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  • Ken Ilgunas

The way to Wigtown

So I’m off on an adventure. This one, to travel the British Isles for 45 days.

A while back, I was invited to speak at the Wigtown Book Festival—Scotland’s biggest book festival that takes place in the town of Galloway between September 27 – October 6. Having never been to Europe, and having never met my Scottish kin (three uncles, aunts, and innumerable cousins), I was eager to pounce on the opportunity, especially after the festival offered to pay for my flight.

I’ll be giving three talks at the festival: (1) the first of which takes place on an adventure walk to a mysterious castle with fellow author Robert Twigger; (2) a panel discussion on the relevance of Thoreau; and (3) a reading of my book Walden on Wheels—a series of duties that I am, ultimately, unprepared for and intimidated by.

Tomorrow I set off for London. I’ll spend two days in London, three in Paris, several more in England, a couple of days in Wales, and then my larger Scottish journey: a 10-day, 178-mile hike across the Highlands; a family-finding mission in Motherwell; and then the Wigtown book festival. Finally, a ferry to Ireland where I’ll romp across the island for ten days before flying back across the Atlantic. I plan on hiking a lot of hills, eating a lot of fish, drinking a lot of beer, and looking to the right before crossing roads.

I’ll have with me my trusty set of trekking poles, plus a 40-pound backpack that contains a good set of rain gear, two sets of clothes, and my iPad and fancy camera for blogging fun. Ah, the pre-adventure jitters!—if only every night we were kept awake with the delirious anticipation of tomorrow!


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