elsewhere, John Tagholm’s latest book, is the story of his thousand mile walk across France from Sangatte, on the grey waters of the English Channel, to St Tropez on the sparkling Mediterranean. It is not a book about physical achievement, nor a travelogue to the glories of France but a journal about being alone, about the joys of walking through an almost deserted country and the guilt of simply being there, elsewhere, away from his family, friends and work, for almost ten weeks.
The walk took place in 1997, the year of his fiftieth birthday and the year Princess Diana died in Paris. He followed green paths, GRs – the sentiers de grande randonnée, and finished in St Tropez on the day that Diana was buried. The hooters that sounded from the swanky yachts in the harbour that day were not to celebrate the end of his walk, but to mourn a Princess. Diana’s death heightened the feeling of ‘elsewhere’ that the author experienced during the walk, the conflict between what was happening in the wider world and what was taking place in his private one.
elsewhere is about a walk that everyone can do, if not at once, but then in parts and the book contains maps that show the routes and paths taken during the course of the sixty-five days.
Hear John talking about his journey in a recording he made for the Haringey Talking Newspaper a year after the walk.
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