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Philosophy Walk: On Travel

September 14 @ 9:30 am - 12:30 pm MDT


What We’ll Explore

According to urban legend, some famous novelist (maybe Tolstoy or Dostoyevski?) once quipped that there are only two stories: “A stranger comes to town” and “Someone goes on a journey.” 

Regardless of who first said it, there’s something to the notion that travelling is essential, both to the ways we live, and to the stories we tell to help make sense of those lives.

In this walk, we’ll explore some of the ways that travel can be a space of encounter, transformation, and meaning.  We’ll compare modern experiences of travel with traditional theories and practices, including:

  • the deliberate, mindful walking of philosophers across the ages, from Aristotle (whose school became known as the “Peripatetics,” literally, “the people who walk around”) to Henry David Thoreau
  • the practice of pilgrimage in literature and in human life, from Chaucer and the traditional travels that inspired the Canterbury Tales, to contemporary spiritual journeys to shrines, temples, and other numinous sites around the world
  • the traditional account of human beings as “self-movers,” in that we’re choosers and initiators of action and motion, not just passively getting bounced along by external forces.

As we walk and talk together throughout the morning, we’ll think through what each of these three case studies can illuminate for us, regarding contemporary practices of travel:

  • How might different approaches to travelling enhance (or impede) our fundamental human capacities and abilities?
  • How can travel create (or obstruct) opportunities for meaningful, transformative encounters?
  • In what ways can the journey itself — or the even the mode in which we travel — be just as significant as the destination, or even more so?
  • And when we travel — whether close to home or to exotic destinations, whether as a vacation or as part of our daily routine — how can we dance between purposeful planning & mindful openness to the unexpected?


When & Where

This philosophy walk will be led by philosopher David Nowakowski.


Date: Saturday, September 14th (Tentative
Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm
Where: Spring Meadow Lake (Our group will meet in the main/North side of the lot at the far end of the entrance)

Registration Info

RSVP: Coming soon…
Cost: Free (Donations Appreciated)
Other: Wear weather appropriate attire & comfortable shoes

Walk Leader

David Nowakowski is a philosopher and educator in the Helena area whose professional work is dedicated to helping people of all ages and backgrounds access, understand, and apply the traditions of ancient philosophy to their own lives.  David began studying ancient philosophies and classical languages in 2001, and has continued ever since.  A scholar of the philosophical traditions of the ancient Mediterranean (Greece, Rome, and North Africa) and of the Indian subcontinent, reading Sanskrit, Latin, and classical Greek, he earned his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University in 2014.  His work has appeared in a variety of scholarly journals, including Philosophy East & WestAsian Philosophy, and the Journal of Indian Philosophy, as well as in presentations to academic audiences at Harvard, Columbia University, the University of Toronto, Yale-NUS College in Singapore, and elsewhere. Read more here…


Community Partners


Make a Donation Here

Our philosophy activities are FREE to the community.  While donations are never expected, they are always appreciated and help to keep programs like these going. Donations help to cover activity leader honorariums, implementation, and resource archiving, and more!   If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution you can do so by clicking here or on the button above.  For those facing more challenging financial circumstances, we ask that you please try to “pay it forward” with acts of kindness for your neighbors and community. 


Marisa Diaz-Waian


Spring Meadow Lake
2715 Country Club Drive
Helena, MT 59601 United States
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