If you’re not familiar with Tristan Gooley, he is probably best known as the Natural Navigator. He has led expeditions on five continents, spent time with the Tuareg, Bedouin and Dayak in some of the remotest places on Earth and pioneered a renaissance in the rare art of natural navigation. He is also the only living person to have both flown solo and sailed single-handed across the Atlantic.
So, he is well qualified to write a book about connecting with nature.
But, firstly, why should we connect with nature? In our daily life today, we don’t really need an understanding of our natural environment for everyday survival – so should we really bother? Do we need to have these skills any more?
Well, Tristan believes any connection to nature is beneficial – no matter how small – and this book is a collection of his techniques to help enthuse our senses and re-establish that love-affair with the outdoors he knows we all have.
The book is part of a series from Macmillan exploring life’s big questions “The School of Life” which doesn't purports to have all the answers, but they know people who have ideas of how to make life better. And Tristan certainly fits the bill here.
The book is littered with exercises to do – which I have done, and I can tell you they really will make you stop and think about your surroundings and your place within them. And it’s full of information you think “I really should have known that – and I'm glad I now do” – for example the name “ghost orchids” was coined for that particular plant as they are one of the rarest plants in Britain and can disappear from a site for decades, before briefly reappearing – which sounds very logical.
There’s fantastic knowledge you can use in everyday life in here; finding the North Star from The Plough for instance, and some useful info about Ground Time too (you’ll have to read the book…)
I guess the only thing that lets the book down is the rendition of the photographs – several of monochrome images are difficult to clearly make out what they are all about. You feel that a book which does reference and rely on its images should have been allowed to have better quality printing for the photographs – but I guess that’s down to the house style of “The School of Life” series and the price point. But don't let that out you off.
Overall, a cracking read which you’ll find you’ll be mentally accessing as you go on future expeditions into the great outdoors.
How To Connect with Nature by Tristan Gooley
published by Macmillan, priced £7.99
Walks Around Britain rating 8/10
Order it now from Amazon here