Fair warning: You just stumbled on a mushy post. You knew it was going to happen someday.
The next several posts are going to include a lot of the places I’ve been in Boston. Most of them involved extensive walking to see everything.
So why did I decide to walk everywhere? What is with the sudden level of constant activity in relation to how much I usually walk? I walk for a lot of reasons, but because I feel like it, I’m going to give some pros and cons before I tell you the real reason I have walked so much this summer. Or I suppose you could just skip to the end of the post (I know you do it in whodunnit books to find out the killer before you’re done with the first chapter. That’s right, I’m on to you!).
So, some pros of walking:
— You get yet another excuse to eat more cookies and ice cream. Because who doesn’t like cookies? All this walking burns off some of the calories, so I may as well take the opportunity to gain back some of what I’ve burned.
— You can be alone with your thoughts. Walking is a great way to think through ideas or come up with new ones. Because who knows how creative you are better than you?
— You’re saving money. Who needs a car when you can walk 10 miles to the grocery store uphill in the rain? Okay, well I wouldn’t go that far, but walking around keeps you from having to spend money on gas. That’s $0.51 you’re saving for every mile you walk (using the IRS rate for gas+insurance+depreciation+maintenance; hey, I wasn’t a business major for nothing).
— You’re getting more fit/losing weight/being healthy. Come on, admit it. Everyone has a little room for improvement in their lifestyle. Especially me (see my first pro above for proof). I’m not even moderately fit and I still managed to walk an average 25 miles a week while I was in Boston. Imagine what you could see if you were more fit than me!
— You get to have some pride in yourself. Be confident; be proud of yourself for struggling with that 10 mile walk to the grocery store. As long as you aren’t bragging about how awesome you are, people respect someone who would sacrifice the comfort of a vehicle to explore on foot.
— You can explore areas that you couldn’t get to or wouldn’t otherwise find. Some paths just aren’t visible when you go by them too fast; besides, what fun is it to go down a dusty path in a car when you could pretend you are the first person to set foot in the place?
— You may actually go faster than traffic. Boston, this one’s for you. If you’re in a large city, traffic sucks. Walk instead.
— You can talk to people. Think back; how many times have you ever talked to someone new in your car? Wrong numbers, drive thrus, and road rage don’t count. Not many, right? Now how many people have you had a chat with just because you were waiting at the same crosswalk or watching the same bird? Exactly.
— You can answer those D&D quizzes and get a higher constitution score. Oh, is that one just me? Excuse me, my nerdiness is showing. As an explanation, there are quizzes online where you can get stats for Dungeons and Dragons characters based on what they can/can’t do (like ‘can they go up 27 flights of stairs without getting winded,’ and ‘how many flaming red dragons’ mothers have they insulted’). The Other Half and I take them so we can play as each other in video games (Because who doesn’t secretly want to teach their dog the Fireball spell?).
Ok, that’s great and all, but there has to be some bad news associated with walking, right? Well, fine, here it is:
— Your feet hurt. If you’re walking too much, even if you have good shoes, at some point you reach your physical limits. As of this writing, mine is apparently anything more than 10 miles a day; over this my muscles get pretty sore for a few days. [Update: as of one week before the publish date, I have successfully biked 30 miles and hiked 8 without being sore the next day. High five for walking so much I think I’m actually in shape!]
— You can be alone with your thoughts. Wait, wasn’t this a pro? Well, it can be a con, too, since some people don’t want to be alone with their thoughts. In this case, recruit your therapist or a good listener as a walking buddy and talk through those issues! I’m sure your therapist/captive audience will appreciate some fresh air. And if you can’t find someone who doesn’t comment on how funny you look while you’re walking around, dogs don’t judge.
— You drink more water. I suppose this is only a con if you don’t like the taste of water. In that case, high five! I don’t like it, either! Do what I do and add a few drops of lemon or lime juice to it to cover up that chlorinated taste.
— You may go slower than traffic. In the Midwest, it’s difficult to keep up with traffic when it’s going 50 miles an hour. Very nearly impossible, in fact.
— I’m running out of cons, but I put this in bold so you’d be duped and think I was creative enough to come up with more. Really, there’s not too much holding people back from exploring other than themselves. And their shame at trying to increase some theoretical statistics for a board game.
Okay, so there are some pretty compelling reasons to walk everywhere. The reason for this post is that I got to thinking the other day, and as much as I hate to admit it, I don’t like being apart from the Other Half. (I know, you weren’t ready for the philosophy session… Surprise!) I’ve found it very difficult to not have someone to talk to all the time, or to have them there for playing board games/cooking/playing jokes on at the drop of a hat. So the real reason that I walk is to wear myself out so that I’m so mentally and physically exhausted that I actually sleep at night without missing my family too much. Finding all the fun things I’ve been doing while I’m walking this summer (and bringing those stories to you and the Other Half) is just an added bonus.