‘Backpacking’ with Robert Louis Stevenson in the Cevennes Journals

Finished this yesterday. Sometimes an unread book on my shelf will call me, and I know that I am meant to read it then and there. This is one of those books. The Cevennes Journal of Robert Louis Stevenson is the elongated version of Travels with a Donkey. The editors here have let all of Stevenson’s omitted texts remain, so you get a better sense of his journey and thoughts all around. If you don’t like travel essays read it for the anecdotes of his donkey. The relationship with his travel donkey Modestine is hilariously tragic.

The trail he took is a well known backpacking trail now in France (I have tagged its location for you above). I would love to hike this trail someday but for now, in the Spring my husband will take us backpacking up north for a weekend. So this book was a good way to train myself to write travel essays as I would like to journal our hike. In the back of this book the editors have published all of Stevenson’s original notes to himself. Notes that would later tie into his essays. Quick glimpses such as, “children singing on path,” or “lady with enormous hat,” would eventually be added into his essays in great detail once he had a moment to rest. Brilliant! .

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