My Midsummer Morning: Rediscovering a Life of Adventure

September 9, 2019 - Comment

A Financial Times Summer Book of 2019 Seasoned adventurer Alastair Humphreys pushes himself to his very limits – busking his way across Spain with a violin he can barely play. In 1935 a young Englishman named Laurie Lee arrived in Spain. He had never been overseas; had hardly even left the quiet village he grew

A Financial Times Summer Book of 2019

Seasoned adventurer Alastair Humphreys pushes himself to his very limits – busking his way across Spain with a violin he can barely play.

In 1935 a young Englishman named Laurie Lee arrived in Spain. He had never been overseas; had hardly even left the quiet village he grew up in. His idea was to walk through the country, earning money for food by playing his violin in bars and plazas.

Nearly a century later, the book Laurie Lee wrote – As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning – inspired Alastair Humphreys. It made him fall in love with Spain – the landscapes and the spirit – and with Laurie’s style of travel. He travelled slow, lived simply, slept on hilltops, relished spontaneity, and loved conversations with the different people he met along the hot and dusty road.

For 15 years, Alastair dreamed of retracing Laurie Lee’s footsteps, but could never get past the hurdle of being distinctly unmusical. This year, he decided to go anyway. The journey was his most terrifying yet, risking failure and humiliation every day, and finding himself truly vulnerable to the rhythms of the road and of his own life. But along the way, he found humility, redemption and triumph. It was a very good adventure.

Comments

Anonymous says:

Inspiring, humble, honest, and wonderful Having followed Alastair’s various journeys over the years through his earlier books and blogging, I was excited to hear of the release of ‘My Midsummer Morning’, the tale of his walk across Spain in the footsteps of another of my favourite authors, Laurie Lee. Having watched the Spanish adventure unfold online as it happened, I didn’t hesitate for a second to order this latest book, and was excited to read it as soon as it arrived.Right off the bat it was clear that this latest…

Anonymous says:

More than an ordinary adventure. Although I have read Grand Adventures and Microadventures, I have not read any of his narrative tales. The idea of a month walking in Spain with only an imperfectly played violin for support scares me more than many a trip through wilderness. I would far rather be walking on glaciers or cycling across Iceland on my own. But this is not just a book about a trip, it is about a man considering who he is and what his life is for. How to be adventurous without being selfish and sidelining his…

Anonymous says:

A very honest, personal yet relatable tale of adventure and acceptance. There are two things I love about this book:1) the brutal honesty:Alastair has never spoken so much about his personal life but in doing so I felt empathy towards his struggle between personal challenge and success or commitment and love. The way in which he interleaves personal memories with his walk across beautiful Spanish countryside attests to just how personal and interlinked both adventure and love are to Alistair. The sense of purpose which he attributes to the trip is…

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