Saturday, February 15, 2020

Taking a walk on the wild side

If you put on your best pair of walking shoes tomorrow morning and walked one mile every day for a year, you’d be in Memphis by next February, which isn’t very far at all, but I hear Graceland is worth visiting at least once, even if it’s just to say you’ve been.

Since it’s pretty easy to walk a mile in about 20 minutes, you’ll have plenty of time left during the rest of the day to set up a tent, eat a bowl of oatmeal, update your Face-a-Gram page – or, better yet, just walk another mile.

If you walked two miles every day for a year, you’d be 730 miles away in Knoxville, Tennessee – the gateway to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. You might want to bring a jacket. But whatever you do, don’t ask a local for directions to Fort Knox and its vaults full of gold bricks. You’ll end up looking like an idiot because it’s not in Knoxville. It’s in Kentucky. Go figure.

Walking two miles takes up only about 40 minutes of your time, so you might as well walk three miles and make it an hour.

If you walked three miles every day for a year, you’d be in Virginia, somewhere in the Shenandoah National Park, being ever so thankful you packed a pair of long johns along with that jacket. Oh, the countryside, the trees; the smell of wood smoke and cooking bacon. Why has it taken you so long to get here? Will you have enough willpower to go back home one day?

Walking for an hour gives you just enough time to do plenty of thinking – thinking about your goals, your dreams for the future. What books should I read that I haven’t read yet? Do I really have enough time left in my life to learn Norwegian? Should I repair the skylight or save up my money and buy a new motorcycle? Probably the best thing to do is walk another hour until you stumble upon the answers.

If you walked six miles a day for a year, you’d wake up on Day 365 in Malden, New Brunswick, just a few miles from the Confederation Bridge that leads to Prince Edward Island. I’ve never been to Prince Edward Island, but I read L.M. Montgomery’s “Anne of Green Gables” and thought I’d like to go. 

Two hours of walking each and every day can melt away the tonnage you’ve gained over the years and years of sitting, eating, watching TV on the couch until you fell asleep and woke up just in time for a midnight snack that would hold you over until you really woke up, went to work, sat some more, ate some more, and gosh this is getting a bit wordy. But that’s what happens when you start taking long walks. You end up thinking in long sentences.

Imagine this: If you walked three hours a day for a year, you’d be somewhere in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean (if you could walk on water), so you might as well walk four hours a day and spend the night in a cozy bed and breakfast in Dublin. Of course, you’d have to answer a lot of questions like, “Where are you from?” Texas, you’d say. “How did you get here?” I walked. “Across the North Atlantic at this time of year?” It’s okay. I was wearing a jacket and long johns. “Why didn’t you just take a plane?” Good question.

If you walked almost every day for four years, you’d make it all the way around the world and wake up the next morning in your own bed wondering, “So, what do I do now?”

I have a suggestion. How about go for a motorcycle ride?

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