In 1608, Thomas Coryat—the man described by writer Robin Hunt as “the first pure English tourist”—rambled across Europe, on foot and alone, simply for the pleasure of doing so. Nearly four centuries later, Hunt has set off from England to recreate Coryat’s journey. After announcing this five-month project on the group blog Contemporary Nomad, he promptly began BETWIXT, a site where he’ll chronicle his travels using advantages old Tom never had:
Unlike Thomas Coryat, who wrote in a notebook with a quill pen and whose preparation for the trip amounted to little more than watching The Merchant of Venice and joking with Shakespeare, I have several additional tools at my disposal. These include an Apple laptop computer, Leica cameras, a Tri-band mobile, an I-Pod, microphone and a blogger account.
Follow Hunt’s journey at his blog, a quirky and already overwhelming compendium of anecdotes, photos, observations, and encounters with the oddballs and ancient mariners one necessarily meets on a walk across western Europe. The whole business may strike you as fascinating, bemusing, perhaps even frustrating. I find Hunt’s Coryat-quest an inspiration—even if what it inspires on these restless summer evenings is something close to envy.