Walking with Plato by Gary Hayden

Hi everyone, the summer is finally here in New Zealand! The days are nice and sunny with a few spells of rain every now and then. My new house overlooks onto a walking path that stretches beyond the train station and takes amblers towards the main town or the big park on the other side. With this in mind I thought I’d share a travelogue I encountered which got me interested in philosophy in general. See what you think…

cover image of man in silhouette standing on top of hill looking out across valley with trees and buildings. blue sky and grey mountains behind. letters in white across top reads Walking with Plato.
A fascinating travel read…

Title: Walking with Plato: a philosophical hike through the British Isles

Author: Gary Hayden

Genre: Non Fiction – Travel

Publication details: Oneworld Publications; London, 2016

ISBN: 9781780746562  (Hardcover)

What this book is about: “If one keeps on walking, everything will be alright”. So said Danish writer Søren Kierkegaard, and so thought philosophy buff Gary Hayden as he set off on Britain’s most challenging trek: to walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End. But it wasn’t all quaint country lanes and cosy bed and breakfasts. In this humorous, uplifting, and delightfully British tale, Gary finds that weary limbs and solitude bring him closer to the wisdom of the world’s greatest thinkers. Recalling Rousseau’s reverie, Bertrand Russell’s misery, Plato’s love of beauty and Epicurious’ joy in simplicity, Walking with Plato offers a breath of fresh, country air and clarity for anyone craving an escape from the humdrum of everyday life. 

My review: In this part-travelogue, part philosophical notebook, with Gary Hayden’s distinct voice comes a somewhat light-hearted read. Yes I know, doing JoGLE is harder but he and his wife Wendy manage it despite all odds. A comprehensive read – the travelogue part of it, but exceptionally riveting – the philosophical part!! It makes you think of nature and what it represented to man through the ages. We all seem to be dogged down by the sameness of everyday life, trying to get ahead and trying to survive, we think, but by just walking outdoors for the sake of it instead of some other meaning, I believe gives our life a better balance. I really liked this book as I saw each vista he described, every mud-soaked day he walked through in my mind’s eye. The maps in this read makes the cartography-loving part of my heart sing!! An awesome read!!

My rating: 5 ⭐

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