Thursday, November 5, 2020

Hiking Naked - Book Review

 

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Are you taking a leave of absence
She whispered her question as if I were planning a prison escape.

No.  What Iris had in mind did involve absence, but truly, it was more about arriving back at presence.  In Hiking Naked, Iris Graville takes us along on her journey of stripping life down to what is most essential.  This is a book about reclaiming your joys.

If ever there was a time to plan a prison escape, surely it would be now.  Just as Iris felt imprisoned by the burnout of years in the public health field, who among us is not wishing for an escape from the weariness of daily crisis... from the pandemic stress in which we are engulfed?

For me, being immersed in the author's sojourn to a place far removed from constant bombardment was not only a much-needed respite, but also a knowing, as Graville put it, of "the riches of attending to what's truly important."

Anyone who has ever fantasized about moving to a remote haven far from the madding crowd will relish this account of Graville's time spent in Stehekin (a Native word meaning a way through), Washington.  As Iris ferries us via her writing to this uplake North Cascades paradise, we discover ourselves in a place any lover of Northern Exposure would find intriguing and refreshing.  

Imagine living without TV, phones, freeways, or frenzy.  Think what it would be like to mail-order your groceries (and have a stranger named Alice select your food items for you).

Envision a time of reading, writing, hiking, and just being.  Wrap your mind around days filled with art, bread-baking, letter-writing, laundry-hanging, and journaling about the desires of your heart.

In the process of becoming "Stehekinized," Graville found her own way through the tumult of both internal and external fires and floods.  As she sought balance, and let Stehekin live within her, Iris found the path to what was next.

I highly recommend this book to anyone searching for clarity, for renewal, for a clear sense of calling, for a return to the essence of life.  Here's to finding your own Stehekin.  May the way through be a journey to joy.





Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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18 comments:

  1. This looks like an interesting and a very timely book. Thanks for an enchanting review.

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    1. I'm glad you stopped by, Mary Beth. I love that you found this enchanting. That made my day. Thank you! (And yes... a book for our times.)

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  2. Okay Diana, you had me with the "Naked" part of the title! This sounds like an incredibly good book for anyone who needs to remove themselves from the frenzies of daily life in the big city. I think I just might have to give in and get this book! Thanks for a great review.

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    1. I suspect this title does tend to capture attention (and the imagination), which is a good thing. I think you would enjoy this read, Olivia. It certainly spoke to me. Good to see you here. Appreciate your visit and comments.

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  3. I am sure everyone, at some point in time, has needed a place where you could 'disconnect' from the world for a bit and 'recharge' your inner self. After the frantic year our world has had, we all need to find our own 'Stehekin'. I think you have found yours, Diana.

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    1. Oh, yes. We so need those places that recharge our souls. Here's to finding our way through this frantic time.

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  4. Diana, I can see why this book would "sing" to you! As someone who spent the first half of her life in the New York metropolis and always thought of herself as a "city girl," now that I'm in my mid-60s, I'm finding more and more how much I enjoy being a homebody, and seeking quiet and solitude more than hustle and bustle. You always manage to find such gems, Diana; it must be because "like attracts like." Thank you for another wonderful review of another literary treasure.

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    1. Your thoughtful comments have brought to mind a Rumi saying that I love: "What you seek is seeking you." Perhaps quiet and solitude were seeking you. And perhaps the song I was seeking was first seeking me.

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  5. Sounds like a great book to read during this time! Beautiful review!

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    1. Perfect time to read this... perfect time to receive this book's gifts. Thank you! Wonderful to see you here, Heather.

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  6. Most of us can't take long vacations or sabbaticals, but we can take day trips or week-long vacations for those much needed getaways. For our own peace of mind, we must turn off the world and find center again. For safety reasons, I don't leave my cell phone at home, but I do put it on silent. I am sure this is an excellent book and encouraging read.

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    1. The Graville family's grand adventure started in just that way--with shorter getaways in their favorite place. Those brief retreats then inspired the full immersive experience. You are right about the peace to be found in centering ourselves. We all have our own ways of finding that center... that balance... that peace.

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  7. I've often wondered how I would do living off the grid - I could get further lost in this idea with this book! I'm not sure if I could do it - I'd need power, plumbing, the internet and cell phones! lol - oh and running water hahaha - I watch the Outlander TV Series, and constantly put myself back in that time and wonder how I'd survive it; tough way to live. The other thing I think of is, how do people smell? lol - my nose gets irritated by funky smells :) - Great review.

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    1. You might just surprise yourself. I imagine you could do it if you really wanted or needed to do it. If there was no deep motivating force, or pressing need, it would likely be tougher. You are a very resourceful individual. I could see you thriving just about anywhere.

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  8. Ordered. If I can keep my eyes open I will start reading it tonight. You know I'm in the process of stripping down and living in a more joyful place. It still seems like my move date is a long time in the future and I'm tired. I cant wait to start reading this. Thank you for the review.

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    1. Yes... your "Stehekin" is coming. Wishing you all that you seek as you get ever closer to your joyful place. Will look forward to hearing your thoughts after you finish this read. Glad you stopped by.

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  9. I love the sound of this book and what a great title! This is something I would love to read. I always find my peace in nature and wildlife, gardening and walking.Thank you for a great review!

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. Yes... the peace of nature and wildlife is sustaining.

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