WalkaboutIt's been a while since last I rambled and I attribute this to a case of 'block-head' or is it 'writer's block'? Probably a little of both.
The other night, I decided to take a walk around my neighborhood in search of inspiration. As I pondered possible themes, it occurred to me that what I was doing would make a perfect subject, walking.
Australians refer to it as a "walkabout". The term was originally attributed to a rite of passage by young male Aborigines where they would go on a long journey in the wilderness seeking a connection to their ancestral past. Over time, the term became associated with the need to satisfy one's craving for the open road and the adventure to which it leads. For my own purposes, I came to define a walkabout as the simple need to get outside and walk somewhere.
Let me first say that a walkabout is not about raising one's heart rate to an aerobic level or trying to make it a workout. It's the simple act of walking, watching and thinking. You can do this at any time but I prefer to go on my walks at night. Everything seems different in the dark. By virtue of there being no light, you actually have to 'observe' what you're looking at. In addition, the night time sounds put a whole different perspective on otherwise familiar areas. All our senses become just a little bit more sharp at night.
Each of us has our own level of caution and evening walks necessitate an honest assessment of our surroundings with their requirements for maintaining safety. Risk is not part of the equation.
Over the years, my ramblings have taken me over many different paths and locations. I used to be very fond of night time walks on the Manasquan Bike Path. You would be very surprised how the ambient light allows you to see the path clearly, even when the moon is not full or otherwise shining. I also found a particular cemetery in my neighborhood that made for some wonderful walks in a very peaceful environ. I recently went on a spectacular full moon walk on a local golf course. These locales and routes won't appeal to everybody, nor should they. A walk around your block or into town may be all the adventure you need.
A walk is always fun with a partner and having someone with you does bring an element of safety for your journey. Having said that, a solitary saunter allows for some much needed reflection on what's going on in your life. It also means you can pick whatever route you want without having to clear it with your companion.
Another fun part of my walkabouts is being able to handle all the elements simply by dressing properly. I have gone out on nights with near zero temps and honking winds by choosing the right clothes. Being comfortable in those conditions is its own reward as I've managed to beat mother nature at her nastiest. Heading out for a walk as snow begins to fall is a treat.
Many of us have spent a lifetime reaching and maintaining a level of fitness that allows us to pursue many challenging goals but these walks should be all about using our fitness to relax and enjoy the moment. Being fit means you can handle everything the day throws at you and still have something left to get out at day's end.
Above all, be safe. Always trust your gut instincts when it comes to deciding where and how long to go. As much as it pains me to say this, having your phone with you just in case justifies having the darn thing with you.
Next time you find yourself sitting on your couch complaining about the nonsense on TV, do yourself a favor and take a walk. I guarantee you'll like it!