Posted by: ktzefr | June 9, 2016

Walking: 100 Miles a Month

St. John, USVI; Photo:KFawcett

St. John, USVI; Photo:KFawcett

I walk 100 miles a month.  At least.  Outside when the weather is good, inside when it’s not.  If the temps drop to the 30s or go above 90, I walk through the house, up and down stairs, round and round.  I hate the treadmill.  It doesn’t go anywhere and I like to be going somewhere, even if it’s just in circles.

Every six months I need new running shoes.  The last pair got holes in the toes after only four.  Though walking is one of the cheapest exercises, it’s not entirely free.    

Early morning, six days a week, I get up, drink eight ounces of water, and go.  Sometimes with friends, sometimes alone.  When I’m with friends we talk about politics, religion, kids, movies, books, food…everything.  Nothing is off limits.  We agree; we disagree.  It’s all good.  We walk.

I don’t get bored. 

When I’m alone I take photos.  The cherry blossoms and lilacs and forsythia in spring.  The sky on days when it’s impossibly blue and filled with white clouds.  Rose bushes and peonies and clematis.  The colors of the fall foliage.  Footprints in the snow.

I’ve seen many live critters on my walks – squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits, foxes.  One morning I came face-to-face with three deer galloping down a hill in my direction.  I got out of the way, didn’t have time to take a photo.  I listen to the birdsong – robins, red-winged blackbirds, blue jays, mocking birds, cardinals.  I don’t wear earbuds; I’m never “plugged-in” to music.  I prefer the sound of nature, even if it is interspersed every now and then with noise — a siren or airplane or the hum of a helicopter.

Some days I plan meals and make lists in my head when I walk.  I write stories and poems, practice conversations I want or need to have with someone, and muse over big stuff — try to figure out what I really think about something.  I pray.  I make phone calls, talk to people I don’t see often. 

The great thing about walking is that I can do it almost anywhere.  It’s one of my favorite activities when I travel.  I’ve walked in a lot of places.  The prettiest is St. John in the US Virgin Islands where every turn in a trail brings another stunning natural vista.  I like early mornings on the Delaware shore, too.  A walk on the beach or boardwalk followed by a stop at the coffee shop and bakery is one of the best times of day.  And I love walking in Mexico – cities, little mountain towns, botanical gardens, jungle hikes.  Merida, Yucatan’s lively historic center is so flat I can easily walk for miles without realizing the distance.  Though hilly San Miguel can be challenging, the incredible colors and scents that mingle in the morning streets make it worth the effort.  And there are surprises around every corner meandering through the alleys of Guanajuato. 

When I recount memories of the places I’ve been, I almost always see myself walking – pigeons taking flight as I crossed St. Mark’s square in Venice, the rows of purple flowers in Hyde Park, London, the fairy-tale town of Dinklesbuhl, Germany where storks nest in the chimney tops.  Walking on the Stroget in Copenhagen one day, I heard a woman talking to her little dog.  She was speaking in Danish, of course, and a rather bizarre thought occurred to me — this pup knew something I didn’t know. 

In Paris I learned that it’s easy to get lost, but sometimes getting lost can be…fulfilling.  I stumbled onto a great candy store in the process.  Ditto for walking in Lausanne, Switzerland.  Otherwise, I would never have spotted the tiny chocolate shop with its marvelous treats. 

I used to walk to eat when I worked in DC.  Sometimes a favorite lunch spot was only a couple of blocks away; sometimes it was fifteen.  I once got off the bus in New York City, dropped my backpack at a hotel, and walked fifty-two blocks because it was a beautiful day to be out and about and I wanted a real French macaron.  Mine is a walk-eat-walk world; walking both whets the appetite and burns the calories. 

I have a meniscus tear in my right knee and arthritis in my feet, but this doesn’t bother me much.  I have to limit the steep hills, take it slowly if my knee hurts, and wear orthopedics in my shoes, but I try to keep walking.  100 miles a month.  So far, so good.   

St. John sunset, USVI; Photo:KFawcett

St. John sunset, USVI; Photo:KFawcett

 

 

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Responses

  1. Walking is such a good exercise. And walking while traveling is the best! I aim for 5 miles a day, except on days when I swim. I had never added up the miles, but now that I think about it, it is probably in the neighborhood of 100 a month.

    • Yes, Vellissima…five miles a day is more than 100 a month. After awhile, walking before breakfast just became something I did automatically. 🙂

      • Yes, but I don’t walk every day. I swim when I can, which is at least a couple of times a week. Good for you for having it be habitual, I’m not quite so organized!

      • But swimming is great, too.

  2. Impressive!

    • Rose…you should walk with me sometime. 🙂


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