I am increasingly of the opinion that walking is by far the best form of transportation.
Followed, perhaps, by running. And then cycling or horse riding.
The quality which in my mind places walking above all others is the immersion it provides, the slow and steady pace which encourages engagement with one’s surroundings.
When I move to a new area, the first thing I do is start beating the pavement of the surrounding streets; taking alternate routes each time I leave the door, sometimes simply going out with the express intention of wandering and exploring. In this way I begin to build a map in my head, linking the dots as I slowly go further afield.
We are all, in our own ways, creatures of habit. We have our familiar routines, comfortable patterns, known paths between Points A and B. I think we underestimate the blinkered effect this can have on our perception of the spaces and community around us. I think we also underestimate how much knowledge can be gained by simply walking; by taking the long road, figuratively and literally, and in the process discovering something new.
An amazing restaurant by the river.
The fragrance of jasmine in full bloom, weeping over a neighbour’s fence.
Overflowing boxes of silverbeet in a community garden.
A shortcut to the bus stop.
The luminescent blue gaze on a bowl in the window of a pottery studio.
An orange tree.
A man walking a slack-line with reckless abandon in the park.
A café with amazing coffee and almond croissants.
An old woman pruning her pale yellow rose bushes.
A second-hand bookshop.
Make use of your legs. When you would normally get an Uber or take the quickest possible route home, take an extra five minutes to wander a little bit. Explore.
And please tell me what you find, I would love to hear from you.
Sometimes it is the smallest, simplest things which are the most beautiful.