Walking: taking like one step at a time

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Document 1 : The transformative properties of walking



In his book, Born to Walk, Dan Rubinstein describes the experiences of several walkers, including those of Matt Green.

Green used to have a girlfriend and a respectable career as a transportation engineer. Then the relationship ended and he found it difficult to justify doing a job he didn't enjoy for money he didn't need. Feeling anxious and craving adventure, he turned his back on five years of highway and roadway design and walked across the United States. Green departed from Rockaway Beach, Queens, in March 2010, wearing a reflective vest and pushing his camping gear in a running stroller, and arrived, five months later, in Rockaway Beach, Oregon. While preparing for the trip, he was bombarded by suggestions that sounded like commands: You have to go there, you need to see that. Instead, he plotted a direct line to Chicago, to visit his brother, and west to the Pacific.

Without specific destinations to anticipate, Green could appreciate anything he saw, anywhere he was, instead of counting the miles until he reached, say, South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore. “To see interesting things, you don’t need to know what you’re going to see,” he says. “That’s letting other people’s preferences prejudice your reaction. You can just walk across North Dakota. I’ve driven across places like that, and it’s incredibly boring.”

When he returned to New York, Green's plan to find a job and settle down was no longer palatable. Slowly, his next journey took shape.

New York, like all cities, is complex and bewildering. “Don't try to seek out anything particular, don't even bother trying to draw any conclusions,” he says. “Just listen to what the city has to tell you … and let your own unique instincts guide you.”

Green is mostly looking for those human moments that connect us to the urban web.

By the end of his New York odyssey, Matt Green will have ­covered roughly 14,000 kilometres.

“Do you ever get bored while walking ” I ask.

Some parts of the city, such as Harlem, are more lively than ­quieter, suburban places, like Long Island, he concedes. “But this walk has made me think about what boredom means. Nobody asked me that question when I was an engineer and I sat in a cubicle, under fluorescent lights, doing pretty much the same thing all day every day. Out here, it's always something new.”

Dan Rubinstein, Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act, 2015.

Document 2 : Arriving in town

Exeter took Harold by surprise. He had developed a slow inner rhythm that the fury of the city now threatened to overturn. He had felt comfortable in the security of open land and sky, where everything took its place. He had felt himself to be part of something bigger than simply Harold. In the city, where there was such short-range sight, he felt anything might happen, and that whatever it was he wouldn’t be ready.

He looked for traces of the land beneath his feet and all he found was where it had been replaced with paving stones and Tarmac. Everything alarmed him. The traffic. The buildings. The crowds pushed past, shouting into their mobile phones. He smiled at each face and it was exhausting, taking in so many strangers. He lost a full day, simply wandering. Each time he resolved to leave, he saw something that distracted him, and another hour passed. He deliberated over purchases that he hadn’t realized he required. Should he send Maureen a new pair of gardening gloves An assistant fetched five different types, and modelled them on her hands, before Harold remembered his wife had long since abandoned her vegetable beds. He stopped to eat and was presented with such an array of sandwiches that he forgot he was hungry, and left with nothing. (Did he prefer cheese or ham or would he like the filling of the day, seafood cocktail Or would he like something else altogether Sushi Peking duck wraps ) What had been so clear to him when he was alone, two feet on the ground, became lost in this abundance of choices and streets and glass-fronted shopping outlets. He longed to be back on the open land.

And now that he had the opportunity to buy walking equipment, he also faltered. After an hour with an enthusiastic young Australian man, who produced not only walking boots but also a rucksack, a small tent and a talking pedometer, Harold apologized profusely and bought a wind-up torch. He told himself that he had managed perfectly well with his yachting shoes and his plastic bag, and with a little ingenuity he could carry his toothbrush and shaving foam in one pocket, and his deodorant and washing powder in the other.

Rachel Joyce, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, 2012.


Texts 1 and 2

1What activity do Harold Fry and Matt Green have in common

Text 1

21.Fill in the gaps with words from the list below.

Matt Green – reading – writing – his brother – working – Dan Rubinstein – walking – studying – driving – his girlfriend

The author, ………………, changed his life. He stopped ……………… and started ……………… and ……………… about other people’s personal experiences. One of his examples is about ………………, who also decided to change his life.

2.Why did Matt Green make that decision (2 reasons). Find a quotation for each reason.

31.Look at the map and write down the different steps of Matt Green’s trip in chronological order. Associate each step with the appropriate letter.

Step 1 :

Step 2 :

Step 3 :

Step 4 : B. New York City


2.What did Matt do before leaving


☐ Pack camping equipment

☐ Phone tourist offices

☐ Get safety clothing

☐ Book hotels on the way

☐ Hire a car

3.Conclusion: Matt’s slogan could be…


Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.


To be happy, plan your future step by step.



Time is money.


Enjoy the present, let life surprise you.

41. “When he returned to NY” (l. 20), what did Matt Green decide to do

a) find a respectable, well-paid job.

b) rediscover New York City.

c) start a stable family with his partner.

d) become a municipal tour guide.

e) stay there and keep walking.

f) leave and explore the country.

2.What does he realise about his life before and his life now Choose the right adjectives to complete the sentences.

Dangerous – repetitive – fascinating – confusing – healthy

a) When I worked as an engineer, my life was… (one adjective)

b) Now, my life has become… (one adjective)

Text 2

5Which movement best represents where Harold comes from and where he is now Choose the right itinerary.

1.city → countryside

2.sea → land

3.city → another city

4.countryside → city

6Choose the adjectives which best describe his feelings towards the places and pick out 1 quotation to justify each answer.

1.Where he comes from a) positive b) negative

2.Where he is now a) positive b) negative

71.Answer the questions by quoting the text.

a) What sort of food was he offered (3 items)

b) What did he finally buy

2.What is Harold’s main difficulty in the shops Answer in your own words.

Texts 1 and 2

8Answer the following questions about Matt Green and Harold Fry and justify in your own words.

1.Do they share the same opinion about the city

2.Do they share the same opinion about following people’s advice

3.Do they share the same opinion about living a simple life


Choose ONE of the following subjects. (150 words minimum)

1Write an e-mail to a friend to explain your recent holiday (choose between trips 1, 2 or 3). Say what you enjoyed best and describe any problems you had.


Ghost City Tour

Go on a 15km evening’s adventure through the beautiful streets of Savannah, Georgia, U.S.A.

Visit haunted and historic homes, hidden cemeteries and many of Savannah’s secret, haunted locations.



Magic Wildlife Hike

Visit Scotland’s top wildlife site on the Isle of Mull and enjoy a 4 day walk with a wildlife expert.

Try delicious local food in the different hostels you stay in.



Hollywood film studios tour

Discover the sets where cult movies have been shot and make your own versions of your favorite movie scenes! 1 day.


2You and a friend love outdoor sports and have decided to go to The Blue Mountains National Park in Australia. You are discussing the best 2 methods of transport to visit it. Write your conversation.

cross-country cycling - hot air-ballooning - canoeing - paragliding - horse riding - walking - climbing

Les clés du sujet

Texte 1


Dan Rubinstein est un journaliste canadien. Après avoir travaillé dans plusieurs organes de presse de son pays, il est maintenant journaliste indépendant et se consacre à sa passion : voyager à pied.

Pour en savoir plus : https://borntowalk.org/about/

Résumé du texte

Matt Green a quitté une vie confortable et conventionnelle pour partir à l’aventure, à pied, sans autre but précis que d’aller à la découverte des lieux et des gens. Où que l’on soit, la marche à pied permet sans cesse de découvrir quelque chose de nouveau.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

To crave (l. 4) : brûler d’envie  camping gear (l. 7) : équipement de camping  stroller (l. 8) : poussette  to prejudice (l. 17) : influencer  palatable (l. 21) : acceptable  bewildering (l. 23) : déconcertant  to seek out (l. 24) : chercher  don’t even bother (l. 24) : ne cherchez même pas à  lively (l. 32) : vivant, animé  boredom (l. 34) : ennui  a cubicle (l. 35) : un box.

Texte 2


Rachel Joyce (1962-) est britannique. Après avoir écrit des pièces radiophoniques pour la BBC, elle a débuté une carrière de romancière avec The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, récompensé par plusieurs prix au Royaume-Uni.

Pour en savoir plus : https://www.rachel-joyce.co.uk/

Résumé du texte

Harold, habitué au rythme paisible et simple de la campagne, se sent déconcerté à son arrivée dans la ville d’Exeter, où tout va vite, où les magasins offrent tellement de choix qu’il ne sait pour quoi opter, en particulier lorsqu’il doit acheter un équipement de marcheur. Pour finir, il décide de se contenter de ce qu’il avait déjà.

Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension

Inner (l. 1) : intérieur  to threaten (l. 2) : menacer  to overturn (l. 2) : ­renverser  short-range (l. 6) : à courte distance  exhausting (l. 12) : épuisant  to wander (l. 13) : errer, flâner  bed (l. 18) : ici, plate-bande  array (l. 19) : choix, étalage  seafood (l. 21) : fruits de mer  shopping outlet (l. 25) : magasin  to long (l. 25) : brûler d’envie  Peking duck wraps (l. 23) : roulés au canard laqué  to falter (l. 28) : hésiter  rucksack (l. 30) : sac à dos  shaving foam (l. 34) : mousse à raser.

Les points de convergence

Les deux personnages sont des marcheurs : Matt est un passionné qui défend la marche comme seul vrai moyen de voyager, Harold cherche à acheter un équipement de randonneur. Les deux textes exposent le point de vue des personnages sur la ville. Pour Matt, la ville est riche en découvertes pour le marcheur qui sait regarder, tandis que Harold se sent perdu au milieu d’Exeter, où tout va vite, où il ne sait que choisir dans la profusion de biens de consommation mis à disposition.

Le sujet d’expression 1

Pistes de recherche

Quel que soit le type de circuit que vous choisissez, pensez à la mise en forme caractéristique d’un courriel : destinataire, objet, etc. Pensez aussi à utiliser le passé, puisqu’il vous est demandé de raconter un circuit récent.

Cherchez un élément ou un événement typique du lieu que vous visitez. Comme il a été suggéré, pensez à une mésaventure qui a pu vous arriver, en relation avec le lieu visité.

Vocabulaire utile

Trekking (randonnée)  accommodation (hébergement)  a sightseeing tour (un circuit touristique)  a highlight (un temps fort, un moment marquant)  a tourist trap (un piège à touristes)  landscape (paysage)  to spoil (gâcher).

Le sujet d’expression 2

Pistes de recherche

Choisissez bien deux activités parmi la liste qui vous est proposée. N’oubliez pas qu’il s’agit d’un dialogue. Les deux protagonistes pourront, selon votre choix, opposer deux activités et être en désaccord, ou au contraire choisir deux activités qu’ils considèrent comme complémentaires.

Vocabulaire utile

Hot-air ballooning (vol en montgolfière)  paragliding (parapente)  climbing (escalade)  to be scared (avoir peur)  to suit (convenir à)  safe (sûr, en sécurité)  opportunity (occasion)  overview (vue d’ensemble)  to afford (avoir les moyens de).



Both texts

1They both like walking.

Text 1

2The author, Dan Rubinstein, changed his life. He stopped working and started reading and writing about other people’s personal experiences. One of his examples is about Matt Green, who also decided to change his life.

1. He broke up with his girlfriend and gave up his job, as he wasn’t interested in it and the money he earned doing it any more. “Then the relationship ended and he found it difficult to justify doing a job he didn't enjoy for money he didn't need” (l. 2-4).

2. He wanted new adventures in his life. “Craving adventure, he turned his back on five years of highway and roadway design” (l. 4-5).

31. Step 1: C. Rockaway Beach, NY.

Step 2: D. Rockaway Beach, Oregon.

Step 3: A. Chicago.

2. Pack camping equipment. “his camping gear in a running stroller” (l. 7-8).

Get safety clothing. “Reflective vest” (l. 7)

3. D. Enjoy the present, let life surprise you.

41. B. Rediscover New York City. E. stay there and keep walking.

2. a) When I worked as an engineer, my life was repetitive.

b) Now, my life has become fascinating.

Text 2

54. Countryside → City.

61. Where he comes from: positive. “He had felt comfortable in the safety of open land and sky” (l. 3).

2. Where he is now: negative. “Everything alarmed him” (l. 10).

71. a) He was offered various sorts of sandwiches, sushi and Peking duck wraps (l. 19-23).

b) He didn’t buy anything, “he left with nothing” (l. 20).

2. There are so many things in the shops that he can’t make up his mind what to buy “What had been so clear to him when he was alone, two feet on the ground, became lost in this abundance of choices” (l. 23-24).

Both texts

81. No. While Matt finds it exciting to walk about and discover New York, Harold feels lost and insecure when he is in Exeter.

2. Yes. When “bombarded” by people’s suggestions about the places to see, Matt immediately decides to go his own way. Harold decides not to buy all the walking equipment the shop attendant advises him to take: what he already has is good enough for him.

3. Yes. Matt enjoys the simplicity of just watching and listening to what is happening around him as he is travelling. As for Harold, he can’t bear the complexity of city life and misses the quiet and secure simplicity of country life.


1 Guidelines

From: jimjones@mymail.com

To: janesmith@mymail.com

Subject: Miles in Mull


I’m just back from Mull after a 4-day sightseeing tour, trekking in superb Scottish landscapes. Quite a change from our busy overcrowded city! We walked miles and miles with a wildlife expert who showed us all sorts of birds and animals. He also taught us how to recognize different sorts of plants. As for accommodation, we spent the nights in simple and comfortable hostels where we could taste the local food. Most of it is like what we have over here, but I must admit the highlight of the holiday was haggis, the Scottish tradition­al dish, that we had for our last dinner. It was quite something! When they told us what it was made of, well, yuck! One of those tourist traps! But I am the courageous type and tasted it. Not so bad after all. I don’t think I could make it my regular dinner, but it was, well, interesting!

As I said, the landscape was splendid... when we could see it, that is: we had two days of continuous rain. So we walked in the mud and our shoes weighed a ton! The water even got through my vest and I caught a cold!

But it didn’t spoil the trip. So many beautiful things to see at ground level!

I’ll tell you more when I see you.



2 Guidelines

Jim: The Blue Mountain National Park is best seen from the sky, I think. What about going in a hot-air balloon It goes much higher that a para-glider and is more original, don’t you think

Jack: Sure, it is original, but I would be scared it might catch fire and burn and crash all of us to the ground. Besides, you have to be on your own in a para-glider, and I have never been on such a thing. My love of outdoor sports doesn’t go that high!

Jim: Ah, I see… You prefer outdoor sports when they are quiet… Does horse-riding suit you better

Jack: Much better! I have already ridden horses, I would feel safer, and it is less tiring than walking. And we would see more things, like wildlife, by staying on the ground than from hundreds of feet up. Going slow lets you see more.

Jim: Are you sure you enjoy outdoor sports I’d rather try something more exciting, something we don’t often have the opportunity to try.

Jack: Well, I suggest we do both: let’s first have an overview of the park and take a tour in a hot-air balloon, then we’ll take a horse guided tour to have the time to see more details. If we can afford both, that is. Let’s check the prices. Does that suit you

Jim: Great!

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