An Inland Voyage
By Robert Louis Stevenson. Introduction by Ian Correa. Digireads.com. 2011. Originally published, 1878.
Although Robert Louis Stevenson is best known today for his fiction, he loved to travel, and his writings include a great deal of wonderful travel literature. "I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move," he wrote. And it is clear in An Inland Voyage—as it was in Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes and The Amateur Emigrant, both of which I previously reviewed—that being in motion triggered his powers of observation and reflection, giving rise to the creation of vivid scenes, characters, and stories.
An Inland Voyage chronicles a canoeing trip that Stevenson took in 1876 with his friend, Sir Walter Simpson. The pair travel from Belgium through France, each in his own canoe—the Arethusa (Stevenson) and the Cigarette (Simpson). It is Stevenson's first experience in a canoe, but he seems to manage fairly well, apart from the time the boat gets away from him altogether, leaving him clinging to a tree, still clutching his oar. He wryly imagines a future epitaph that would read: "He clung to his paddle."
The trip is rough going at times. Read More