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. and then I stopped vishwawalking for a couple of years
out of guilt;
I still walked, but I neglected to take notes. I'll now have
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 must be walked in one
direction. You can’t walk half a leg (250 kilometres) eastward, drive
kilometres and then trek 250 kilometres westward to meet the eastward
That said, a thread can head east (say), then turn back east or north
8. A walker can walk as short a distance
as she/he likes in the process of building a thread. A .5-kilometre
example, 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 keep a clear
precise 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
long as the connecting link is also a westward walk (see 7 above).
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
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
One walker, one thread; a group of
people cannot share the creation of a thread, unless they all walk the
thread. While walkers 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 highly recommended. Vishwawalkers should try to
their threads with other vishwawalkers.
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. 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 entirely 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.
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
business 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. 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
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August 8, 2012
created: February 3, 2009
Updated: August 12, 1012