Born to be Wild: Finding Freedom During Lockdown

Craving the great outdoors during lockdown? Here are five reads to help you virtually escape.

  1. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn

When Raynor’s husband is diagnosed with a rare terminal illness and they both suddenly become homeless, they embark on the adventure of a lifetime. As the pair hike 630 miles of rugged coast and sleep rough, they take strength from the wilds around them.

‘Our hair was fried and falling out, our nails broken, clothes worn to a thread, but we were alive. Not just breathing through the thirty thousand or so days between life and death, but knowing each minute as it passed, swirling around in an exploration of time.’

The Salt Path, Raynor Winn
  1. Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed

After Strayed’s mother dies, she hits rock bottom. Resolved to start afresh and rediscover herself, Strayed embarks on the epic Pacific Crest Trail across America. Unprepared yet far from broken by her experience, Strayed rediscovers and redefines herself in the wilderness.

‘I was amazed that what I needed to survive could be carried on my back. And, most surprising of all, that I could carry it.’

Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found, Cheryl Strayed
  1. Mountains of the Mind: a History of a Fascination by Robert Macfarlane

Macfarlane documents humanity’s obsession with conquering the unconquerable. From Scotland to the Alps and Everest, Macfarlane’s beautiful book explores what drives explorers to the danger of heights time and time again.

‘Those who travel to mountain-tops are half in love with themselves, and half in love with oblivion.’

Mountains of the Mind: a History of a Fascination, Robert Macfarlane
  1. H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

When Macdonald’s father dies, she resolves to fulfil the dream of a lifetime and become a falconer. She acquires a goshawk, reputedly the most untameable and wild of creatures, and discovers that H is for ‘hawk’ but also for ‘healing’. 

‘The hawk was everything I wanted to be: solitary, self-possessed, free from grief, and numb to the hurts of human life.’

H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald
  1. Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain’s Most Enigmatic Animal by Patrick Barkham

Besotted with badgers? Why not read Barkham’s history of this persecuted and misunderstood creature. This is essential reading for anyone interested in wildlife and the hotly-debated topic of badger-culling.

‘For centuries badgers were a panoply of creatures who lived, and died, solely for our gratification.’

Badgerlands: The Twilight World of Britain’s Most Enigmatic Animal, Patrick Barkham

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