Is it the nearest thing I can find to meditation, or my way of paying my dues to my inner nomad? Is it for the exercise that’s in it? Or for the easy companionship when I walk with others? There are elements of all of these, but it comes down to the fact that I love it. The reasons don’t matter. It’s the time I feel most myself, most at peace, and most interested in life. When I’ve been walking I can enjoy other activities even more.
Walking in remote countryside clears my brain. Walking in cities may lead to odd encounters and discoveries. It makes little difference if it’s somewhere I know well, or somewhere new. Though if I had to choose I would probably go with the new. Like Baudelaire in his poem Le voyage and like many people – novelty enchants me.
But this search for something new mustn’t be too superficial – and walking gives me the chance to feel I belong to a place, and to lay hold and possess it in return. I think it’s on the same level as learning a language, which is a way of understanding a country and feeling at home there.
I tend not to philosophise about this in my walking blog, but I have certainly put some miles under my boots this year.