I was recently reading an article on the slow death of purposeless walking on the BBC website (available here). In it the author, , interviews authors of books on walking and discusses what walking does and should do. The specific discussion centred on ‘purposeless walking’, walking that’s undertaken with no purpose in mind other than to walk (and, through that, think).
This is contrasted to other forms of walking, such as walking from point A to point B (with a purpose), or walking for fitness, or to work and so on. Interesting examples of the rise of technology – texting whilst walking and following maps with eyes stuck on the phone – highlight the ways technology can intrude on physical activities such as walking.
As Rohrer concludes:
Boil down the books on walking and you’re left with some key tips:
- Walk further and with no fixed route
- Stop texting and mapping
- Don’t soundtrack your walks
- Go alone
- Find walkable places
- Walk mindfully.
And all this so very clearly epitomises Rebecca Solnit’s words: ‘Walking . . . is how the body measures itself against the earth.’ (Wanderlust: a history of walking).
What an incredibly powerful sentence. Walking purposelessly. What a great idea for slow travel.