On Foot to Canterbury
A Son's Pilgrimage
“My father didn’t need this walk, not the way I do. For him it would have been a fun way to spend some time with his son. He had, I begin to realize, a talent for living in the moment… Perhaps a pilgrimage would help me find happiness. Perhaps I could walk my way into a better frame of mind, and somehow along the road to Canterbury I would find a new purpose for my life. It was worth a shot.”
Setting off on foot from Winchester, Ken Haigh hikes across southern England, retracing one of the traditional routes that medieval pilgrims followed to the shrine of Saint Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Walking in honour of his father, a staunch Anglican who passed away before they could begin their trip together, Haigh wonders: Is there a place in the modern secular world for pilgrimage? On his journey, he sorts through his own spiritual aimlessness while crossing paths with writers like Anthony Trollope, John Keats, Jane Austen, Jonathan Swift, Charles Dickens, and, of course, Geoffrey Chaucer. Part travelogue, part memoir, and part literary history, On Foot to Canterbury is engaging and delightful.