Today was a beautiful day. The sun was out, there was a gentle breeze, and my spouse and I set ourselves a rather arbitrary quest to go and buy bubble tea, which necessitated us walking some 3 miles down the river into town and then some 3 miles back.
People often wonder why I don’t own a car. There is no doubt that cars are useful, and I do occasionally miss the ease of getting anywhere without having to figure out the logistics of public transport.
But when I was younger, I noticed that people with cars tended to use them all the time. They couldn’t even conceive why someone might want to walk. The most ludicrous example of this came when a co-worker of mine discovered I was walking into work each day, and contrived to ‘just happen’ to drive by each day and ‘offer me a lift’.
Being ‘forced’ to walk as my default option, means being ‘forced’ to take things slowly. To enjoy a gentle stroll, rather than a short drive and a stressful quest for a parking space. To build movement and exercise into my day.
When I was working from an office, the walk to and from the building was one of the most treasured parts of my day. I walked rain and shine, in windy weather, in snow, in thunderstorms and in blazing heat. It gave me time to think, and decompress. I got to be outside, soaking up sunshine, long shown to be essential to our mental health.
Things that are convenient often make our lives busier. We cram more and more things into every minute. I, for one, am grateful I didn’t have a car today. I’m grateful that I got to experience a long walk along the river, unable to do anything else even if I wanted to.