Friday, May 6, 2016

Distiller: Hikari Loftus
5/5 Stars

The Wander Society
by Keri Smith
208 pages
Penguin Books (March 29, 2016)

Synopsis from Goodreads: 
verb \ˈwän-dər\
to walk/explore/amble in an unplanned or aimless way with a complete openness to the unknown

Several years ago when Keri Smith, bestselling author of Wreck This Journal, discovered cryptic handwritten notations in a worn copy of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, her interest was piqued. Little did she know at the time that those simple markings would become the basis of a years-long, life-changing exploration into a mysterious group known only as The Wander Society, as well as the subject of this book.

Within these pages, you’ll find the results of Smith’s research: A guide to the Wander Society, a secretive group that holds up the act of wandering, or unplanned exploring, as a way of life. You’ll learn about the group’s mysterious origins, meet fellow wanderers through time, discover how wandering feeds the creative mind, and learn how to best practice the art of wandering, should you choose to accept the mission.

You’ll have to excuse me if I get a little personal today, but this particular book touches a very deep part of me.

I was raised with an appreciation for the outdoors as a Scout, a camper, and a backpacker. Not only are enjoying the outdoors and the preservation of wild spaces extremely important to me, the lessons I have learned just from being outside have shaped my mentality, and some of the core parts of who I am.

So when I opened “The Wander Society” and read the words “Solvitur ambulando” or “it is solved by walking”, I was immediately overcome with memories and longing for backwoods, "God’s Country", and all the life lessons and discoveries that came to me while walking.

I have always been a big fan of the “outdoor meditators” (Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, or Edward Abbey) and have collections of their works. “The Wander Society” focuses on Whitman (although mentions many great wanderers and authors) and is a group and a movement to connect with your true self and discovery.

“An extremely high percentage of great thinkers, writers, philosophers through history have been avid wanderers or used the act of walking aimlessly as a way to fuel and influence their work. What is it about the act of wandering that feeds the creative mind? How does it allow us to access deeper layers of consciousness? Wandering is not a mindless task, but instead the opposite, the gateway to enlightenment. A surrender to the great mystery.”

Maybe it’s because I believe in the things written in this book like a religion that I’ve devoured the writings like a Bible, but this is full of great ideas and motivations to get outside and clear your head and discover.

Wander every day. Do not plan your wanderings. Remain Open. Breathe Deeply. Ask the question, “What can I discover?” Allow ideas to come in. Write them down. Question everything you have been told. Use your imagination. Encourage your own wild nature. What makes you feel truly alive?

I cannot recommend this book enough! Go to and click around for free printables! (wanderer membership cards, posters and other activities!)

Wandering has had a huge impact on my life, so you’ll have to forgive me gushing over the discovery of this book!

Now, who is going to do some wandering today?


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