I've always liked to walk. As a kid I would hike in the woods surrounding our house in upstate New York. When I would tell my Mom I was headed out to explore with a PB&J and canteen filled with "goofy grape" she'd always say, "Just be home in time for supper!"
In my teens, my best friend and I walked EVERYWHERE -- to go shopping, to concerts, to part time jobs and sometimes to even meet boys. (Happily one of those boys is now my husband) Yet at 16 I couldn't wait to get my driver's license and the freedom I believed it held....
A few years later I went to school in New York City. A great big walkable city and as a "New Yorker" that is how you naturally got around. Again I would head out to explore a different world on my own two feet. This is when I started to unconsciously learn that this was freedom. I could go in any direction -- the wrong way down a one way street, turn right instead of left, go up instead of down and open that door to see what was really behind it.
On foot I am connected to my world. Everything becomes clearer -- multi dimensional. I am not living my life as an outsider looking through a pane of glass. I can feel the breeze, hear it play in the trees, smell what the day might hold. I become a part of nature.
At 3 mph, it is the human pace, the natural rhythm that around the world we all share. When walking whether in your own neighborhood or in a far away village, it is a way to connect to a place and its people. A nod, a wave, a smile...an invitation to share a cup of tea. It is where those serendipitous encounters lie. Though maybe only for a moment in time, but a cultural connection that becomes a part of who I am.
It is also a connection to within myself. As you walk your entire body is in sync. Your arms match the movement of your legs and your breathing matches your pace. It becomes a time that thoughts are free. Creative ideas emerge, problems are solved, bad moods are turned to happy, presentations are practiced or if need be I can JUST meditate and think of...