On walking and wanderlust
“Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors–home, car, gym, office, shops– disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking on e occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.”
— Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit
I like to walk. I walk a lot, to do my shopping, to get from A to B, to study a place, to sort out the spaghetti strands of my own mind. We have spent long periods of time living car free, using our feet as our primary means of transportation.
I’ve traveled lots of different ways: by bicycle, in vans, busses, trains, airplanes and on our own two feet.
One thing that is consistently true, in my experience, is that the more slowly I’m moving, the more I’m experiencing.
Walking forces an interaction with an environment that a car isolates me from. Instead of just seeing a place go by from my climate controlled chamber, behind glass, I feel it, I breathe it, I taste it. The texture of a place passes beneath my sandaled feet. I notice the bugs and the flowers. I can hear the rhythm of a place in the drumbeat of city life or the quiet song of a forest path.
I’ve been reading about walking lately. Wanderlust, by Rebecca Solnit is one of the books I’m meandering through. The above quote resonated with me: On foot, everything stays connected. The world isn’t a series of interiors that we move between as quickly as possible, instead, it’s the great outdoors, which is punctuated with interiors that act like cocoons. That idea, of keeping things connected, has renewed my desire to walk and my commitment to keeping my feet on solid ground as often as possible.
I travel to see the world, to learn, to grow as a person in my connections with the physical world and the souls that inhabit it. It’s not a race from home, to office, to gym for me. I’ve given up all three of those concepts altogether, but it isn’t really about the interiors, is it? Because I could easily replace those with hostel, to museum, to airport.
What it’s really about is slowing down, making contact with the earth, and taking the time, mentally and physically, to be in a place. Without rushing. Without judgement. As an observer and a traveler, even if the trip is only to the corner store and back.