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Podcast #318: Exploring Life’s Trails, Literally and Metaphorically | The Art of Manliness

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One of my favorite things to do in life is to find and hike a trail out in the wilds. I love how a good trail gently leads you through nature. You don’t have to think much about where you’re going, so it gives you time to think about other things. It’s great for chewing on deep issues and getting new insights, but it also causes you to take the trail for granted. For example, I sometimes forget that a group of people blazed the trail I’m enjoying and that another group continues to maintain it without any fanfare.

My guest today decided to stop taking trails for granted and to explore them in-depth — both literally and metaphorically — after his own hike on the Appalachian Trail. His name is Robert Moor and he’s the author of the book On Trails: An Exploration. Today on the show, Robert shares why he decided to hike the entire Appalachian Trail after he graduated from college and why that experience led him to diving into the deeper meaning of trails.

We then discuss why following a trail is so existentially satisfying and how trails are embedded in human thought and communication and provide us with a sense of place and orientation in our lives.

We end our conversation talking about the idealistic origins of the Appalachian Trail, the movement to extend the Appalachian Trail to Morocco, yes Morocco, and what a perpetual hiker named Nimblewill Nomad can teach us about the limits of freedom.

If you’re a hiker, you’re going to love this show. If you’re not a hiker, it’s going to inspire you to find a trail this weekend and become one.

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