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ASK ANYONE WHAT
WOULD MOST LIKE TO
HAVE, AND I'D WAGER
THAT TIME TRAVEL
WOULD BE IN MOST
PEOPLE'S TOP THREE.
WALK THROUGH HISTORY
P I C T U R E S A N D W O R D S B Y C L A R A D E L C R O I X
Last spring, as I went to London, while waiting for
my train to come back to France, I found
something that I consider now as my hiking’s
Bible: A history of the world in 500 walks by Sarah
Baxter. Before I read this book, I thought I didn't
like history. But that is past now!
Sarah Baxter is a British writer. She is now
associate editor at Wanderlust magazine. But she
also wrote for the Guardian, the Telegraph,
the Independent, Country Walking and Runner’s
World on topics such as travel or walking. Finally,
she contributed on Lonely Planet guidebooks too.
A history of the world in 500 walks inventories 500
trails all over the world. The common point? Each
path tells us a part of our history. Wether it is an
ancient trade route, a pilgrimage path or a track
between ruins, there is something for everyone.
Their lengths vary between less than 1 mile to
3,100 miles. Likewise, from easy to strenuous,
difficulties are diverse. No excuses. Even if you
don’t have time to take a sabbatical year, some
just takes a couple of hours to be completed.
Plus the book is colorful and richly illustrated. It
makes you dream. While reading it you are not
only traveling through history but also through
the world! This is truly an inspiration. As I saw the
trans-rift trail in Kenya I told myself that I will go
there at some point.
On the other hand, this book that weights 2
pounds is very informative. For hikers (but for
others too), commentaries are clear,
knowledgeable, with practical details and great
advices. For instance, the Camino real in Panama:
Hiking poles, insect repellent, binoculars, and
bathing suit all recommended.
Wether on your doorstep or on the other side of
the world, history is everywhere. That’s also what
Baxter teaches us. So if you are a historian, you
can learn things too. Take, for example, the
Templar Trail (from France to Israel): In 1096, God-
fearing Godfrey of Bouillon set off on the first
Crusade. […] He assembled an army to march east
from France, with the aim of freeing Jerusalem from
its Muslim invaders and reclaiming it for Christianity.
Even if you don’t like to walk, you can learn about
world’s history thanks to Sarah Baxter’s book. And
if you don’t like history, just hike… in your
I already tried two of the walks: the Hadrian's Wall
Path in Northern England (pictures on next page)
and the Schengen without border trail that runs
between Luxembourg, France and Germany
(pictures on page 2 and 3).
A history of the world in 500 walks is the perfect
book to chill in your hammock with the fresh
breeze on your face while listening to the sound
of mother nature. Be lost, be wild, take your boots
and heads up outside!
The book is available for £22.25 on Amazon
(without shipping). And you know what? Sarah
Baxter just published a new book on June 2017: A
history of the world in 500 railway journeys.
Schengen without border trail sign▴
A passport, a knife and a good book:
let's go on an adventure !
THE HADRIAN'S WALL PATH
An exemple of walk taken from the book: the
Hadrian's wall path. It follows the wall Emperor
Hadrian built on 2nd century, running between
Newcastle and Bowness on Solway (England).
Brocolitia Roman Temple▴
Hikers along the path ▶