I’ve always been a walker. From a young age, my parents and I would go out on long, rambling walks, me being carried when I was too young to scurry alongside. Across fields, over hedges and through deep bogs of mud – I would walk anywhere. Aside from when I went through my awkward teenage phase of thinking absolutely everything my parents liked was automatically uncool, I secretly loved it.
Aside from getting to spend time with my dogs, I love walking because I can immerse myself in nature. The local woods, the Spanish Pyrenees, the Italian Dolomites or Cumbria, it doesn’t matter. It’s no myth that spending time outside, in nature, is therapeutic. Allowing yourself to walk on Mother Earth under Father Sky allows you to breath fresh air – something we don’t tend to get a lot of in London – see the intricacies of nature that we fail to recognise everyday and clear your head.
With trips to the Pyrenees and Dolomites to climb mountains and get to grips with a range of terrains and amazing sites (like the World War One mountain tunnels I explored in Italy), you probably aren’t surprised that I find walking refreshing and uplifting. Obviously, there’s something in the achievement that fills your bones and the adrenaline that pumps through your veins as you reach the top of a muscle-spasming climb to see a landscape that wouldn’t be out of place on the moon, but you can find that kind of satisfaction closer to home.
Some of my favourite walks are the ones near my house. We are lucky enough to have two woodland areas within 100m of my house, each one full of towering trees and muncjack deer. These are the walks that help my clear my mind. They allow me, as I know the paths so well, to let myself wander, both physically and mentally. It’s in these places that I do a lot of my thinking. Overwhelming decisions seem smaller, and difficult obstacles suddenly seem to have a clear avenue through them.
This is why I find walking therapeutic. By taking away the overwhelming amount of stimuli that is normally at our fingertips we allow ourselves to drift into thoughts that we’ve been quashing for however long. We may not even realise we’re doing it, but the walk allows us to logically and clearly think through whatever we need to think through, and by bringing movement into that, our bodies seem to loop back in sync and are stimulated.
Walking allows me to open my mind, draw in fresh air and tune into the Earth.