By necessity I have been walking a lot lately. By a lot, I mean anywhere from 2-3 hours a day. It is an amazing way of getting around.
For a start it is relatively slow. I am a fan of the slow revolution. Slow food, slow cities just a general slowdown from our normal frenetic pace of life. So what happens when you go slow? You start to see things that you don't see when you go fast. I enjoy walking past peoples houses and seeing the work they have put in to keep their gardens tidy. And quite often you meet people on the street, strangers, and you get to say hello to them, in a friendly way. It's great - quite often people will say hello back! A smile, a gidday and then carry on. Near where I live we have some new immigrants from Nepal, what a beautiful people. i love the diversity of life, the richness of difference, the glory of individuality. More diversity from more places is great.
Another benefit of walking is that it gives you a change to think. We need more time to mull, to consider, to contemplate and even to day dream. All of the time we spend in these activities is not wasted, in fact it is some of the most productive time we can spend. Why? Because unless we know what we want, or how we feel about things, then how can we know whether we are on the right path. And if we aren't heading towards the things in life that are important to us - then what's the point?
My third benefit of walking everywhere is that it makes me feel closer to my tupuna, my ancestors. They walked over this land and explored and fought and loved. When I walk I often think about their lives and what it must have been like when the forests were still here and big swamps and untamed rivers abounded.
Walking can be a pain, especially if you are in a hurry... but I highly recommend it. You meet nice people, you see the place you live in, you get time to mull and contemplate things, you get fit and fell healthy and it brings us closer to our ancestors.
I am lucky in that where I live is 'walker-friendly', everything is 'walkable' and of course, in the city it is not as easy, if not impossible, to walk everywhere - but we do what we can with what we have.
All we need to do now is make it 'walker-friendly' for everyone out there.