why travel when you can read? {a story and a song}

Okay, so not quite. But certainly if you can’t travel, or are finding it impossible to travel due to the massive stack of papers/works/bills and a significant lack of funds, reading about travel is about as good as it gets. Of course, blogs are great for this, but every now and then one finds a real book more attractive.

I just finished reading Canadian author Will Ferguson’s book Beyond Belfast: A 500 Mile Walk Across Northern Ireland on Sore Feet. This was the wrong order. For future reference, read the book about the place before actually going to the place, then feel free to reread upon return. Ferguson decides to walk the Ulster Way, apparently a marked walk completely covering Northern Ireland. He of course realizes, as we did, that the Irish definition of ‘marked walk’ is perhaps, maybe, a lie.

Part history lesson, part travel memoir, part family mystery, Ferguson covers just about every small town in Northern Ireland, while tracing his family roots. Had I read this before we went to Ireland, we definitely would have tried to cover parts of the Ulster Way. According to Ferguson, the trail has been modified now to include more way-markers (would be hard to include fewer!), and although the comprehensive walk still exists, it has been broken down to emphasize shorter, day trip hikes.

Photo: amazon.ca

Next time, parts of the Ulster Way it shall be (contrary to the many warnings Ferguson offers up). Hopefully it will take less time to walk it than it took me to read about it (5 months to read. Ridiculous. I blame school).

The poor book took a beating during three days of rainstorms in St. John’s, so this is a stock photo. My copy is no longer being photographed, and is really only good as a paperweight. Thank you Newfoundland, and your book-soaking rain. Might as well be in Ireland with weather like this.

And while you’re reading, or studying, or working, or paying the bills, pretend you’re on a beach, or a boat or a plane or anywhere else with a wee song:


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