Walk on, Walk on

Photo by sidewalk flyingWhen I left the U.S. for the first time is when I learned to walk and cycle. I had gotten rid of my car, of course, and in China, I was provided a bicycle for transportation. The school where I worked was only a few minutes’ ride away, and nothing in the town took more than 30 minutes to cycle to.

In Ireland, I learned to carry my groceries on foot. Despite the fact that I lived about 2 miles outside the city center, I deigned to ride a bike because of the busy, congested and I daresay dangerous streets of Dublin. So I walked, or I took the bus. Sometimes, I walked all the way into the city and all the way back out, just because the weather, for once, wasn’t rainy. Occasionally, I would hit the pub at my university (yep, there was a pub IN the university) and miss the last bus home.

So I walked.

When Bill and I came back here to New Mexico last autumn, it was a surprise turn of events and we couldn’t afford a car. Still can’t, which is why we moved into an apartment near the university and walk or take the bus everywhere. Some people give us crazy looks when we tell them we don’t have a car in Albuquerque, for it is not, shall we say, a public transportation friendly town. But we manage. Our supermarket is a 20-minute walk up the road. We walk there and we carry groceries home on our backs. We walk to restaurants. Sometimes we walk to work, and we often walk home from the bar and the movies because the bus stops too early to take us. I love walking and I’ve found that, because it is a necessity, it seems like less of a chore.

Several weeks ago, I saw my doctor, who diagnosed me with insulin resistance and told me to overhaul my diet and start exercising. Forever, walking was enough. Now, it isn’t. So, I’ve started running by using the Couch to 5k Program (thanks to several of these ladies for the recommendation!). Let me tell you how much I hate running. Always have. But… it’s getting me in shape, so I’m doing it, and that feels natural. In the book, Erin talks about building up your walking regime and how you can begin to incorporate running if you need a more intensive workout, and that’s what I’ve been doing. I hate it, but I’ve been doing it and I can already see a difference.

All of this is an apt metaphor for what’s been going on in our lives. In a previous post, I told you about my world travels, and the time has come for Bill and me to pick up and head off. We’ve given old New Mexico the best of nearly 10 months. We have learned a lot here. We have gotten married here. We have spent time with my family here. But yes, it’s time to walk on.

Bill received a job offer from the Prague Post which, to avoid any confusion, is in fact located in Prague. I’ve never been to Prague, so I had to look it up when we first found out the news. Here are two maps:

I will, of course, be bringing The Button Club with me and be attempting to do as many of the tasks as Prague will permit me to, and I will be blogging about my experiences, both here on the Button Club at at my personal blog, Gypsytracks.

Photo by The Gifted Photographer

To close, I would like to give you some words of advice about how to build a walking regime: Make walking part of your daily life, not just something you do “for exercise”. Right now, it might seem like waaaay too far to walk to the grocery store, but try it once and you will be surprised. The more you do it, the easier it gets. Walk to the mailbox. Walk to get groceries. Walk to church or to work, if you can. The distances will surprise you and they will get easier as you become fit. Disregard that tiny bit of your brain that says, “Oh no. It’s much too far to walk.” or “I would walk but it’s just not a walker friendly area” and just give it a try.

You will be amazed how good – how primal – it feels to walk.

3 Responses to “Walk on, Walk on”

  1. Lydia Says:

    I love walking – I just dislike the heat, especially here in the South. So.. I walk in the pool! Every single day.

    I’m so envious of your move to Prague Megan and hope that some day I can come visit!

  2. Marlo Says:

    I do think Europe and many other countries are so much healthier because of how much they walk. If only we Americans weren’t so lazy! I’m so very excited for you and Bill and the adventures awaiting you in Prague.

  3. Megan Says:

    Thanks ladies!

    @Marlo – I believe it’s about more than just laziness. Our social morés run very deep when it comes to cars. We no longer design cities that are ripe for walking – even if the store is just a few minutes’ away, oftentimes it is still unwalkable because there are no proper sidewalks or it is located along a large highway or something.

    There is a whole revolution that must take place within the American mindset before we become walkers. Part of that, as well, is ceasing with the notion that public transportation is dirty and scary and only for poor people and vagrants.

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