I was going for daily walks before I started taking photos during them, walking before I turned those photos into a book, walking pretty much every day for four years now.
Since I’ve been working from home, I walk every morning before the workday officially begins (although my colleagues for whatever reason feel like sending Teams messages well before that). When I’m bored, I often end up going for a walk. I walk for exercise sometimes (I have acquired a weight vest for this purpose). I walk to explore my surroundings, or now—having covered every street, sidewalk, alley, creekbed, and wherever else that I could conceivably get to on foot—I walk to re-explore them, to see what has changed, what the new season has brought, how the sunlight hits differently, where the shadows are. In my book, excerpted in the December issue of D Magazine, there are tons of places in downtown and elsewhere that don’t exist anymore. The places that remain aren’t the same either. They can never be exactly as they were on the day I was there. But I invite you to see for yourself. My feature is online today.
There are days I might end up on three separate walks. Ten miles is nothing. You can do this, too. It takes nothing, just the will to go outside and keep putting one foot in front of the other. I’m rarely walking all that fast. Ambling is more like it. Strolling. Sometimes, of course, I am looking at my phone, but mostly I’m just looking. Seeing. You’ll get healthier without even really trying, but you’ll also just feel better—calmer, more present. My sister has started going on walks, and she says it clears her head right up. My son, 16, has started doing it, too. It’s possible he’s just getting away from me, but walking can do that for you also, if that’s what you want.
It’s the easiest, simplest thing in the world, and maybe it’s the best, too. Step away from your computer, put your phone in your pocket, and go outside now. Or read the piece first, if you need more convincing.