Walking as Transportation

October 16, 2016

Walking for transportation is probably the most cost effective, healthy, and environmentally friendly way to get around. At times walking could even be the more practical way, depending on where you live. Ideally, everything you would need would be within a two mile radius of your home. I've been doing this for about twenty years so my definition of walking distance can be quite different than everybody elses. The best way to start is to pick a destination, put on a good sturdy pair of shoes and just go. The following are just a few tips to ensure your journey is as positive and as comfortable as possible.


Safety First
As always, safety is top priority. Basic safety rules include staying in a well-populated area and being familiar with the territory in which you plan to walk. Every route is littered with pitfalls, even for the most experienced pedestrian, so please put your phone away. If walking after dark, stick to well lit areas and wear light colored clothing or carry a flashlight to make yourself more visible. Always keep one eye and ear open for any traffic. Most drivers do not always see pedestrians. The safest way to cross the road is at a crosswalk or traffic light, even though the temptation to cross in the middle of the block is great.

Gear is probably the most important part of preparing for a walk. Just remember you are going to be out in the elements so choose wisely. Keep in mind what you will have to carry, especially if this will be a shopping trip. Take one or two reusable shopping bags. Not only do they make carrying items home from the shops more comfortable on your hands, they can give you a more realistic idea of what you can actually carry. If this is a larger shopping trip, push carts are wonderful.

Shoes are the most important piece of gear. Make sure they fit properly and don't rub, blisters are no fun. My favorite walking shoes are a Mary Jane style of sneaker. They go with any number of outfits and are durable. I throw in a pair of insoles designed for those with arthritis. They absorb shock and help ease the pain of a sore back and tired legs. A good pair of cotton socks doesn't go amiss.

A good bag is essential. Use a bag only large enough for what you need to carry. I have one bag specifically for a portable office and a tiny purse that fits into my armpit for trips to the market that require the use of both hands for the trip home. Try out several options to determine what works best for your personal life and style.

Creature Comforts
I carry a variety of creature comforts because I am out in the elements most of the time. I always carry lip balm, skin cream, a water bottle with a charcoal filter, and some sort of easy to carry food. I find these items help keep me happy and comfortable during my walks. Experiment and find out what works best for you. These items are very inexpensive and don't be tempted to go spend a lot on them. They are lost from time to time along the way

The greatest joy in walking for transportation is being able to slow down and gather your thoughts and possibly come up with a few new thoughts. It gives you time to truly appreciate the world because you can see it for all that it is. The world is so much more than that strip of pavement in front of your car.

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