Book review: The Gentle Art of Tramping by Stephen Graham


1st published in 1926 The Gentle Art of Tramping is a guide to the modern day equivalent to backpacking in the outdoors. Often dated advice is given, which is  quite humorous for  the modern day adventurer but his philosophical viewpoints and his love affair with nature is still valid today. Some of my favourite quotes from his book are listed below.

“What a relief to cease being for a while a grade-three clerk, or grade-two clerk who has reached his limit, to cease to be identified by one’s salary or by one’s golf handicap.”

“In tramping you are not earning a living, but earning a happiness.”

“….Life’s quality is in moments, not distance run.”

“Nature unfolds herself like a snail if you are still infront of her.”

“The fire is the altar of the open-air life. Its wandering smokes go upward like men’s thought; its sparks are like human lives.”

“We are born on an invisible river which keeps gliding and singing and filing an flowing. We do not know where we go, but we know we are on the stream. We do not always perceive the movement but we observe that the landscape has changed.””Life is not lenght of time, but breadth of human experience.”

“After we die we may be set to write an essay on our life-story. It will be “impressions de voyage.” Fifty years in an office will be found shrivelled up to a dot, and a few days in the wilds will expand into the whole essay.”

ON KEEPING A TRAVEL JOURNAL : “every entry is a shade of self-confession, and the whole when duly entered is a passage of self-knowldege.”

“The adventure is the not getting there, it is the on-the-way. It is not the expected; it is the surprise;not the fullfillment of prophecy but the providence of something better thans prophesied. You are not choosing what you shall see in the world, buy are giving the world and even chance to see you.”

“The less you carry the more you will see, the less you spend the more you will experience.”


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