Where do our journeys take us?
What do we leave behind?
What do we carry with us?
How do we find our way?
You are invited to consider a more graceful way of traveling through life. With arresting clarity, Journeys of Simplicity offers vignettes of forty travelers and the few, ordinary things they carried with them—from place to place, from day to day, from birth to death.
Edward Abbey Nellie Bly Raymond Carver
Dorothy Day Marcel Duchamp Dolores Garcia
/Emma “Grandma” Gatewood Mohandas Gandhi
Peter Matthiessen William Least Heat Moon
John Muir Robert Pirsig Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton
Henry David Thoreau Father Zossima and others
Here's what John Muir brought on his 1,000-mile trek from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico: a comb, a brush, a towel, soap, a change of underclothing, five books, a plant press and a map. "Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness," he wrote. In Philip Harnden's quirky, reflective book Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling Light with Thomas Merton, Basho, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard & Others, Harnden gives us the lists of objects that famous pilgrims took with them on their travels. Bilbo Baggins wouldn't have strayed from the Shire without his pipe and tobacco (though we learn that he forgot other necessities such as money, a hat and a walking stick). Most entertaining is the substantial list of items Henry David Thoreau brought with him on a 12-day canoe trip in Maine; ironically enough, the man who told others to "simplify, simplify" toted along 166 pounds of stuff. Harnden notes that the book's title is something of a double entendre: it helps us to imagine light, unencumbered journeying, but it also points to the divine Light that illuminates our trail.