About a week ago Lawrence Osborne wrote a wonderful feature for The Wall Street Journal about one of the greatest travel writers to ever live - Patrick Leigh Fermor.
At the age of eighteen the young Englishman walked away from his English upper class upbringing, and swiftly crossed Europe on foot, leaving from the Hook of Holland and arriving in Constantinople. This odyssey provided the experiences that led Fermor to write the classic travel narratives A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and Water.
Soon after, Fermor traveled through Greece and developed a passion for the place that would soon have a significant role in his life. Due to his knowledge of Greek the British actually posted him in Albania during World War II, where he was very succesful. Whether thought of as a “scholar warrior,” a vagabond or a village local, we should certainly remember his exhilarating approach to writing.
In a letter to a friend he beautifully describes the Mediterranean from the Mani peninsula as “a vast expanse of glittering water, over which you see the sun setting till its last gasp.”
For more insights into walking and writing, check out Osborne’s piece “At Home in the World” from The Wall Street Journal as well as William Zinsser’s “The Last of the Lone Wanderers” from The American Scholar.
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