Teneal’s got your reading list sorted. Whether it’s on the couch or in your tent, these stories are ready to whisk you away.
In the pandemic era of lockdowns and border restrictions, books can give us access to the outdoor spaces that we can’t physically reach. While we all love returning to the comfort of our old favourites, there’s something about buying a brand new book and reading it for the first time.
From marathons across North America to treks along Italy’s Apennines to many bold women reclaiming outdoor spaces as their own, these novels not only serve as vital inspiration for future adventures, but provide us with an understanding of the connection between the outdoors and the politics of race, class and human relationships.
I Belong Here: A Journey Along the Backbone of Britain
By Anita Sethi
Anita Sethi’s brave reclamation of the Northern English landscape is more relevant in Britain’s current political climate than ever before. After experiencing a traumatic racial attack on her right to live in the country that she was born in, Sethi decides to immerse herself in the British outdoors.
Feeling drawn to the Pennines, or the backbone of Britain as it’s often referred to, Sethi traverses the region’s moorland, rivers and peaks to assert her right to exist as a brown woman in the, so often white-dominated, English outdoors.
Wanderers: A History of Women Walking
By Kerri Andrews
Tackling a three-hundred year period of history, Kerri Andrews tells the stories of ten brave women who walked. Whether it was a trek across the Scottish Highlands or a stroll around the streets of Bloomsbury, the collection disputes the fictitious belief that the women of the past did not walk like men did.
The book highlights the fact that even in the eighteenth century, women felt the need to head out into the hills and walk alone. Yet despite the different eras, even the modern female walker will relate to the dangers that solo female walkers have always faced.
The Backyard Adventurer
By Beau Miles
Everyone’s favourite Aussie adventurer, Beau Miles, has released his first and very much-anticipated book of motivating and meaningful adventures in his own backyard. Whether it’s running a mile an hour, spending a night in a gum tree or walking 90km to work, Beau’s adventures are both inspiringly gutsy and surprisingly doable.
In this restrictive Covid-era, Beau’s unique take on finding ways to live an adventurous life from home feels more important than ever. This book is guaranteed to inspire you to explore what it means to live an adventurous life.
The Hero’s Way: Walking with Garibaldi From Rome to Ravenna
By Tim Parks
Before the industrial revolution changed the way we travelled, long-distance expeditions and pilgrimages were commonplace. In fact, many of our favourite recreational hiking trails were once important transit routes for people of the past.
This is the idea that motivated Tim Parks to tackle a 250 mile walking trail taken by Italian revolutionary, Giuseppe Garibaldi, in 1948.
In an exploration of Italy’s past and present, Parks recounts his challenging journey from Rome to Ravenna, in the footsteps of an Italian hero.
How To Navigate: The Art of Traditional Map and Compass Navigation in an Australian context
By Caro Ryan
Caro Ryan is passionate about preserving the traditional navigation skills that the modern world is so quickly losing. With her experience as a hiker and search commander with NSW SES Bush Search and as a rescue and a deputy unit commander in the Blue Mountains, Ryan has seen the dangers of relying on modern technology first-hand.
With 86 pages of clear explanations, broken down maps and illustrations, Ryan teaches us how to safely navigate the Australian bush and the world around us. This one is a must for any keen adventurers.
Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America’s Stolen Land
By Noé Álvarez
It’s through marathon running that Noé Álvarez is able to heal and reconnect to the land his parents left behind. Álvarez’s story begins in Washington, where he grows up as the son of immigrant agricultural workers.
Once at university, Álvarezs struggles as a first-generation Latino university student and decides to leave in search of a bigger meaning. We follow Álvarez as he meets a group of Indigenous marathon runners and undertakes a harrowingly long four-month journey from Canada to Guatemala. While battling the forces of nature and society, Álvarez begins to forge a new relationship with the land of his ancestors.
Feature photo thanks to @tomhermans