Why does Bryson go for his "Walk in the Woods"?
Bill Bryson, author of "A Walk in the Woods", spent a good part of his adult life (something like 20 years) in England. He wrote a book called "Notes from a Small Island" about his experiences there. In 1995, he returned to the United States with his family, and they settled in New Hampshire. Living in this spot in New England, Bryson was not far away from the trail. In an attempt to get reacquainted with his homeland - specifically the land itself - he decided he would move on from exploring countries to exploring nature - specifically the Appalachian Trail.
Two other reasons are specifically mentioned by Bryson. One is that it will get him in shape. The other is found in this quote from the book:
When guys in camouflage pants and hunting hats sat around in the Four Aces Diner talking about fearsome things done out-of-doors, I would no longer have to feel like such a cupcake. I wanted a little of that swagger that comes with being able to gaze at a far horizon through eyes of chipped granite and say with a slow, manly sniff, “Yeah, I’ve sh** in the woods.”
Bryson is joined on trail by Steven Katz, a recovering alcoholic. Katz never makes his own reason for hiking clear, but it is suggested in his speeches that he is searching for a new approach to his own life.