A charming and beautifully written account of the pleasures of slow travel - for readers of Patrick Leigh Fermor, Colin Thubron and Eric Newby.
'Lawrence Sterne once suggested that we travel for one of just three reasons: imbecility of mind, infirmity of body or inevitable necessity. One might add to Sterne's little list: envy, curiosity - or just too much bloody rain at home. Escape, in other words.'
Campaigner, publisher and wanderer Alastair Sawday has spent his life travelling. En route he has unearthed a multitude of stories - stories of people ploughing their own furrows, of travellers' tales, stories from the 'front line' of his publishing , ruminations and reflections about places, people and ideas. In this deeply charming, erudite and spirited book, he shares his experiences and explores the value of travel.
'The richer our imaginations, the richer our travel experience. We British do things one way and the Spaniards another; there are unlimited ways of doing everything. Kindness is found in unexpected places, as is eccentricity. Eccentrics are an endangered species and need as much protection as does the house sparrow.'
TRAVELLING LIGHT is a gradual awakening to the fragility of everything we love through contemplative, consciously slow journeying. Every visit uncovers difference - from France profonde to the darker side of Sicily, and to the woodland, flora, fauna, views and silence of rural Britain. Alastair Sawday gives voice to those of us who have climbed no mountains, discovered no rivers, created no great institutions, powered no legislation, changed very little - but who yearn to understand the world and make sense of its infinite variety.
After a lifetime exploring and enjoying the world, Alastair Sawday is a man who wears his wisdom as lightly as he travels, bringing people and places delightfully to life, with timely political and philosophical insights - Jonathon Porritt
Thoughtful and informative, this book is also funny and entertaining as it rises to a crescendo of enthusiasm and hope towards the end. I couldn't put it down - Country Life
This sun-drenched memoir brings together half a century of travellers' tales, from Wales to Greece via France, Italy and Sawday's home town of Bristol. It evokes and promotes a slower sort of journey than the Easyjet generation typically "enjoys", featuring meandering tours by cycle and foot, and lazy meals eaten at farmhouse kitchen tables . . . His affection, excitement and anxiety for our planet are delivered in a fresh, unpretentious style that will make you want to crank up the old 2CV and barrel off across the Channel - The Times
It is hard to resist Sawday's charm . . . it's frankly blissful to follow in his wake - Guardian