Hiking Book Review: Windswept Why Women Walk

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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. I

f 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

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 and Equality

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.

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.

Final Verdict

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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