Thank you Tom for such a brilliant post about walking.

I used to fail at running. Now that I walk I feel like a different person - and not just because my toenails are no longer black and my metatarsals aren't crumbling.

Walking is where I think, plan, write and spend time caring about the things I need to care about. It is on my walks that things shift in importance - my priorities change for the better, and the longer my boots are tramping the ground the more worries fall out of my heels.

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"Even those godheads who would have you sit indoors looking at screens all day can only come up with their diabolical ideas by walking around in the fresh air and looking at the sky and the trees." - laughed so hard at this that I need a walk to chill down now

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You never regret taking a walk. For many years I was disappointed in myself for not being able to become a jogger, a runner. I have always preferred walking. It took me more than ten years to realize that I am a hiker, a wanderer. Walking settles the mind, and I find that it can take more than 30 minutes for anxious and repetitive thoughts to vanish before the curious mind appears. That's when the fun begins! That's when you begin to see and notice things in nature. Animals and plants and seasonal changes. You begin to memorize rocks and trees. Who else loves trees? Extremely spoiled as I was (and still am) in terms of where I lived geographically, I was able to hike in lovely locations. Always without headphones. Walking must be done so that one listens to nature. This is where Ivan's (an earlier commenter) point about scents come in. There are two scents that I will never forget and I get a distinct twinge of longing back to those locations when I think of the scents. The first one is the creosote bush in Arizona, especially after rain. It smells like asphalt but in a nice way. The other is the coyote bush in the Bay Area. It also smells like asphalt but with a hint of fig. If I could bottle that! Once I met a woman on the trail and she mentioned that there is a scent made by Jo Malone that reminds her a little of the coyote bush. I immediately went home and bought it. It didn't smell like the bush but it was pleasant.

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Wanderlust by Rebecca Solnit is good further reading in this vein.

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Oct 21, 2020Liked by Thomas J Bevan

I read a blogpost at some point (can't find it now, sadly) that inspired me to start going on "smell walks". Especially in the quiet evenings, taking a slow walk around the neighborhood and simply noting everything you smell - the flowers, the pavement, the smell of laundry or baking cinnamon from the brick townhouses - is an ineffably peaceful experience that somehow brings me into balance with the world and with myself. I realize that I sound like a hippie, but it is difficult to describe the experience. Olfaction is not a sense that we consciously focus on often -- consider trying it!

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Sep 15, 2020Liked by Thomas J Bevan

Catching up on newsletters in my second day of absence from Twitter. You pushed me off.

I have many breathy recordings of song ideas on my phone made while walking - a few almost unintelligible windy ones from beach walks, too. A lot of brisk morning walks before getting the kids ready for school. Not many slow ones.

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Sep 12, 2020Liked by Thomas J Bevan

Thank you. Early in the morning is my solitude with God and nature.

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Enjoyed this. I walk most mornings. It's my peace, my sanity and my time with my Creator.

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I can vouch for the benefits of walking in solving problems - most of my days in University studying computer science were broken up with hourly walks around the building and to the shop for more coffee, during which solutions would appear as if by magic.

‘The degree of slowness is directly proportional to the intensity of memory: the degree of speed is directly proportional to the intensity of forgetting.’ ~ Milan Kundera, Slowness.

Thoroughly enjoyed this section. I suspect a large part of the reason no one goes for these slow walks is because they have nothing to think about, and simply observing what's going on around them would be a completely foreign concept.

Taleb is another who has placed an enormous emphasis on the importance of walking, and he happens to be the first person to have introduced me to the wonderful term flâneur.

Bed of Procrustes has several quotes emphasizing the importance of walking slowly, and also the importance of not listening to music while doing so, a notion I wholeheartedly agree with, but again that habit is likely a result of fear of boredom, no problems to solve, poems to compose etc.

Great article as always, I'm off for a slow walk.

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