To Ramble

Strolling is a dying art, and Tom Hodgkinson sees it as well
worth reviving. Troubled by the ‘forlorn pacing’ of city-dwellers,
Hodgkinson promotes long, dawdling walks in an
from How to be Idle that appears in

Hodgkinson, an advocate of easy, yet contemplative living, wants
pedestrians to take pleasure in walking, amble without purpose, and
simply enjoy the journey. He points to nineteenth-century
gentlemanly slackers who moseyed aimlessly through the streets of
Paris as embodying such an approach to on-foot travel. These French
urban idlers, also known as fl?neurs, did more than just
stroll: ‘Like idleness itself, there is a paradoxical purpose to
fl?nerie: slow walking may seem like a waste of time to
your man of business, but to the creative spirit it is a fertile
activity, for it is when walking that the fl?neur thinks
and generates ideas.’

Hodgkinson reaches back through history to cite Victor Hugo,
Beethoven, John Lennon, William Blake as examples of thinkers who
often were inspired while rambling. He views walking without a
destination as not only an individual endeavor for creative types,
but also as a social event, i.e., the Italian passeggiata,
or stroll. Whether in a group or alone, Hodgkinson implores readers
to tie up their walking shoes and go ramble.
Archie Ingersoll

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