The Gentle Art of Tramping by Stephen Graham is an absolute gem of a book. Dating back to 1927 it is a fabulous How-To guide to becoming a wanderer, a vagrant, a hobo. Chapters covering kit selection blend with others on the philosophy of travelling light, simple and slow, and doing it just for the heck of it.
A brilliant addition to any vagabond’s library. A few snippets for you:
- So when you put on your old clothes and take to the road, you make at least a right gesture. You get into your right place in the world right away… You get into an air that is refreshing and free. You liberate yourself from the tacit assumption of your everyday life. What a relief!
- A tramping hat does not get old enough to throw away. The old ones are the best.
- Of course, once you have slept a night wearing your hat it is not much more use for town wear. It has become more of a tramp than you are.
- The less you carry the more you will see, the less you spend the more you will experience.
- In tramping you are not earning a living, but earning a happiness.
- There is perhaps no greater test of friendship than going on a long tramp. You discover to one another all the egoisms and selfishnesses you possess.
- If you want to find out about a man, go for a long tramp with him.
- I am inclined to measure a tramp by the time taken rather than by the miles. If a hundred miles is covered in a week it is a longer tramp than if it is rushed in three days.
- You cannot tell till you’ve spent a night in the rain, or lost the way in the mountains, and eaten all the food, whether you have both stout hearts and a readiness for every fate.
- On the road the weak and strong points of character are revealed. There are those who complain, making each mile seem like three; there are those who have untapped reserves of cheerfulness, who sing their companions through the tired hours. But in drawing-rooms they would never show either quality. The road shows sturdiness, resourcefulness, pluck, patience, energy, or per contra, the lack of these things.
- The morning swim is such an embellishment of the open-air life that many are tempted to plan their whole expedition with that in view.
- Nothing in the present ever seems so good as what is past.
- Beware of going to Jerusalem in order that you may come back and tell the world you have been. It spoils all you found on the way.
If this all resonates with you then you might also enjoy the Best Bits section of the blog.
- 25 metres to the next horizon
- The man in the arena
- Life is a journey full of infinite potential experiences
- In the shadow of the moon
- Control your destiny, or someone else will
- It makes you think
- Do any exemplary feats remain?
- An interesting interview for once
- The docking of the banana boat
- Morning running
- Share a load, hit the road
- Anything is possible in this world
Finally I hope this video encapsulates the same essence of enthusiasm for microadventures as the wonderful Gentle Art of Tramping.