In late August, during the Fringe Theatre Festival, I re-discovered walking. The Roxy, St. Ann’s Academy, Langham Court and Metro Studio were among the venues and I walked between them to attend shows.
It was a pleasant experience. At the slower pace, I could more clearly see and hear what was around me. I noticed all sorts of things that had been invisible. The architectural details of buildings, the restaurants that I didn’t know existed, the faces of people. Plus, I had time to think.
And it was efficient. I didn’t have to wait for a bus. I didn’t have to hunt for a place to park a car. I didn’t have to lock up a bike and worry about it being stolen, as well as lug around a bike helmet. Getting to places took less time than I expected. A stroll from the Roxy, on Quadra near Hillside, to Metro Studio, on Quadra at Johnson, a distance of about 1.4 kilometres, took under 20 minutes if I didn’t dawdle much.
I’ve walked from home to work, a distance of about four kilometres, a couple of times and it took almost an hour. I’m not prepared to take that on. That kind of time commitment is too daunting. But, spurred by my Fringe walking experience, I might do it a few times when the mood strikes. I sense that I'm a fair-weather walker, so it can't be raining, windy or below zero.
For inspiration, there’s the example of Luke Bayler in Seattle, who walks nearly five kilometres to work and then back home every work day. The Seattle Times wrote a story about him and his “extreme walking” ways:
“There are always interesting things going on when you’re walking if you’re willing to slow down a little bit and take everything in,” he said. “At first it was a little unnerving because I was a little anxious about it, like ‘Oh, God, it’s going to take forever to walk this far.’ But you just accept the fact that all you have to do is put one foot in front of the other for a while and eventually you’ll get there.”
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A colleague says his wife walks to work and back home every day, a journey that takes 45 minutes each way. She commutes this way because she enjoys walking.
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