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Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking. 17 Years of Silence Paperback – 21 Apr 2009
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"It's a remarkably insightful, poetic, and inspiring story, one that's sure to make readers think more carefully about their own styles of living." -- Booklist
About the Author
John Francis, Ph.D., is the founder and director of PlanetWalk, a nonprofit environmental education organization. He travels around the world speaking on pilgrimage and change, and on Planetlines, an environmental studies curriculum based on the walking pilgrimage.
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I didn't think I'd enjoy this book, but I did. I thought it might be too earnest, too intentional, too knowing, too detailed, too dull. But it is none of these. It is a well-told, personable yet simple tale of events and choices. It is insightful and reflective but refrains from overplaying great internal dramas or delving into too much philosophy or rationalisation. It seems honest to how things just kind of happened. And in its straightforward manner charts the conversations and encounters that speak volumes about society: the fine received for walking along the highway, the man who ushered John into a lawyer's office after he had been run over, the paramedics who restrained him thinking he was mentally deficient for refusing their transport to hospital before he could communicate that it was against a principle, the series of policemen that stopped him to ask for a banjo recital and the government workers who were surprised that an environmentalist could be rational and, even more surprisingly, black. I was less inspired with the development of Planetwalk as an organisation with a mission (a bit too missionary perhaps, a bit too "expected"?). But as a tale of one man's life choices, his sense of discovery, and how others respond to him, it is a wholesomely rewarding and interesting read. As a case for the lost importance of walking as a way to be open to life, other people and place, it is a necessary read for anyone who can't imagine life without a car.
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