to my health. I would love to be able to still wander around during my autumn years without interference from bad knees, back problems or obesity.
Wanderlust: A History of Walking is definitely not for everyone, but if you are like me and enjoy walking just for the sake of walking, this book might be worth your time.