Lately I've been walking at least a mile a day, but would like to increase that to three miles a day, or 15 miles a week, and eventually build it up to five miles a day, or 25 miles a week.
One of the regular short walks I've been taking, which I thought was only a mile one way, but turned out to actually be 1.5 miles, or three miles there and back. Apparently I've been regularly underestimating my distances by a mile or two. Most of the roads around here are very uneven and curvy and do not follow a traditional city block grid pattern, so you really can't count blocks, or even rely on intersections as a uniform indicator of distance. And I no longer have a pedometer, so most of the time I walk, especially if I'm exploring new territory and stopping a lot to take pictures, I have no idea exactly how far I've walked, other than it being maybe a mile or two.
Well, a recent discovery I made while exploring Google maps, is they have this really cool distance measuring tool available as an experimental feature in their map labs (you can find the link to it at the bottom of the Google maps page). And they also have an option to give an estimated time of travel between any two locations, for not only driving, but also walking and cycling. So that's pretty cool. Now everywhere I walk, so long as it's on the map, I can get a fairly accurate idea of how far I walked. Of course this only works when traveling on streets, the tool does not measure distances off the beaten path, but it does at least give me a better idea of how far I've walked than I had before.
Normally, unless it's a matter of life and death, as in knowing distances for food, water, and shelter, I couldn't really care less about distances. Whether it's one mile or three miles, who the hell cares right? Depending on the scenery of your walk, and whether or not it is peaceful or stressful, there is a pleasure in walking that has nothing to do with getting from point A to point B, but about appreciating being in the place that you are, even while in movement, and not in a hurry of getting it over with. Well, I figure keeping track of distances is more important for fitness training purposes, to help you monitor your progress, as far as being able to travel further and more efficiently through the power of your own locomotion. I'm trying to increase my strength and endurance, and measuring distances helps measure my fitness progress.
So if for whatever reason you are lacking a pedometer, odometer, or having trouble measuring your walking distances using a paper map, or if you just want a new toy to play around with, you should check out the distance measuring tool on Google Maps.