Freedom to Roam

Fell-Walking and the Life Geographic

What the Book is About

What the Book is About

Publication date: March 28th, 2024

This memoir tells stories in plain language about two complementary geographic perspectives on the world.  The first perspective describes the ways in which a social scientist goes about conducting a research project, including the context of current theory and practice in social science, stage in academic career, inception of an idea, formulation of research questions, obtaining funding, gathering and analysing quantitative and qualitative data, and reporting out the results in refereed journal articles and books.  The focus is not on research findings, but on the creative process, the nitty-gritty of failures and successes as a project gets done.

The second perspective relates my experiences walking in the English Lake District near where I lived after retirement.  The focus here is not on heroic feats of mountain climbing but, again, on the details of how one plans for a walk, the basic equipment required, problems such as bad weather and rocky terrain, lessons learned, and alternate spells of dread and ecstasy.  I talk about such things as quarrels over land use, the walking careers of Wordsworth and Coleridge, and taking untried and sometimes risky paths.  

The particular uniqueness of the book is its exploration of the interactions, the similarities and differences, between the two geographic perspectives.  To accomplish this, I weave back and forth between walking and research. To further this aim I have emphasized several themes that run through both my academic and walking experiences: the interrelatedness of things, how one perceives the world, luck, serendipity, ambiguity, and taking risks.