What Would It Be Like To Walk EVERYWHERE For One Week?
On many afternoons, when the walls of the office start closing in on my body and my creativity, I’ll find other locations to work. Coffee shops, bookstores, bus stations, any place with free WiFi is a suitable office space. Most of the time I’ll end up at this sweet public library not far from home.
I frequent the joint enough that not only do I know all the regulars but I’m starting to become one. I’ll laugh at the black guy who takes study breaks by holding a one-man Tai Chi class in the open field behind the building or the old lady pocketing forty sugar packets a day from the café and give them “known only to me nicknames like “Don Chi-Dle” and “the lady who steals sugar packets all the time.” I never claimed to be good at giving nicknames.
There’s one guy, let’s call him Skipper, who power walks all over the building. Long, commanding strides through the fiction section and across to the community AV room and back, handfuls of books in each hand, not a stride lost. Skipper just walks. Walks.
So I’m blinking at a blank monitor for what felt like hours but might have only been moments and my brain is just misfiring. I needed caffeine, fresh air, and even a couple Tai Chi arm swings to get the blood flowing back to the brain. A (hot) coffee from the café would make a good kick to the brain but after realizing they were out of sugar packets I dipped out of the building and hoofed it up to the next block.
The balmy afternoon air blew suddenly cold, not with wind from the sky, but with a gush of forced air off the frame of a man moving with a purpose. The Skipper. The old man blew right by as if I were fixing a flat at Talladega. I caught a glimpse of his calves, rock hard from years of steps and struts, and notice for the first time he’s in phenomenal shape. In what felt like a blink, before I even pulled the coffee shop door completely open, Skipper trampled through the half-open entry, coffee and scone in hand.
On the surface, walking doesn’t appear to be the most strenuous of physical activity. I’ve been walking since the age of 2 –minus the initial few months when my key means of transportation was a walk/stumble hybrid ending with a fall plant into a soft piece of furniture – and I’m not exactly a whippet. Walking does, however, have its benefits. Especially in a world dominated by a “THERE! NOW!” mentality.
Data on pedestrians in America in recent years proves the country is collectively using their feet to get to school and the office. I’m not sure if this uptick in walking is because it’s so absurdly expensive to get around these days, or because we’re all moving way too close to work, but anything that will get this country up and moving is a good thing.
Research shows the benefits of walking for at least 30 minutes a day will reduce the risk of heart disease, aids in keeping weight down, helps with digestion and has countless other benefits. The only downside is it takes three times as long to get places. So people choose to be on time instead of living longer, healthier lives and man the world sounds so stupid when things are put in print.
I wonder what life is like for Skipper. Not his private life, I’m sure that will all come out one day in a newspaper article when he either dies and leaves a billion dollars to a cat named Penelapuss or finally gets caught for years of running a sugar packet smuggling ring with old what’s her name. I wonder what it like to get around using nothing but my feet.
For health, and possibly cheapness reasons, I walked everywhere for a week. Everywhere I could. Everywhere possible. I strapped on my new ASICS GEL-Quantum 360, popped on an app to track my miles and calories, and hoofed it everywhere it was physically possible. I even took a couple videos and photos. Here’s a running diary of my seven days on the street.