|Hiking in desert washes, January 2010|
My reasons for walking: I walk for exercise, transportation, relaxation, creative stimulation, and for exploratory and meditative purposes.
I like to walk off the beaten track, not necessarily off established roads and trails (though I sometimes do that too), but down paths I've never been down before. I like to explore back roads and back alleys, down unfamiliar streets, always in search of new experiences, and new pictures around the corner I've never seen before. Things are always changing; the light changes, the same place may appear differently at different times of the day or the year, and the view may change if you look at it from a different perspective, coming in from a different direction, and looking at it from a different angle. So it's not just about new places, but about new experiences, seeing things in a new way, with a fresh perspective that reinvigorates the old and common place, making it young and exciting again, as if you were seeing it for the first time; that is what I'm after.
You could say that walking for me is a type of moving meditation, an exercise in cultivating wonder, deepened awareness, and appreciation for the natural world. It is a journey of magical discovery, of reclaiming a beginner's mind, that youthful curiosity, spontaneity, open mindedness, natural playfulness, passionate enthusiasm and excitement for living.
Simply put, I walk because it makes me feel young, and it gives me a deep sense of joy and peace of mind. Not only is it a good source of exercise for the body, but it is also good for the mind, stimulates creativity, helps you think more clearly, and it may also make you smarter by improving your observation skills, awareness, memory, and concentration.
I like to get away from the city though. I like searching for silent undeveloped spaces deep in the heart of nature, and listening to the sounds of animals, rain, water, fire, wind, and thunder. My travels may also take me through different cityscapes, where cultural artifacts, people, buildings, artistic creations, and landmarks, give a walker plenty of sources of creative inspiration too, but my heart will always gravitate most to the natural wonders of nature, away from the loud crowds of people, and outside the noisy machinery of civilization.