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Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling Light with Thomas Merton, Basho, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard & Others Hardcover – February 1, 2003


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$16.95 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Temporarily out of stock. Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: SkyLight Paths; 1 edition (March 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1893361764
  • ISBN-13: 978-1893361768
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.3 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,265 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Here's what John Muir brought on his 1,000-mile trek from Indiana to the Gulf of Mexico: a comb, a brush, a towel, soap, a change of underclothing, five books, a plant press and a map. "Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness," he wrote. In Philip Harnden's quirky, reflective book Journeys of Simplicity: Traveling Light with Thomas Merton, Basho, Edward Abbey, Annie Dillard & Others, Harnden gives us the lists of objects that famous pilgrims took with them on their travels. Bilbo Baggins wouldn't have strayed from the Shire without his pipe and tobacco (though we learn that he forgot other necessities such as money, a hat and a walking stick). Most entertaining is the substantial list of items Henry David Thoreau brought with him on a 12-day canoe trip in Maine; ironically enough, the man who told others to "simplify, simplify" toted along 166 pounds of stuff. Harnden notes that the book's title is something of a double entendre: it helps us to imagine light, unencumbered journeying, but it also points to the divine Light that illuminates our trail.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Philip Harnden was the publisher of The Other Side, a magazine of spirituality and social action, for a dozen years. A Quaker, he has written on subjects as diverse as the land rights of Native Americans and the spiritual life of Fritz Eichenberg. A former correspondent for Religion News Service, Harnden has also been a commentator on North Country Public Radio. He lives in northern New York State, not far from the Canadian border.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 43 people found the following review helpful By James Paris on May 29, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Most of us are in risk of being overwhelmed by our pursuit of "stuff." Let's just take babies as an example. It appears that strollers for toddlers must now cover almost half an acre and contain sufficient storage for any possible medical or hygienic emergency. Young married couples feel the necessity to immediately buy a huge van that is effective only at cutting off the view of the hapless motorists behind you. Houses must be larger to contain the "stuff" we buy for our children. Why? Because if we don't, it means we don't love them, I suppose.

I must not have been loved very much. My father was a poor factory worker who drove a 1949 Mercury coupé. During all my childhood, I remember only a handful of toys: a set of white plastic blocks that were similar to the Legos that came later, various toy soldiers, a small Lionel O-Gauge electric train set, a stamp collection, a cowboy cap pistol, and a Civil War hat (Union Army type). That hat I wore with a blue cub scout shirt with captain's bars sown on that made me look like the boy Dusty on the old Rin Tin Tin show that I loved to watch.

Over the years, I seem to have gone astray somewhat. My apartment has well over 6,000 books in it. However much I resolve to cut down, I always find myself intrigued by another title that I must read. If I were to sit down and read all the books I own, I would have to live for hundreds of years more.

This slim volume was one of my recent purchases. I sat down to read it almost at once and fell in love with it. JOURNEYS OF SIMPLICITY is a book of lists of stuff with which selected real and fictional people traveled through their lives.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By C. Ryan on March 2, 2003
Format: Hardcover
The small book devotes two pages each to about three dozen authors, spiritual seekers and fictional characters. One page briefly describes the person and something about their life and philosophy; the second provides a supposedly complete list of the small number of items each person lived with or took on a trip. It's thought provoking as to how much - or how little - stuff we really need to live a good life. At the same time it's a VERY brief book that can be read in about 30 minutes. Because there is a bibliography listing one or more sources for or about each person this book might best be considered an introduction/reference for those wanting to study the philosophy of simplicity. It's also a good inspirational gift for someone who wants to simplify their life. Too bad publishers don't provide little books like this for a more reasonable price.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Carlos A. Padilla on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this small book. It was so enjoyable, so inspiring. I have already ordered two of the travel books he mentions in it and I am planning to re-read Thoreau's The Maine Woods with the new information I have now.
I think it is a wonderful gift for anybody looking to simplify and pare down his or her life. It is sobering and inspiring to hear with how little some gifted people can have a happy life.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shane on September 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The society is heading for the wrong direction but it has been that way for the whole human history.
Once in a while a reminder is needed.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Poem Lover on February 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was a little bit of a disappointment. Not much to get your teeth into, or to inspire a reader.
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