I walk. Like a lot. I never thought it would be something interesting to share but turns out it is not as common a habit as I thought. It all started way back in the day when I was a child. My mother taught me that walking was more fun than waiting. If we were to take a bus and there was none on the horizon we would start walking to the next stop. And then to the next. And sometimes we would reach our final destination on foot and that bus would never show up. I remember watching people: some would wait for a bus for 15-25 minutes to only drive for two stops. They could have walked the distance in 10 min! It was the time way before the smartphones and people would just wait. Stand there and wait. I learned quite fast that I would rather walk for an hour than wait for 15 min. My mum also used to walk to and back from work, every day. Why? To stay fit. One hour in the morning, one hour in the evening and who needs a gym? And we would walk a lot always! And the habit settled in me very well.
I used to walk a lot in Moscow. Sometimes because there was no transport and I couldn’t bother waiting. Sometimes because I wanted to clear my head. Sometimes I would walk half the way home just because I felt like it.
Then when I started travelling this habit came in very handy because it saved me a lot of money on the transport hehe. And sometimes I couldn’t get bothered to study the local transportation system and would walk to save the hassle. And slowly I was realising that walking instead of taking subway allowed me to get a better feeling of the place. Not blindly following tourist attractions spots, but rather discovering the city, getting lost and seeing places that I would never see if I took a bus.
It was the same in Berlin, I would always find an excuse to walk at least some part of the way. Fresh air is much nicer than being stuck in the tube. I have walked all over the city many times.
The most I walked was of course in Spain on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela: something around 650 km in 20 days. 30 km on average a day – that was an experience! I am still working on some writing about this story, but trust me, it was one of the most amazing things I have ever done!
And now I am in Edinburgh and I don’t remember the last time I took a bus. Everything is a walking distance. Ok, ok, high snobbery here: we live in the city centre and everything is a walking distance. One hour from the door to the seaside. One hour from the door to the top of Arthur’s seat. Half an hour walk to the Castle. And etc. I have no idea about the numbers and directions of the buses, I think I was on a bus five times maximum here! This is really the place to be for me: a capital city but totally walkable!
And what is the best part of such a habit? Walking is free, allows you to plan your day easier (since you rely on your own speed), keeps your body in shape!