Right to Ramble
Fawn in a
If you wish to see a country well, you must traverse it in other
directions than those whither the high roads lead you.
for Travellers, In the Plain and On the Mountain, (1876)
east side of County Road #23, Prince Edward County, Ontario.
around the world
2005, I wrote in my walking notebook:
"The world's circumference is 40,076 kilometres (24,902 miles) at the
"Today I decided to walk around the world. Not all at once. I will
walking tour around the world on February 3, 2005, when I turn 55.
Considering I will want to stop often to meet people and I don't want
to take the shortest route, this project could take some time. With all
the ups and downs and 'round abouts, I could hike over 40,000
That means I'd have to walk at least 1,000 kilometres per year to
complete the walk when I am 94.
"This will take some dedication. I should buy a good pair of walking
I did rack up a lot of miles. I was attempting to write my dissertation
for my PhD at the time, and walking was a fine distraction. I never did
finish the PhD. I stopped vishwawalking for a couple of years
out of guilt.
I still walked, but did not take notes. After I walked the Camino
de Santiago in 2015 I kept walking, but I stopped the formal
vishwawalking process of walking in a continuous thread and of making
many have done before me, perhaps I will have to do some conceptual
walking. If I walk around the country roads around my home and map a
parallel number of kilometres through China (say) perhaps that
will have to do.
Or live to 99 and get more rigorous in my walking schedule and my
1. In general, any kind of walking for
walking’s sake is vishwawalking. A stroll around a garden or around the
can be vishwawalking.
2. The following rules for vishwawalking are
for those who want a more
directed goal and a challenge. However, vishwawalking is not a contest.
Anyone wanting to vishwawalk can set whatever
goal they like. Or no goal.
3. More formal vishwawalking involves
walking in a single connected “thread,” usually in a vague set
although threads can lead wherever the walker fancies.
Different threads can cross each
other, and threads can start (and end) wherever the walker likes.
A thread doesn’t count as an ongoing thread
until it is at least 100 kilometres (or 62 miles) long. Shorter walks
threads in progress.
A 100-kilometre thread (roughly)
counts as one
“leg.” As threads get longer, walkers can refer to (for example) a
Threads can be walked in any
direction. You can walk a leg (100 kilometres) eastward, then
meet that thread with a walk from 100 kilometres to the west. If you
like the symmetry of one direction, then definitely you can make that a
8. A walker can walk as short a distance
as she/he likes in the process of building a thread. A .5-kilometre
walk is just fine. If the walk is part of a thread, then the walk
taken up from where the walker left off. If threads are neglected for
weeks or years, it is not a problem as long as the walker keeps a record of where they left off.
9. Threads do not have to be put
together without breaks. I can start a thread (say) in Kingston,
head westward for a hundred kilometres. I may then start a thread in Toronto and head west to Windsor.
Years (decades!) later, I may
connect my Kingston and Toronto threads to create a leg, or two or
10. Bodies of
If a river is
encountered it can be crossed, preferably by walking (over ice),
swimming, paddling, rowing or sailing. However, motoring across, if
that is the
only logical alternative, is acceptable. Most lakes should be walked
around (even most large ones) if they can't be walked across.
11. Oceans must obviously be crossed.
However, threads can continue across oceans. I can continue a thread
through Nova Scotia to the ferry port, cross to Newfoundland, walk to
easternmost point in Newfoundland, fly to Ireland, then continue from
most western point of Ireland, or wherever the closest large land mass
in the direction I am heading. All of this can be one thread.
12. Any walker
who paddles or sails an
ocean as part of a thread gets a heap of respect from fellow
| 13. Vishwawalkers
should chronicle their walks so others can try out bits (or all) of another
thread. Listing road names, road intersections, directions, lakes,
parks, etc. is part of the effort to allow fellow walkers to follow in
your footsteps. This is hard to do and sometimes not productive, so this rule can be ignored.if desired.
While a walker cannot claim another’s thread as their own,
details of threads is what it’s all about. Fellow vishwawalkers might
walk the same route together to create their individual threads, or to
encourage any fellow walkers to come with them for a section of their
Walking together is recommended. Vishwawalkers should try to
their threads with other vishwawalkers' threads. That said, solo walking can be exquisite.
Suspending your thread to walk with
another vishwawalker is highly encouraged. When creating a thread
obsessive, it loses the spirit of vishwawalking. Walking with friends
family or complete strangers should trump obsessive thread walking.
Stopping to talk, change directions or change your mind is all part of
the game. If
progress on a thread and walk with friends, etc. you’ve got it made.
Boasting about how
many threads and
legs you have completed is acceptable as long as it is not
done to crush junior vishwawalkers. In fact, there are no junior
vishwawalkers. Your first vishwawalking kilometre makes you an expert
along with other vishwawalkers. So why boast?
Vishwawalkers must share
information with other walkers. Vishwawalkers also have a
stop and chat with people along the way and to dine, party, and
all appropriate occasions. In fact, threads without the colour of
all kinds are drab threads indeed.
All reasonable additions to these
rules will be considered. The criteria for vishwawalking rules is that
not be overly restrictive, but must not be so nebulous as to be
the spirit of vishwawalking. All rules must have incorporated into them
gentle self-reflective awareness of the outrageousness, humour and
walking around the world. Such a self-awareness also shields the act of
vishwawalking from the ridicule of those who are under the
delusion that such truly absurd and destructive activities such as
building, social climbing, starting or partaking in wars, nation
class oppression, building corporate empires by wasting the lives of
women, men and children, etc. etc. are more important than
It is the vishwawalker’s duty to wean such souls off such immature
20. This rule is here to make a nice
round number of rules.
19. This rule just took a walk around the block, and so is absent.
21. This rule could upset this imaginary
Leaf on the logging road to McKaskill ranger cabin
| Contact Us
Algonquin Park, Ontario Canada
August 8, 2012
created: February 3, 2009
Updated: October 24, 2021