4 Reasons to Walk While Traveling
Until now, I hadn't truly understood the world's vastness-hadn't even understood how vast a mile could be-until each mile was beheld at walking speed.-Cheryl Strayed
Slowing down doesn't dull the world. It makes it sharper. It makes it crisper. That's what walking does. - Paul Salopek, National Geographic Fellow
Usually when we tell people about our hike through Burgundy, their first question is "Why do it on foot?" "Why not fly? Take a rail? A bus?" Well, here's why:
1.) Most importantly, it's slow. So often the principles of Supermarket Sweep get applied to travel: rush through the aisles, tick off as many items as possible in as little time as possible, and be done. So many people try to 'hit' as many places and sights as their schedules allow, snap selfies, 'check in' on Facebook, just before jetting out to another place.
The problem with approaching trips this way is that the very essence of travel gets missed in the rush. There is no time to soak up the culture and pulse of a place, no time to join the lazy conversations around a Petanque court, make friends with the local bartender, attend an evening soiree, or linger over dinner at that mind-blowing hole-in-the-wall. Speedy travelers would never get to see that vineyard workers in Burgundy prune vines in nothing but a Speedo and a hat. (Should that be my closing argument?)
By going slow, you take in everything a place has to offer, not just a hand stamp or photo. The place actually becomes a part of you and you become a part of it too.
2.) You're free! Our 'real' lives are packed with deadlines, schedules, plans, even designated happy hours. These should go out the window when you go on vacation because for one, every hour is a happy one, and often the best stuff happens when you have no plans or place to be. When you walk, you have no bus to catch, no terminal to run to; you can linger, dawdle, stare, stroll, nap. If you like a place, stay. If not, no need to wait for the bus, use your Chevro-legs and continue on my friend. Either way, its vacation on your own terms and time.
3.) Hiking, walking, biking, etc. is killer exercise and can help offset the typical flood of rich foods, wines, desserts and overall indulgence that traveling to a new place is known to induce. That means you can have your pizza and eat it too!
4.) It's cheaper! Not surprising I know, but think of how many more bottles of wine, bars of chocolate, Turkish 'massages', or knock-off handbags you could get for the price of one train ticket! Quadruple that if you sub a plane ticket. And shoot, if you hike with a tent, you can slash your accommodation costs too!
So get out there and walk. Or hike, skip, jump, leap, shuffle, two-step, moonwalk through a place and I promise you will thank me for the amazing experiences you encounter. Especially if you moonwalk.