Cover Image: To Walk It Is To See It

To Walk It Is To See It

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Member Reviews

I am sorry I could not even continue reading it since the very beginning. It started with too much nakedness and I just couldn’t enjoy it. The cover was beautiful, though.
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I am a diehard armchair traveler I enjoyed following the author on her walk her adventures.This is an inspiring read a thoughtful book and I really liked seeing it through their eyes.#netgalley #towalkitistoseeit
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I’m 57 and I’m dyslexic and nearing the ending my hot flashes after years of misery with menopause. So I couldn’t get enough of this book. The author was struggling too! And it felt like Kathy Elkind wrote this book just for me. Many times while reading this I would say, Yes, yes, yes I feel the same way! 
KE wrote a realistic and honest account about her 1400 miles trek on the GR5. She did this with her husband but it was also so much more. At 79% I was laughing and so relieved to see that Im not the only wife to loose it with her husband. Everything she said was exactly how I’ve reacted! And probably word for word. **SIGH** 
I’m glad I read this and I loved the ending. 
I’m ready to plan my next adventure. Thank you Kathy for sharing your journey with me. You’ll never know how much it meant to me. 
I recommend this book if you want to experience a lengthy backpacking trip with a woman in her fifties. 
Thanks PR by the Book and She Writes Press via NetGalley.
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This is a travelogue of a couple’s adventure on foot through Europe. Kathy and her husband Jim decided to walk the GR5 which traverses Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and France.

I  felt like I had just been on this walking expedition without leaving my couch. Kathy painted a good picture of the journey she and Jim had in great detail. It was enjoyable to be able to read about their adventures. I also liked her honesty throughout as she pens down her thoughts about everything including her relationship with her husband. It was also a good addition to know about her past.  It would be good to put in some pictures. I watched some of her videos on YouTube just to experience graphically what she was writing about. 

Overall, a very engaging travel memoir. You can really feel like you are walking along the GR5 yourself. Recommended read indeed! 

I received an ARC from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you to the author Kathy Elkind, publishers She Writes Press, and as always, NetGalley for an advance digital copy of TO WALK IT IS TO SEE IT. All views are mine.

Three or more things I loved:

1. Chocolate! Elkind writes a lot about chocolate! A quick search reveals 52 instances of the word "chocolate" in this slim volume. Chocolate happens to be one of my favorite foods, which I think of as so much more than a melty sweet treat. As a commodity, I think of its availability as a thermometer for our planet's agrarian health. It's a beautiful cooking component that can bring surprising depth to dishes. I don't eat much sugar these days for health reasons, but I do still love my chocolate. It is one indulgence I would covet even in the spartan conditions Elkind sometimes finds herself. It represents something important to Elkind both in the book and on the road.

2. I really respect the author's openness about communication challenges with her partner. This connects for me, to work through challenge to achieve a shared goal. She is so honest about tge troubling feelings she has for him and hoe her actions contribute to conflict. It's so rewarding to watch them grow as individuals and as a married couple.

3. I admire the author's balanced respect for both natural and traditional medical methodologies, and her honesty about how her attitudes affect her wellness. It makes cosmic sense that I waited to get to Spa to heal from my illnesses.... I hug the copper beauty, my cheek resting on the smooth milky-gray bark, my arms not even wrapping halfway around its diameter. I will the new ruby-pink leaf energy to seep into my body and help heal me. The antibiotics, the spa waters, the tree energy, and the gift of another day of rest are all doing their best to get me well. (Loc. 509)

4. I love how pro-woman this book is, in so many contexts. At the beginning of the book, she talks about aging and purpose for women: No one told me that my pubic hair would turn gray. I have not seen many naked older women. My hands hold the three dimensions of stomach, uterus, and vagina. The fourth dimension is what this area has accomplished over time: birthed two children, digested and nourished me daily, and aroused my sexual pleasure—some would say the essence of what we women have been put on this earth to accomplish. I’ve checked all the boxes. Am I done? Is there more? In the society I’ve grown up in, women over a certain age become invisible and irrelevant. (Loc. 73) She writes about her own endeavors with her husband (and her mother's endeavors with her father) to assert her own authority over her disposition, even in a setting notably egalitarian as the wilderness: I’ve strengthened my voice over the years, thanks to my mom.... Outdoor endeavors continued to strengthen our relationship, but friction arose after our children, Kate and Sam, left the nest and I was traveling through menopause. I did not want to [do] all [the] pursuits Jim loved. We had to find a middle ground. (Loc. 103)

5. Landscapes are stunning 😍 𝘛𝘸𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘺 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘭𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘳 𝘸𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘢 𝘳𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘺 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘥𝘰𝘸 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘭𝘰𝘰𝘬𝘴 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘭𝘦𝘺. 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘭𝘰𝘶𝘥𝘴 𝘥𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘳𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘸𝘴, 𝘳𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘭𝘢𝘺𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘨𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘯. ... 𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩 𝘪𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘣𝘪𝘳𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨. (Loc. 1532)

6. The author hits on what I consider to be some salient points about food: The cheese melts in my mouth. Eating food right at the source is miraculous. We see and hear cows grazing up above us on the slope . We witness milk boiling over the wood fire. I taste fire, copper, sun-soaked grass, and the loving energy of the farmer and his sons. It’s all there in the cheese. We consume the atmosphere of the alpage. (Loc. 2271)

7. I adore Elkind's outlook on life, in general, which I think is kind of perfectly encapsulated in a little story she tells toward the end of the book about three men she sees in her hotel at 8 am. They sit at the wood bar in the dining room of the B&B Elkind stayed in and share a drink, talking jovially. Elkind speculates about whether they are having drinks before reporting for work, or perhaps just getting off for the night. She can't have known which but concludes that her greatest loss is that she does not join them before she starts her walking for the day.

Three or less things I didn't love:

This section isn't only for criticisms. It's merely for items that I felt something for other than "love" or some interpretation thereof.

1. There's a line at loc.620 that I take issue with: The birds singing in the upper branches are the authors I want to listen to. First, this is a really overused image and idea, and stilted-- nature as author or artist. Is the author waxing eloquent or being serious? Surely it's just a metaphor, but metaphors describe ideas, and this one just might be deriding the written voices of humans. Or maybe books in general. I'm not a fan of writers who suggest the written word or ordinary books are common and some other version of narration is superior. In this case, bird chatter. Do these authors of poor metaphors remember they are writing a book for other people to read? It makes me wonder what kinds of books they read. Are there any they consider worthwhile?

I really enjoyed Elkind travelog and memoir, which tells a story of extraordinary growth and the humbling beauty and challenge of nature and human nature.

Rating: 🚵‍♂️🚵‍♂️🚵‍♂️🚵‍♂️ / 5 mountain journeys
Recommend? Yes!
Finished: August 17 2023
Format: Advance Digital, NetGalley 
Read this if you like:
🧭 Travelogs, travel books
🗣 Memoir
👩‍🦳 Stories about getting older 
👰‍♀️ Stories about marriage 
🎉 Personal growth
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I always wanted to walk, or bike, across a country, or even a state, when I was younger, but no one else wanted to take the journey, so, now I live it vicariously.I love reading about other's adventures. To bike and walk the GR5 sounds amazing! I agree with Ms. Elkind, to truely appreciate a country, or state, is it walk, or bike it. And a camera is imperative! One needs to capture the scenes and details. Journal, too. Kudos to Ms. Elkind and her husband for sharing their amazing trip with the rest of us. I hope the published books includes photos. It would be a shame not to share them for those of us with limited access to laptops, etc...
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“To Walk It Is To See It” is a captivating memoir telling the story of a trek 1,400 miles across Europe in 98 days! (Just for the record, that is roughly the equivalent of walking from the Empire State Building to Mount Rushmore but with more elevation.)

In 2018, Kathy Elkind embarks on the long-distance GR5 trail across the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France with her husband of 27 years. With personal insights about marriage, midlife, and the female experience as well as beautiful descriptions of the landscapes they cross, this memoir never drags but only inspires as Elkind weaves a tale of adventure and reflection.

It’s an absolute joy to be able to tag along with Kathy and Jim on this magnificent journey through the author’s personal thoughts and recollections. Most hiking memoirs are about solo experiences and I appreciated that this tackles not only the challenge of the terrain but the need to consider a partner as you travel. What Kathy discovers is that “a long marriage is like a long trail: there are ups and downs and it takes hard work to keep it going, but the beauty along the way is staggering.”

I highly recommend it.
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♦️In the year 2018, Kathy Elkind along with her husband Jim went on an adventure. They decided to walk 1400 miles on Europe's Grande Randonnee Cinq (GR5) which spans the countries of France, Luxembourg, Belgium, Switzerland and The Netherlands. Their idea was to take a gap year, allow themselves to pause and also test their relationship when they were both approaching sixty. They walked for 98 days through forests and villages, across mountains and by rivers and lakes. In this book, Kathy shares her experience with the readers. 

💥The author has beautifully captured her physical and emotional journey with the readers. The descriptions of the different countries, their little villages, beautiful landscapes and unique cuisines are sure to make the readers want to visit those places. She has also discussed different types of feelings and recognizing them. As a trained teacher of Mindful Self-Compassion, she talks about practising self-compassion instead of shaming oneself. She also talks about how staying in the "here and now" helps us to enjoy the little things in life. I also learnt about respecting boundaries and loving my own body.

💥This book taught me that it's never too late to go for an adventure if one is determined to do so. It was an enjoyable read for me and I think that other readers will feel the same.
                I would like to thank the author, publisher and NetGalley for a DRC of the book.
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I love books and nature and books about nature so this choice was a no-brainer for me. If you're looking for instructions on a GR5 thru-hike, this isn't the book for you. If you are looking for a book about a woman sometimes barely tolerating her husband while she walks the GR5, then this IS the book for you. At first, I was put off by the seemingly simple sentence structure (lack of contractions, etc.), but it became almost lyrical as I read. When the author explained that she struggled with dyslexia, it made sense. It's no Wild or In Beauty May She Walk or even Grandma Gatewood, but it was a good story about a woman on a trail questioning her life at the age of 50-something. Other 50-somethings, like me, will enjoy it. (I really, really hope that the finished book includes some of the photos that she alludes to throughout the book.)
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"There is a saying: An adventure is not worth telling if there are no dragons." (loc. 127)

I say that I'm a semi-reformed nomad, and it's books like these that keep the 'semi' part of that in play. Surely I could lace up my boots, lock up my apartment, and go out into the mountains for a few weeks...or months?

When Elkind and her husband Jim wanted an adventure, they did that: they picked the GR5, a route that winds from the Netherlands all the way down to the south of France. As the kilometers slipped by, the route got tougher—but so did they.

This is the second book I've read in as many months about the Grande Randonnée network (the first was "The Twenty", about the GR20), and my goodness it fuels the wanderlust. Elkind and her husband had pretty quiet dragons on the trail, all things considered—occasional wrenches thrown in the works, but it would be stranger if there were none in 98 days of walking! Her dragons tend to come more from within, when looking back at years past. I'm particularly intrigued by Elkind's writing about her dyslexia, for which she did not receive adequate support as a child—not learning to read until grade seven—and the fact that she ended up teaching elementary school, with a focus on reading. "We teach what we need to learn", she says (loc. 775), and I wonder how much else that might apply to.

I read piles and piles of books about the Camino before I walked that, and another stack or two after—perhaps these books about the GR trails herald a new adventure? One can dream.

Thanks to the author and publisher for providing a review copy through NetGalley.
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“To Walk It Is To See It” is an inspirational book revealing more than fitness to walk a trail, it’s about soul searching and finding what matters in life.
I loved following Kathy and Jim’s journey as they challenged their bodies and minds. Written by Kathy, clearly she learns a lot, thinks more and shares her views with emotion and honesty, a wonderful read. 
Kathy wanted to share this journey with Jim, taking time to plan their individual needs to achieve an adventure that they’ll both enjoy. 
It’s an amazing story, I particularly enjoyed hearing Kathy work on her confidence to find herself, allowing her to realistically explore her strengths and weaknesses! . 
I would recommend this book, it truly takes the reader on a journey too, visiting and exploring the great outdoors. 

Thanks to the publisher, NetGalley and amazing author for this informative and inspiring story.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I have never seen the word I used this much in any book I have read. What could have been a great story collapsed under the weight of horrible writing.
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Long-distance walking has enormous appeal: You can see places at a human pace rather than racing through in a car. Interact with the terrain and local people —and other walkers— to experience what is there. Long walks also allow time for introspection., and that’s what makes this book magical.

To Walk It Is To See It by Kathy Elkind is a daily travelogue of the author’s 1400-mile/90+ day walk along the Grand Randonnée Cinq (GR5), billed as one of the world’s most spectacular long-distance hikes. The author’s GR5 starts in the Netherlands, then crosses Belgium and Luxembourg before traversing France through the Alps, ending at Nice on the Mediterranean. 

Each day’s entry includes what the author is seeing and experiencing as she and her husband cover the terrain, as well as musings on life, the past, and the future. As she nears the end, the author starts to wonder about what’s next and tells herself to be present in that moment, and the next, and the next. Great advice for any day.

This lovely book combines travel writing, tour guide, and heartfelt memoir. This was Elkind's grand adventure, and wandering with the author and her husband was wonderful.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC.
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A travelogue with enticing description of a couple’s 2200 kilometre journey by foot across the Grand Randonnée Cinq interwoven with a deeply personal internal monologue in which the author reveals her early life’s struggles with dyslexia and ongoing work to overcome its limitations through self acceptance and self improvement. The author is always candid in her revelations. Whilst the scenery is vividly relayed and ‘Insta worthy’ the personal journey is presented matter a fact, warts and all, and rather then presenting as ‘I’m all good now and here’s what you can learn from me’ it speaks to a willingness to share the hard stuff even as it is happening, which I found disarming. A very easy book to recommend both as travel lit and as biography.
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Reading this book felt like reading letters home from a traveling friend... and then getting to sneak a peek at their travel journal as well. Honest, intimate, and deeply engaging, this book is not only the story of a woman's physical journey down the GR5, but of a woman's emotional journey back to herself after a series of changes at a significant time of life. I can't wait to buy physical copies of this book and give it to several friends. Thanks so much to NetGalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this lovely book!
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What a beautiful story. My wanderlust was there on the journey taking in each new place visited, but also giving room to the space that exists to think about life's journey. I appreciated the opportunity to read this one very much. Thank you!
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Great book with an honest quality to it. I loved reading about the authors adventures and life. Really well put together and a joy to read.
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I really enjoyed this book and it inspired me to participate in more hikes! Fascinating peek at hiking the GR5. I only wish there was more attention spent on details of the villages they hiked through.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC for an honest review.
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*I received a digital ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

I love travel memoirs, and this one delivered - the author Kathy and her husband embark on a walking tour through Europe, and I loved reading about their physical and metaphorical journeys. This is a slightly different take on a travelogue compared to other recent versions - Kathy and her husband are older, and have decided to take a more luxurious approach, spending their days walking through beautiful scenery but definitely not roughing it!

As a teacher I find Kathy's reflections on her career and her experiences of dyslexia fascinating and relatable, and her personal journey with eating and her body is such an important one for women to share. I'm not quite at Kathy's stage in life but it's wonderful to read a book by a woman at a different stage in life - so often women over 30 are all but forgotten, and I found a great deal of value in seeing things through her eyes.

This book, like a walking tour itself, can be slow-paced and meandering, but I enjoyed dipping in and out of it, and found myself daydreaming about my own future adventures as I went. As food for thought, a meditation on a life, and inspiration, I really recommend this one!
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Kathy and her husband embark on their own version of a gap year in 2018 by walking the 1,400-mile Grande Randonnée Cinq (GR5) across The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, and France. This long walk includes comfort, local cuisine, and lodging every day. Kathy writes eloquently about the sights and her experiences along the journey, as well as reflecting on her childhood struggles with dyslexia, weight issues, and self-esteem. The memoir is a recommended read for anyone interested in adventure and long walks ! I loved it.
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