Walking around

I caught myself admiring a lovely Wedgwood tea set, London, November 2005

I caught myself admiring a lovely Wedgwood tea set, London, November 2005

“I absolutely love cities that reward walking.  In London, you can’t go three blocks without coming upon something grand and historic, a charming little square, or an interesting piece of street life.  To paraphrase Samuel Johnson, when you’re tired of walking around London, you’re tired of life.” — Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

For those who haven’t yet figured it out, I’m often writing things I need to read or hear myself. So today, I’m reminding myself of how much I love to walk.

The insanely busy holiday season, coupled with the rainy and/or cold weather and my generally low moods lately have meant that I’ve not been walking nearly as much as usual. Like maybe 3-4 days of every week, at most, and only two miles or so when I do walk.  For someone who used to walk five miles EVERY day (no matter the weather), this is a considerable slump.  My bathroom scales know it, but more importantly, my mind and body feel it.  I really, really need to get going again. Hence the pep talk.

It’s not a hard argument to make, though.  I agree with Pang; I’m crazy about cities that reward walking.  In this category I would immediately think of London, as he mentions, but also of Paris, Rome, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Washington DC and pretty much any charming little town on either coast.  Come to think of it, once you figure out where the sidewalks, bike lanes or other pedestrian-friendly roads are, almost anyplace can reward walking.

Cities offer an energy and vitality not found anywhere else, but suburban and rural settings have unique charms, too.  No matter where we are walking, our minds are on a scavenger hunt for images that inspire, amuse, educate or palliate.  Whether we snap photos with a man-made camera or gather visual memories with only our neurological equipment, we are building a scrapbook of comfort and joy that will stay with us on an unconscious level, even as our minds must return to focus on other tasks.

It may be true that when we’re tired of walking, we’re tired of life.  If so, addressing the symptoms could affect the cure.  I invite you to join me in getting outside, even in the cold or rain (bundle up! take an umbrella!) to gather images for our personal collections of things to be happy about. If you’re in the country, keep an eye out for wildlife, and an ear open to birdsong.  If you’re in a suburb or city, stop in an interesting shop, or treat yourself to a cup of coffee or tea at a charming bistro.  Or just use your imagination to transform a mundane scene into something unique, by looking more closely, or from a different angle.

Let’s go claim some of the rewards of walking.  Feel free to share with us some details what you find (or what finds you).

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Good morning, Julia! On three of the last four Wednesdays, we’ve been hit with such “winter weather” that Sandy and I haven’t been able to drive to each other’s place for our weekly walk. One week, Sandy faithfully started out, and then called to tell me that she was sliding all over the place and had to abandon the effort once again, notng that she’s been a Minnesota driver all her life, and had never experienced such conditions previously. You would think I’d have still finished bundling up to go out for a walk myself, but instead I went back to bed!
    Walking in winter storms can be fun, if one is properly bundled up and its one of those storms just below freezing, not those storms below zero!

    • Susan, if the ordeal of the past 11 months has given me nothing else positive, it has certainly instilled in me a deep fear of falling (something I already had, but previously only feared a broken bone, not a smashed face followed by a two-year reconstruction process). Sometimes, it’s wise to forgo a walk, or take it indoors if there is a nearby mall or other venue available. More than once on a winter walk, I’ve hit a patch of ice that wasn’t visible to me, and fallen or nearly fallen– thankfully, not ever on my face!

  2. Chris

    Hi Julia,

    I really needed the pep talk also! Too many things going on at this point in my life and, since retirement, I’ve not been able to establish or create a routine that provides a semblance of organization, or structure. But I’m working on it. An occasional walk should provide benefits, health wise as well as “spiritually”.

    Hope all is good with you and Matt! 😊

    • Hi Chris, we are both doing reasonably well, thanks for asking! Yes, routine is SO important! And I’m getting better at sticking to the ones I create for myself. I tend to be easily distracted from routines, but since my injury, I’ve learned to respect them much more than I did before. Flannery O’Connor was right about that!

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