Walk The Byways

walking the byways

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. –John Muir

We don’t usually think about walking that much.

It’s something that most people do every day to get from one location to another, whether it be across the hall, across the kitchen, or across town. We learn to walk early in our lives and never really slow down after that.

There’s something about walking from one location to another that feels very personal. It allows you to see the world up close and at a slow pace.

Surrounded by cars and faster-than-ever modes of transportation, sometimes it can be jarring to slow down and wander on your own two feet. But walking helps us feel more connected to our surroundings.

You can feel the road or the trail under your feet, you can watch the scenery change as you walk slowly by instead of whizzing by in a car or a bus. It allows you to interact with nature, with the people around you, and even with the weather in a way that you don’t usually interact when in a vehicle.

While it’s not always practical to walk to your destination, especially when you’re running late for work, walking allows you to appreciate the journey without focusing as much on the ending. It also makes you appreciate a good pair of walking shoes for travel more than you ever would. So here’s to traveling on foot, the great equalizer between Ancient Man and the 21st century.

Walking Through the Basics

Walking doesn’t require too many instructions. You put one foot in front of the other and soon you’re walking right out the door. But it can take some preparation for a long walk ahead of you instead of arriving at your destination in 5 minutes.

Walking makes you pay attention to the path in front of you, whether it’s a sidewalk or a walking trail. Walking is also a great way to start getting in shape, as it is not as strenuous as running or weight-lifting, and it allows you to get movement in without stressing your body as much as jumping into a workout would.

But while walking doesn’t get your heart rate as high as running, walking daily can help improve your circulation and your heart rate average. Besides that, walking can take you places that you could never go in a car. From off the beaten trail adventures, to up-close-and-personal tours of monuments and landscapes like you’ve never seen them before, sometimes being on foot opens your eyes to everything around you.

Of course, while you can go for a long walk in your flip-flops, you’ll be better suited if you wear walking sandals and make sure you have everything you need before going on your next walkabout.

Getting Off on the Right Foot

Like many activities, having the right pair of shoes is crucial when going for a walk. But the right walking shoes can also benefit you in your day-to-day life, not just when you want to wander off during a warm summer evening. While heels, boat shoes,  and fashion shoes look appealing on the mannequin, they are far from comfortable on your legs and your joints in the long run.

That’s why choosing a good, supportive pair of walking boots or shoes, both for your day-to-day life and when going on a walk, is important and can save you from a lot of pain. Having the wrong pair of shoes has been linked to back problems and joint problems, and can make it harder for you to explore as far as you want to because you’re fighting with blisters on a daily basis.

You also want to make sure that your shoes can breathe, as a pair of smelly shoes can make any walk uncomfortable. A good pair of walking socks will help with this, as well as prevent blisters while on long walks.

There are other things that you can take with you on a walk to help you track your progress, like exercise trackers and monitors that show you your heart rate and even can give you a GPS location of where you want to go.

You can also invest in a high-quality backpack to help you be prepared on your long walks. Whether you decide to travel light or go as far as you can see, the right gear can help you get your foot out the door.

Geocaching

Geocaching is a great activity that you can only do on foot. Geocaching is like the treasure hunts you used to have when you were a kid, but on all larger scale and all around the world.

You are given coordinates to a location, and your goal is to find the treasure stash there, usually in a marked box. You can go geocaching as close to home or as far from home as you like, and you can bring a record of your travels back with you in the form of small items stored in each cache, as well as log books where you can track what you found and when you showed up.

The biggest part of geocaching is not what you find at the end, but the adventure of getting there yourself. It’s also a great way to get you motivated to explore all the little byways around you, as you never know what you might find when you slow down and take in the scenery.

Walk This Way

Walking is an activity that you can do pretty much everywhere, except for the stand side of the moving staircase at the airport, of course. The real limit of going for a walk it’s how far your feet will take you.

Whether you’re looking to explore the Freedom Trail in Boston or want to walk along the Grand Canyon, there is always something new to see when you let your feet find the way. So do your research, grab your walking cane, and find out some of the best walking trails wherever you end up, and you might just see a new side to a familiar place.

Of course, sometimes walking can be a struggle, especially if you’ve recently had an injury or surgery. But don’t let that stop you – grab some crutches or a knee scooter and get moving.

So go find where the sidewalk ends (or where it starts) and create your own roadmap by following your own two feet. Of course, if you are too lazy to walk you could always try out a hoverboardlongboard, or inline skates.