‘Why travel?’ asks Tomas Espedal in Tramp, ‘Why not just stay at home, in your room, in your house, in the place you like better than any other, your own place. The familiar house, the requisite rooms in which we have gathered the things we need, a good bed, a desk, a whole pile of books. The windows giving on to the sea and the garden with its apple trees and holly hedge, a beautiful garden, growing wild.’
The first step in any trip or journey is always a footstep—the brave or curious act of putting one foot in front of the other and stepping out of the house onto the sidewalk below. Here, Espedal contemplates what this ambulatory mode of travel has meant for great artists and thinkers, including Rousseau, Kant, Hazlitt, Thoreau, Rimbaud, Whitman, Giacometti, and Robert Louis Stevenson. In the process, he confronts his own inability to write from a fixed abode and his refusal to banish the temptation to become permanently itinerant.
Lyrical and rebellious, immediate and sensuous, Tramp entertainingly conveys Espedal’s own need to explore on foot—in places as diverse as Wales and Turkey—and offers us the excitement and adventure of being a companion on his fascinating and intriguing travels.
Watch an interview with the author.
‘“In some senses walking is the opposite of living in a house”, Espedal tells us. “This certainly applies to wandering, which is an extended, voluntary or enforced walking experience; wandering is wished-for or unwished-for homelessness.” If homelessness is at the negative pole of taking long walks, then the places and figures we encounter in this walking memoir must point beyond themselves, to a scene of home and family that is only felt in terms of its absence [. . .] An especially vivid and deeply satisfying account of “a wild and poetic life”’. —Contrary Magazine
‘Espedal is a walker, or more specifically, a traveller. Rather than allowing the destination to be the objective, each journey he makes is made meaningful by the act of arriving’. —The Black Sheep Dances
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