My March book for the Artful Readers Club is 'Planetwalker: 22 Years of Walking, 17 Years of Silence' by John Francis Ph.D.
I came across this book after following a link to a TED talk by John Francis and have been wanting to read it ever since. Here is the summary from the back cover,
'In 1971 an oil spill in San Francisco Bay changed John Francis's life forever. Helping to clean up wasn't enough; he sought a way to contribute to the health of our planet in a personal way. The solution he came up with was unconventional and courageous - to give up the use of all motorised vehicles and walk everywhere. Several months later, he took a vow of silence, which elicited concern from family and friends for his sanity, but as his memoirs eloquently demonstrate, these were the first steps on a three-decade pilgrimage to wisdom.'
This book follows John's journey from the time of the oil spill until the early 90s and there is an epilogue about his walking and work since. Along the way John plays the banjo, paints watercolours, learns to build boats and walks to the relevant places to get a degree, masters and Ph.D. What I enjoyed most about the book was John's interactions with others along his journey and how people responded, both positively and negatively to what he was doing. I was really interested in the silence and how John communicated with others non-verbally. Although there is a lot about human interaction in the book, there is also the opposite part which is about being on a solitary journey, literally and metaphorically, and about experiencing wilderness.
For me, this was a great read. It cover a lot of areas of interest for me, environment, communication, nature, music, art, personal journey and human behaviour. I would definitely recommend this book as it is such an unusual and positive story.