Review: Life on Foot by Nate Damm

It’s been a while since I read a walking book. I’m going to take a gander that the Saunter inspired it.   I can safely say that the walk Nate Damm covered in his Life On Foot: A Walk Across America book is one I’ll never undertake. But I loved reading every word of it. I could also identify more with Nate than I could with Ffyona Campbell when I read about her walks. Nor did I want to smack him as I did Josie Dew while reading about her life on wheels.

Damm’s walk started in Delaware in late February 2011, and he was inspired by the walks of John Francis.  The American Discovery Trail was the first of many named roads that he walked. Some like the Lincoln Highway I’ve driven, others such as The Loneliest Road had me heading to Google.

Like Mike McIntyre’s Kindness of Strangers, I love the people that Nate met — from Serinda on his first days of the trail to Maureen in southern Ohio where Nate learned of the “Hobo Spirits”

I’m a big historic site traveler and in addition to the books it put on my list, there are also a number of sites I want to see:

  • Mason-Dixon Line, sure I’ve crossed into and out of Maryland but never got a photo if it’s marked.
  • Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia
  • French Lick, not because I’m a Bird or Celtics fan but legends of people and towns like the “Hick from French Lick” are just too fun to pass up.

It was William Least Heat-Moon’s River Horse that whet the road trip appetite last year. While I hope Amtrak quells it some, I feel the need of a “see America” road trip sometime soon. In the mean time, I enjoyed the America that Damm and Wilson saw.

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