Book Review: Windswept Why Women Walk

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An honest review of Windswept Why Women Walk – Well, I’m very biased as I’m a hiking junkie!

This book is for you if you want to sit and enjoy real-life stories of famous historical figures intertwined with modern life as a woman in western culture. If you’ve hiked the Alps or backpacked through mountains or just a casual dayhike, this book will surprise you at how relevant and important walking is to womanhood.

Windswept Why Women Walk

Windswept: why women walk

Tl:DR: It’s not all roses and sunshine, but freedom rarely is. I know it sounds boring to read a book about walking, but it’s actually really good.

Why We Walk?

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Book Summary

  • In her book “Windswept: Why Women Walk,” Annabel Abbs follows in the footsteps of eight avid women walkers throughout history, acknowledging the concurrent dreams and fears of women to experience the world with the privilege given to men.
  • Abbs provides readers with an exhaustive account of eight avid women walkers, ranging from established, well-known women like Simone de Beauvoir, Georgia O’Keeffe and Frieda (von Richtofen) Lawrence, alongside others whose names might not be as familiar.
  • Abbs not only compiles their histories and idiosyncrasies, while offering numerous scientific and psychological insights with respect to walking—but she follows in their footsteps, revisits their paths, albeit over 100 years after the fact in some cases.
  • Abbs weaves in findings of scientists, psychologists, those fellow writers and walkers who have chimed in, such as Rebecca Solnit, who writes that the “principal figures” (in the “history of walking”) are “men.”
  • The book is laced with memoir. Abbs remarks: “To pack a rucksack is to know yourself.”
  • Walking in Beauvoir’s paths, Abbs describes a panic that overcomes her, finding out later that a bloodbath occurred in that locale over 400 years before.
  • O’Keeffe also wrote that she loved the earth “with my skin,” and that while painting a tree, she becomes the tree.
  • Similarly, it is Abbs writing herself through her chosen women walkers, and we, too, reading ourselves through Annabel Abbs.


Walking has long been a means of exploration and self-discovery, but for women throughout history, it has also been a tool for empowerment and the fight for gender equality. In her book “Wanderers: A History of Women Walking,” author Kerri Andrews explores the experiences of eight trailblazing women walkers from the 18th century to present day. Through personal memoir and historical research, Andrews delves into the societal and cultural norms surrounding women’s behavior and expectations throughout history, particularly in regards to outdoor activities and travel.

Walking and Equality

The book highlights themes of gender inequality, as well as the power of walking as a means of exploration, self-discovery, and empowerment. It also touches on related topics such as women’s history and the fight for gender equality, outdoor recreation’s cultural significance, memoirs’ role in exploring history. The future outlook includes possibilities for increased access to outdoor activities and travel for all genders and backgrounds while continuing exploration through walking or other forms of outdoor recreation.

Marching, Walking

While “Wanderers” focuses specifically on women walkers’ experiences throughout history, it raises questions about other areas where walking played an essential role in culture or protest marches. Additionally, it opens up discussions about other outdoor activities such as mountaineering or camping that have different experiences based on race or class. Finally yet importantly is how technology impacts our relationship with nature today while considering environmental degradation issues that affect our ability to enjoy these spaces fully.

Final Verdict

Windswept: Why Women Walk is a great book for hiking lovers and you should buy it in on amazon or wherever you buy books.

Author profile: Morgan Fielder is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and passionate hiker who believes in exploring the world on foot with good food. Follow her journey as she shares science-based hiking tips and advocates for sustainable tourism.

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