This is one of the many reasons I love to read: Sometimes you pick up a book, quite by chance, and discover it’s exactly what you need at that moment. The Salt Path by Raynor Winn felt like the perfect companion as I grappled with what ‘home’ means to me. I listened to most of the audiobook during the long drive from Letterkenny to Dublin (and back) as we navigated our long-distance marriage/ house-hunting situation. It made the tedious hours on the road go by considerably faster.
The Salt Path is a memoir about a couple, Ray and Moth, who lost their family-home after a bad investment. To make matters worse Moth was diagnosed with CBD, a rare degenerative disease, shortly after this tragedy. With no home and an uncertain future, Moth and Ray decided to hike and wild-camp all along the South West Coast Path in the UK. As the story unfolds, the reader journeys with the couple as they reclaim their lives on the 630-mile route.
The book has a gentle pace and it’s all about the physical, emotional and psychological journey. Expect to be swept up in evocative descriptions of the coastline’s wild natural beauty, and to meet many strange and fascinating people along the way. Raynor includes facts about places of interest throughout the narrative and highlights some issues around ‘homelessness’ by humanising the people who are often shunned and ignored by society. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself re-evaluating some of your preconceptions.
This true story sheds light on how your home is deeply connected to your sense of self and wrestles with some uncomfortable questions. It reminded me that ‘home’ can be found in the small things, like sharing a cup of tea and weathering hardships with loved ones. All in all, I found the book inspiring and uplifting. Raynor and Moth held on to hope and kept going, even when it felt like they had nothing left in the world.
If you’re curious to know more about the couple and where they are now, have a look at this article, published in 2018 in The Guardian.
You can also have a look at The trouble with ‘going home’ where I unpack what home means when you’re often on the move.