These Names are Made for Walkin’

Guest blogger LAURIE LICO ALBANESE, who’s chronicling her year’s worth of walks on her blog My Big Walk, ponders names made for strolling the open road.

What do Walker Evans, Sojourner Truth, and Flannery O’Connor have in common?

They’re all Americans. OK, that’s a start.

They all have great names. That’s also true.

They had inspirational lives? Also correct.

But what links this Depression-era photographer (Evans), former slave (Truth), and Southern writer (O’Connor) with people named Journey, Amble, or Voyage? Names like Strider, Skip, March, Hiker, Pacer, Saunter, Trek, Ramble, Lane, Pike, Track, Racer, Skipper, Dash, Lane, Streeter, Strada (Italian for ‘street’) also fit the bill.

Still stumped? Saunter, in French, is Flanerie. Mais oui, c’est vrai.  (Translation: but yes, it’s true!)

And Saunter, we learn from Thoreau in his 1850s essay, Walking, has its etymological origins in the Middle Ages, “from idle people who roved about the country…and asked charity, under pretence of going à la Sainte Terre“—to the holy land, till the children exclaimed, “There goes a Sainte-Terrer”, a saunterer—a holy-lander….

Some, however, would derive the word from sans terre, without land or a home, which, therefore, in the good sense, will mean, having no particular home, but equally at home everywhere.” At home anywhere.

If I could choose a single identity for myself, it would be that. A saunterer, at home anywhere.  And everywhere. In fact, that urge to walk the world and see it up close and from the ground is what got me started on My Big Walk, a year-long daily walking project that I’m chronicling on my new blog. A long-time reporter, novelist, and memoirist, I travelled to Italy twice in the last two years to research my current historical novel, The Miracles of Prato. After walking Florence and Prato it was really hard to climb back up to my office, turn on the computer, and crank things out alone. I love to write, but I kept feeling I’d rather be out under the sun and sky, meeting people and walking in the stream of life.

Essentially, I love to be sauntering about.  I’ve always fantasized about walking for a month through France, Italy, England, or Ireland: pub crawl, vineyard tour, Renaissance seminar, Blarney Stone sojourn. But that that doesn’t fit into my present family lifestyle. On morning I realized I could take that wanderlust – the urge to walk, to see, to explore, to saunter, journey, sojourn, — and do it right here, from home. Voila…My Big Walk was born.

To mark my birthday, I’m walking one hour, every day, 365 days – from October 1, 2009 to October 1, 2010 — through sun, rain, fog, sleet, snow, hangovers, hangnails, sprained ankles, bad moods, hot flashes, cold spells. You name it, I’m walking through it. I’m meeting new friends, seeing new places, and I have plenty of time on my daily walks to plot out my novels and think long and hard about the names of my characters.

If you’re looking for a name that will tell the world that you — and your child — have a pilgrim soul, a wanderlust, and a yen for adventuring wherever your own two feet can take you, you imght also consider these other Names for Walkers, Runners, and Cyclists:










RESA  (journey in Swedish)













VIOGGIO (voyage in Italian)


Laurie Lico Albanese has been published in almost every genre including fiction, poetry, journalism, creative nonfiction, and memoir. She is now the host of a new blog site, My Big Walk. Her books include BLUE SUBURBIA: Almost a Memoir, LYNELLE BY THE SEA, and THE MIRACLES OF PRATO, co-written with art historian Laura Morowitz. Her travel and general-interest pieces have appeared in The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, Mothering magazine, and many other periodicals.


Many of us on nameberry were riveted and moved by the story of Dotsmom, who in the midst of preparing for the arrival of her twin daughters, who were to join big sister Dorothy aka Dottie, found herself becoming the new mom of little Henry, suddenly orphaned by a car accident.  Dotsmom proudly announced the arrival of the newest additions to her family, twins Eloise Charlotte Lavender and Matilda Adelaide Rosemary, better known as Ellie and Mattie. That’s Ellie on top, Mattie on the bottom.  All our congratulations and best wishes to the beautiful new family. ellie34 mattie2

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required


12 Responses to “These Names are Made for Walkin’”

You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

Kristine Says:

November 22nd, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Must comment on Eloise & Matilda– they are absolutely adorable! I was anxiously awaiting pictures of them!! congrats, “Dotsmom”, and best wishes =)

Rosamund Says:

November 22nd, 2009 at 9:57 pm

Very interesting blog Laurie. Good luck with your walking!

Dotsmom-Eloise and Matilda are beautiful! All the very best to you and all your family!

EvanescenceDolly Says:

November 22nd, 2009 at 10:43 pm

Their gorgeous Dotsmom! What lovely names too!

Jill Says:

November 23rd, 2009 at 12:23 am

Great blog, Laurie! I love walking, and admire your dedication. I hope your walk goes well! (I’ll be sure to check out your blog.):-)

And Kate, that’s my favorite Eloise photo! 🙂 I love Miss Matilda’s picture, too, and think the babies are absolutely gorgeous! Hugs to Dottie and Henry!:-) (I officially nominate you for the gold medal in the Naming Olympics.)

JustADad Says:

November 23rd, 2009 at 9:25 am

I just found Dotsmom’s story on the boards and want to wish her and her family all the best. The twins are beautiful and have terrific names.

Abby Says:

November 23rd, 2009 at 10:10 am

Congratulations, Dottiesmom! What a lovely family – and what gorgeous names. All the best.

And the walking names? Laurie, I’m a serious pedestrian myself – I’m going to nip over and check out your blog next. But I wanted to add that I know a 5 y.o. named Johannah Sojourner – it was so unexpected in the middle spot. I’ve loved the name ever since.

Nephele Says:

November 23rd, 2009 at 11:48 am

Laurie, this was a great blog entry, highlighting a most interesting naming theme! In thanks for your entertaining article on walkin’ names, I present you with a choice of walkin’ name aliases for yourself, both anagrammed from your actual name:

Alicia Bluerose Lane
Resa Leonicia LaBlue
= Laurie Lico Albanese

That’s for when you might ever feel the need to go by an anagrammed alias. 😉


Dotsmom, what beautiful babies! And what a heartwarming story. Love and best wishes to you.

— Nephele

Lemon Says:

November 24th, 2009 at 3:10 am

Absolutely beautiful little girls, with gorgeous names perfect for them! From a twin, let me commend you on picking beautiful names that match but allow each little lady to develop into her name separate of her sister. Congratulations to you, your husband, Henry, and Dottie on the new arrivals!

Jillian Says:

November 24th, 2009 at 7:57 am

My birthday is also October 1! That’s fun.

Dotsmom, best wishes to you. I admire your strength. The girls are gorgeous, and so are their names!

Dotsmom Says:

November 25th, 2009 at 1:48 pm

Thanks everyone for your compliments on my daughters names and pictures. :-). I am very happy to say that both girls are now healthy and are getting to meet their extended family this thanksgiving!

Dexter Streaming Says:

December 20th, 2009 at 8:34 pm

Dexter Streaming…

Cartoon Network– Dexter’ s Laboratory Posted on December 7, 2009- By DNBSHARE….

ffxiv gil Says:

October 17th, 2010 at 12:52 am

Hello Guru, what entice you to post an article. This article was extremely interesting, especially since I was searching for thoughts on this subject last Thursday.

leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.