Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Review: The Natural Navigator

I have just finished Tristan's "The Natural Navigator" and there is one clear bit of evidence that I've enjoyed it and it has in some sense done its job. For having read all about the different ways in which the world around you can give you navigational clues I just want to head right out there and look for them, preferably with the expert to hand to guide me.

Tristan has a straight-forward style that is easy to read and the book has many clear illustrations to explain things such as constellations and sun sticks. There are many gems inside, from stories of the explorers in the time of the Egyptians and Ancient Greeks, to the great Polynesian navigators that travelled the vast spaces of the Pacific sailing by the stars and reading the swell.

This book would be of interest not just to those that have an interest in navigation, but also for anyone who walks, kayaks and sails in the outdoors, for it will enhance the experience. By looking at the world around you rather than staring at the LCD screen of a GPS you will have a much more rewarding experience.

It's something that us humans used to rely on for thousands upon thousands of years, and we evolved from animals that also needed to be able to find their way to food, water, and home. So just like the Tern can pilot its way from Arctic to Antarctic, there is a bit of our brain that lies there waiting to help us find out way.

And what's more it enjoy's the act of helping us, and as any navigator knows, there is great pleasure to be had in the landfall that arrives on cue, or the risky path through the fog that takes you just where you planned to go.

When travelling if I have a new city to explore I sometimes do what I call "map reading without a map" which is to have a good look at the map but then leave it in the hotel room, exploring with nose and eyes rather than looking down at a scrap of paper.

And it's always been an interesting and much more rewarding experience, to find your way from A to B by your skill and observation.

So get this book and use it to feed your instincts so you too can become a Natural Navigator.

1 comment:

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