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The Natural Explorer: Understanding Your Landscape [Hardcover]

Tristan Gooley
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

15 Mar 2012

The most rewarding travel experiences do not depend on our destination or the length of our journey, but on our levels of awareness. A short walk can compare with an epic journey, when we take the time to focus on the things that dramatically enrich each journey.

Combining the work of the some of the most insightful travellers of the past two thousand years with his own experience, Tristan Gooley, author of THE NATURAL NAVIGATOR demonstrates how it is possible to connect profoundly with the lands we travel through.

Exploration is no longer about hardship or long distances, it is about celebrating the sense of connection and discovery that is possible in all our travels.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Sceptre (15 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1444720317
  • ISBN-13: 978-1444720310
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 273,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tristan Gooley is a writer, navigator and explorer. He has led expeditions on five continents, spent time with the Tuareg, Bedouin and Dayak in some of the remotest places on Earth and pioneered a renaissance in the rare art of natural navigation.

Tristan is the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed single-handed across the Atlantic. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and the Royal Institute of Navigation and Vice Chairman of the UK's largest independent travel company, Trailfinders. He lives in West Sussex.

Product Description


[THE NATURAL EXPLORER] is an essential part of any outdoor/nature-writing library and it's full of wonderful examples of how to read, understand and connect with the landscape. (Country Walking)

Using poems, diary entries and letters from nature lovers of ancient Rome to the present day, Gooley has written the perfect book to take out walking - and it would be a crime not to find the time to see, and smell, the roses. (Daily Mail)

Discover a whole new world... a journey through the intricate, detailed and often-missed sides of a walk. (Wanderlust)

THE NATURAL EXPLORER take us on a multi-sensory, literary journey intent on heightening awareness of our surroundings. An ambitious combination of Gooley's own insights and those of countless other writers, explorer and philosophers, this is serious armchair adventuring. (Prospect Magazine)

Gooley returns with a highly readable and engaging work devoted to the temporarily mislaid art of exploration... it's an inspiring account but also a turning point - perhaps a classic in years to come - because its simple aim is to help you recognise what your senses are telling you. It's also an object lesson in how to frame a call to action, because this is a book you can't put down until you absolutely have to get out and start seeing the world as you should. And that's when the adventure really begins... (Countryfile)

The Natural Explorer by Tristan Gooley is a call to enrich our travel experiences through connecting with nature - essentially a greater awareness of our surroundings... Chapters include the sky, the earth and time - and as someone who can get around the Tate in about half an hour, I paid particular attention here. (Evening Standard)

A charming and intelligent guide to exploring the local landscape. (Financial Times)

Celebrated explorer Tristan Gooley gives a fascinating insight into how to connect with nature and heighten the enjoyment of outdoor discoveries, be they grandiose or modest...Are you a traveller or an explorer? This account divorces the two and aims to really open our eyes... (Press Association)

The book's key chapter, though, is the first one. Entitled "The Senses", it aims to switch on our powers of perception and, with its thought-provoking discussion of the way we sometimes take touch, taste, smell, hearing and even sight for for granted, it succeeds brilliantly. Did you know, for example, that if you look at a landscape from right to left, rather than from left to right, you will become more observant? (The Scotsman)

Gooley tells fascinating tales of scientific wonder and geographical discovery. Each themed chapter, complete with illustrations, maps, diagrams and literary quotations, stand alone as a mini-museum in tribute to exploration... he reads the landscape with genuine perceptiveness... (Times Literary Supplement)

... Tristan Gooley knows a thing or two about adventure... this is in part a history of exploration, but also a practical guide. (London Planet Magazine)

The author's experience is to encourage travellers to be inquisitive about where they are in all its aspects, an intention which I happily endorse. Curiosity is an invaluable trait... this book is particularly relevant to walkers. Walking is the right speed to see, contemplate and learn about landscapes. This book will help you do so. (The Great Outdoors)

Book Description

A new era of exploration is dawning...

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
In "The Natural Explorer" Tristan reminds us that to be an explorer you don't have to do some amazing physical feat pitting yourself against nature and the elements. He tells us that a simple walk in the countryside can be a great exploration - there is so much to see, to experience, to respond to. What's lovely about this book is that while it cites the writings of great travellers of the past, it furnishes us with a language and approach that can make explorers of us all.

I loved the touches of human discovery that Tristan attaches to often familiar places in the world. For example I've always wanted to see Fingal's Cave with its hexagonal basalt pillars - it's so familiar from photos - reading Tristan's passage on this means I'll not just tick-it-off my list when I do get there, I'll really appreciate both the physical side and the human impact it has had on people. This book is full of passages and insights like this - it adds great value to our experience of the landscape.

"The Natural Explorer" will give so much to the reader who appreciates being outside and who enjoys peeking beneath the surface of what they see.

If there's one down-side to this book it's that your list of places to visit will get so much longer!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I don't normally review the books I read but I felt I really had to say a few words about Tristan Gooley`s The Natural Explorer. Perhaps because I'm immersed in the emerging topic of mindfulness or the fact I'm off to exotic climes in a while and becoming an environmental sponge, I seemed to be receptive to inspiration by other than the usual diet of purple prose from the outdoors glossies. The book comes hot on the heels of my reading of Rebecca Solnit's Wanderlust and Winnifred Gallagher's Rapt so it was with eager anticpation I booked the couch for the day and settled down with The Natural Explorer.

It follows the format of the Natural Navigator books, short digestible chapters which in this case take you round the world in the company of the likes of Humboldt, Muir, Thoreau, Ibn Battuta and Eberhardt. Each chapter deals with a different aspect of exploring and to illustrate each point Mr. Gooley pauses while he opens a cupboard door and out pops another fascinating individual with a memorable quote or anecdote. How a walk in the South Downs is transformed into an international imaginational romp is just wonderful. After each chapter I rummaged around on the net and Amazon to add to my reading list from the wonderful cast of characters that bring life and wonder to the pages of this beautifully written book.

As the chapters progress they become more reflective and philosophical with the final two bringing me out in goosebumps and I read them slowly, going over each paragraph twice, savouring the writing and the exquisite call to imagination. This book is a wonderful antidote to the pedestrian publications which although fill a small hole, cause one to miss the gaping maw of missed experience one doesn't even know is there.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant! 12 Mar 2012
By Rups
I love this book! It has given me the chance to look at the nature surrounding us in a different light. Its a pleasure to escape from the all consuming technological revolution and immerse myself in exploring and re-connecting with nature. Buy this book - its great!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a read if you like Deakin and Mcfarlane 15 Aug 2012
This book is a collection of essays around the theme of looking at the landscape around you from a new perspective. It is well written but does not have the same coherence as his previous book, The Natural Navigator.

His subject matters cover the coast, rivers, mountains, and being a book written by an Englishmen, the weather. He also considers the how the human population has impacted the land and has some philosophical moments when writing about senses and inner moods.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Engaging 13 May 2012
Really interesting and well researched book about observing and enjoying the environment around us as we go about travelling, walking or even just sitting in the garden. Lots of interesting examples, facts and points to think about from Gooley's wide repertoire. Being a lover of skiing and having lived in Tuscany I particularly enjoyed the chapter on mountains.

If you are passionate about both travel and the outdoors then this could become your favourite book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very important 15 Jan 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A very important book highlighting the development of your perception and how to use it to find new and interesting things wherever you go.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected
I bought this expecting a book giving guidance on how to spot and locate features in the landscape, which would be useful while walking. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Mr. C. L. Page
5.0 out of 5 stars Holmes and Watson can learn from Tristan Gooley
An excellent further book by one of the very best natural explorers of our Age. Highly recommended no matter where you live in the world. Read more
Published 16 months ago by T. G. Symonds
3.0 out of 5 stars Still some way to go
How to go for a walk in the country for those who rarely do so and want to be told how to enjoy it and haven't thought or read about it before. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Critiqual-I
1.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed!
Very disappointing! That's all that I can say about this book. The cynic in me wonders if Tristan Gooley's publisher said, "The Natural Navigator was such a success we've got to... Read more
Published on 10 April 2012 by MJR
3.0 out of 5 stars A pleasant read, but some shortcomings
I can see where other reviews are coming from on this book - when it's good, it's very good, bringing together elements of science, history and culture to help people look afresh... Read more
Published on 2 April 2012 by The Commuting Bookworm
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb!
This is Gooley's second book and is a really accomplished effort. Having introduced the theme of Natural Navigation as a refreshing and retrospective way of looking at the world,... Read more
Published on 16 Mar 2012 by D Bowman
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