Walking Distance

“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” – Steven Wright

That is mostly true, but I’m pretty sure I can’t walk to Japan. Not because of the distance involved but because it is an island. As much as I like to think I’m perfect, my water walking skills are strangely underdeveloped.

But the larger point is accurate. Plenty of people walk the entire 2,181-mile length of the Appalachian Trail. Others have walked coast to coast. Further treks are possible for anyone with the determination to undertake them. So it’s true that “walking distance” isn’t really an objective distance at all but rather a personal preference.

For a long time our preference was to walk. We didn’t own our first car until the age of 32. Five years later, the thing had a whopping 11,000 miles on it. Walking is how we got just about everywhere. Driving to the store for some milk fell in the same category as flying to Paris for dinner: things that never happened.

Then we moved out of the city. Now we take the car everywhere. We’ve discovered that much of the U.S. is designed to maximize distances between things. We regularly use the phrase “Sprawl Y’all” as shorthand for the way southern and western cities grow forever outward.

Wall-E, Disney-Pixar Studios

To accommodate the sprawl, and the cars it necessitates, drive-through windows are everywhere and for everything: prepared food, groceries, drug store items, financial services, dry cleaning, even liquor. We’re fast approaching the point where people never need to leave their car. Can Wall-E type lethargy be far behind?

Walking in this environment isn’t impossible, but it sure is inconvenient.

Old habits die hard, but they do die. Just today I caught myself jumping in the car to drive someplace I could walk in ten minutes. I never thought I’d become one of those people who considers a long walk to be what you take when a store parking lot is half full.

I can’t say I’m particularly pleased with this latest development.

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149 Comments on “Walking Distance”

  1. Pat Bean October 23, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    Great photo. Where is it.

    Like

    • Brian October 23, 2011 at 10:22 am #

      Hi Pat,
      That photo was taken at the top of Saddle Pass Trail in Badlands National Park

      Like

    • Nigel Root November 7, 2011 at 11:00 am #

      Sorry, can’t help on the savannah photo, but the one top right has been taken in London, from the south bank of the Thames, probably the Tate Modern art gallery, with St Paul’s and the padestrian bridge in the background.
      Nigel

      Like

  2. customtripplanning October 23, 2011 at 9:07 am #

    It does seem to be a paradox that the people who walk the most are city dwellers!

    Like

    • rastelly November 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm #

      I’ve noticed that, but never especially cared for city life. Even
      though my phobia of driving forces me to ride a bike almost
      everwhere. There are small drug stores scattered about my
      spacious southern colledge town – so there is always some
      thing within reach, but a pair of flat feet often consign me to
      bikeing and smimming.

      Often we search for parking spaces close to the buliding in
      the hight of summer. Down here the pavement heats up to
      temperatures that make the very air burn your skin – shade
      is rare in developed areas. Wooded parks are much cooler.

      Like

    • midnitechef November 5, 2011 at 9:11 pm #

      I was more active on the farm than I’ve been in the city. There’s more room to do what you like, bike, hike, ski… I don’t like the noise and smell of cars.

      Like

  3. Barbara October 23, 2011 at 9:24 am #

    And then we walk or run on a treadmill. Where does that get us?

    Like

  4. www.travelwithkevinandruth.com October 23, 2011 at 9:28 am #

    We live in our motorhome, and we don’t tow a vehicle, so we do a lot of walking. We also have bicycles with us, but tend to walk more often than bike. We’ve noticed in the U.S. more than Canada that many new shopping developments don’t have sidewalks…you can’t even easily walk across the street to get to another store.

    We also think it’s funny how many people will drive around a parking lot (sometimes two or three times!) looking for the closest spot to the entrance to a store, even though an easy convenient empty spot is usually only a 30 second walk away. We don’t get it, but we know that we are in the minority!

    Anyway, enough computer time for now. Time to go for a walk…

    Like

    • Brian October 23, 2011 at 10:31 am #

      Originally we weren’t planning on towing a car either, but now I can’t imagine not having one. We put three times as many miles on our tow vehicle as we do our R.V. I suppose it’s possible to drive the motor home 30 minutes to a hiking trail, or to the grocery store, but I wouldn’t like the idea of having to pack up the house every time I wanted to go sightseeing or run an errand. We’ve also done several things with the car that I couldn’t do with the RV.

      You guys have been doing this longer than us, how do you manage without a car?

      Like

      • www.travelwithkevinandruth.com October 24, 2011 at 10:20 am #

        Part of our reasoning is the cost of having a tow vehicle. First, the initial setup is expensive. Then, the wear and tear on the vehicle itself. And, we figure we get more exercise by not having a car around. We manage to find places to park the motorhome that allow us to do the things we need to do, plus not having a tow vehicle makes the motorhome itself much more maneuverable, and we’re only 28 feet to begin with. We like to get into out of the way spots sometimes, so we like that aspect of it.

        We also don’t mind taking public transportation, which is especially cheap here in Mexico. Taxis are cheap here too, so we’ve been known to use them as well, although I will never again pay for a taxi in Canada or the U.S.

        Yes, we probably miss some things along the way that we would be able to take in with a car. But, we manage to fulfill our days otherwise, so the tradeoff is worth it to us.

        Like

        • Brian October 24, 2011 at 10:37 am #

          It is all about trade offs isn’t it? The challenge is finding the right individual mix, and it sounds like you nailed it.

          Taking the RV down to Mexico is something I’d like to explore. We’re flying over Mexico this winter to backpack around Central America for two months. But maybe next winter we’ll RV through Mexico. I’ll probably be hitting you up for some advice on that, if you don’t mind.
          Happy travels,
          Brian

          Like

  5. levonnegaddy October 23, 2011 at 4:12 pm #

    Hi Brian,
    I would love to walk the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. I am drawn to do this. One day I may. I’ve walked eight miles before at one time but that’s as far as I’ve gone. So to walk the Appalachian Trail would be monumental for me. Thanks for the post! Have a great Sunday, Monday, Tuesday…

    Like

  6. Chris H. October 23, 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    This struck a chord. Whenever I go back to the UK I walk everywhere within reason (3 miles or less these days, since older age beckons) or take the local bus. Walking…what we called Shank’s Pony…was the norm when I grew up. Either that or ride a bicycle. We would take bike rides into the countryside for miles and miles as a family when I was a child, often to a pub with a garden in the summer.

    These days, I always feel fitter when I come back from a trip ‘home.’

    Like

    • Brian October 24, 2011 at 9:50 am #

      We’ve found most European cities are more walkable than those in the U.S. and generally have far better public transportation systems too. I think part of that is geography (the entire country of France is the size of Texas), part history (their cities are far older and their development was less impacted by the automobile) and part cultural. When and if we settle down again, we’ll be looking for somewhere we can walk and bike most everywhere. We’re finding slim pickings here in the U.S.

      Like

  7. F. October 24, 2011 at 6:57 am #

    Sigh. I love your blog. I feel like it’s the life I could never have.

    Walking in Kuwait is inconvenient and sometimes even impossible. I miss living in the US!

    Like

    • Brian October 24, 2011 at 10:32 am #

      I’m very sorry to hear that you feel the life you want is out of reach. I don’t know your circumstances so I won’t glibly say “You can do it.” What I do know is that we’ve met all kinds of people living lives similar to ours; people of limited means; people with young children; people with disability; the very old and the very young. Often times more is possible than we realize. The only way to know what you can accomplish is to try. Good luck!

      Like

  8. gertieapigo October 24, 2011 at 9:17 am #

    It also helps that when you walk, you don’t mind the time spent to reach your destination but to taste and appreciate those that you see and encounter along the way!

    Like

  9. Royce Howland October 26, 2011 at 11:03 pm #

    This is so true. North Americans especially, but I suppose many other people, have become enmeshed in the destination rather than the journey. Or, more to the point, have lost the realization that the journey has many potential destinations along it, not just one at the “end”. Urban sprawl, malls & big box stores, the demise of the corner grocer or cafe, the inability to work where you live — all of this is just an outgrowth of the “destination” mentality, and the destination is always somewhere other than where we are. I’m not speaking of travel, here, but of being in a place. We’ve architected & engineered our living places & life-styles into having to move fast, drive, get there & get it done, whatever… rather than take time, walk, and just move along at a more measured pace.

    Originally from the U.S., I’ve lived in Canada since 1975. But both countries of the North American continent are in large part defined by the culture of the automobile — not just motorized vehicles but personal ones. There are notable attempts to push back, but they’re usually local & grass-roots in nature. More power to them, but still it seems like the ability to “just walk” gets harder every year.

    The starkest experience of this I ever had was a time in the late 1990’s when I lived & worked for nearly a year in Pasadena, CA. I didn’t have a car, just walked everywhere. My apartment, the office, and virtually everything else I routinely needed were within “walking distance”. I think I rented a car perhaps half a dozen times (half of them to go out of town), and almost never took transit. I didn’t even have a bicycle! Some local folks thought I was mentally unbalanced, a communist, or both. 🙂 Despite working hundred-hour weeks under conditions of pretty high stress, when I came back from that experience I was more physically fit than I’d been before, or have been since. And I saw a lot of interesting things from street level… Pasadena was a good town, in that regard.

    I have to admit, I do like driving, more’s the pity. But Brian, like you say, “walking distance is a personal preference”. I need to get back to preferring it more…

    Like

    • Brian October 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm #

      Thanks for your thoughts. The starkest example we’ve run into of what unplanned development has wrought was on the 36 miles we drove between Naples and Fort Myers, FL. We encountered mile after mile of the same shopping malls the entire way. And I don’t mean similar, I mean the same. It occurred to me the reason the area developed the way it did was because everyone wanted to live within X miles of a Best Buy and a Publix supermarket but they also wanted to live X distance from their neighbors. So instead of building a city with a convienent urban core, where everyone could shop at the same grocery store, they built miles of sprawl with dozens of exact same stores to accommodate it all.

      Like

  10. Matthew Burks November 2, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    Shoot man you just reminded me that I need to work on my water walking technique! But seriously now love the quote and awesome photo
    |Matthew Burks

    Like

  11. niasunset November 4, 2011 at 5:21 am #

    “Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” – Steven Wright
    Wonderful quote, beautiful place and beautiful photograph. Thank you, with my love, nia

    Like

  12. Peas and Cougars November 4, 2011 at 2:04 pm #

    The lines on that picture are great!

    Like

  13. The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife November 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    I so enjoyed this. My mom used to be one who wouldn’t take the escalator over stairs, and I always appreciated that about her. Living in the country, walking to the store is not an option, since I don’t have the time it would take. But I’ve found walking to get the mail and such is a great way to go about it. Great post.

    Like

  14. Mikalee Byerman November 4, 2011 at 2:12 pm #

    Too funny…I was thinking about Wall-E from the very beginning of this post! It’s a scary potential, isn’t it?

    Personally I’d love to live in a place that was closer knit and more “walkable.” There’s such simple joy and beauty in a good walk!

    Like

  15. Lemon Colly November 4, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    I think simple changes, like parking in the back of the parking lot, could actually curb the weight problem that has developed in this country. At the same time it gets rid of the frustration of trying to get the closest spot.

    Like

    • Nathan Menkveld November 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

      Excellent point. Purposely doing things less efficiently seems to take stress out of life because it no longer is a race and it often increases physical activity and fitness. I wish more people thought like that.

      Like

  16. underwhelmer November 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm #

    I grew up in the American South and I now I live in Europe… I wish I had known then what I know now. Walking is not taboo or a sign of poverty. It’s the conscious choice of the majority of people in the world for various lifestyle and/or economic reasons.

    Like

  17. krismerino November 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm #

    I miss living in a pedestrian-friendly area. This post has definitely reawakened my peripatetic longings.

    Like

  18. sugarapp November 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm #

    This post reminded me “Forrest Gump” movie .
    Run Forrest run …

    Like

    • liangyingyin November 5, 2011 at 1:51 am #

      “If you are ever in trouble, don’t try to be brave, just run, just run away”

      Like

  19. The Kittle Team November 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

    I Like this article so much reminds me of my local place Fort Collins Colorado where you can walk on trails go camping and biking on the mountain trails! The photo says it all! Your an adventurous couple. It’s a good thing! And walking is a Good Habit!

    Like

  20. valentinedee November 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I love that you packed your stuff and just went. Great blog with great inspiration. TY

    http://valentinedefrancis.blogspot.com

    Like

  21. tarapappas November 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    Gorgeous shot! Badlands N.P. is such a awesome place! Great article. I love the IDEA of walking everywhere, but the practicality of it seems to frequently get in the way. So, to compensate, I try to bike when I don’t have time to walk somewhere…Have you hiked the Appalachian, Pacific Crest, or Continental Divide Trails? I’ve been wanting to do a longer hike like that for years now, but it seems as though time is never really on my side!

    Like

  22. celsotavora November 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    I live in Brasilia, our nation’s capital. Even though it’s a planned city, they forgot to think of the pedestrians: if you’re planning to have any kind of life here, a car is a must, even if you need to go to a grocery store two blocks away from your apartment.

    Like

    • krismerino November 4, 2011 at 6:05 pm #

      I read a fascinating book, Seeing Like a State, by James C. Scott, precisely about how these planned cites (he uses Brasilia as one example) fail to provide those very things that give a city its soul; like corners to congregate at, neighborhoods with their own histories and personalities… and a place for pedestrians.

      Like

    • LELASURAMADU LOVES CATFISH November 6, 2011 at 10:56 pm #

      same with my country, Indonesia

      Like

  23. Aileen Torres November 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    Convenience is comfortable, and so becomes second-nature 🙂 But walking will always have merits!

    Like

  24. Eileen黃愛玲 November 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm #

    While I was living in Maine, I’ve always walked. I walked to the grocery store. I walked to the nearest library. Now that I live in South Florida, I don’t even dare to. 😦 ha! The problem is, I keep failing my dirver’s test. xD Not everybody can drive. I especially can’t.

    Like

  25. Ghost Writer November 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I remember reading a Stephen King short story about everybody living in cars and a family being stuck in a traffic jam and one of the kids deciding to leave and survive ‘outside’ Perhaps things to come?
    If I can I try to walk for at least 20 mins each day…even if it’s just around the block.

    Like

  26. The Gates of Lodore November 4, 2011 at 4:31 pm #

    It’s usually a toss up for me between a bicycle and walking. The only things that get me in the car are bad weather, excessive distance, or excessive load. But I’ve lived toward the edge of the city before where distances to anything are much greater. Then, i was forced to use the car. I hated that.

    Like

  27. pnwauthor November 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    I don’t own a car so I rely on my feet to get me to most places, that and public transport, if I’m in a hurry. I chose to live in an urban area close to the businesses I need the most. But you’re right living in surburbia requires a car. I tried living in the suburbs without a car once, and it’s too challenging.

    Like

  28. Luis A. Ramirez November 4, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    Sad to say but where I live I need a car. However, time and walking do go hand-in-hand. Walking is great if you have time. If not…just run and get that task done quicker! I know. I know…easier said than done. I personally enjoy endurance sports – ultra running in particular. I tend to run plenty of miles during these events which last nearly over 12 hours. . . Walking is a blessing in disguise after hours of running. Aside from the running…i enjoy walking when I may especially since I work on my tush all day.

    – Great post. Simple. To the point.

    Like

  29. chems luc November 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    No feeling better than a good walk in the nature; when you can feel your legs and the hapiness in the air…

    Like

  30. lostbutf0und November 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    I’m sorry but can you please convert the 2,181 mile length into Kilometers please, otherwise I will not be able to understand your article.
    Ok, enough mocking around. I really like it. Congrats on being squeezed.
    And in all fairness, even though I live across a bakery, literally, I use my bike to get there.

    Like

  31. Cynthia Guenther Richardson November 4, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Without walking, I might have to just stop living! I’ve walked for my life since I was diagnosed with heart disease 11 years ago–and I was an anomaly, being only 51. But walking became a habit and way of life even as a child, as my mother walked everywhere–we walked fast to catch up. And so it was for my children. Can’t wait to walk when I get home after 10 hours work as a counselor. It’s a great way to see, feel, hear, smell, enjoy all life up close. Love hiking also on week-ends, in all weather. (Live in the NW with lots of rain–that’s fine with me!) Having two legs that will hold you up and take you there is a true blessing! Look forward to reading your post more.

    Like

  32. vforvandweller November 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm #

    I could not agree more, great article! I find commuting to be even more preposterous to become tied to. You’re dead on that the West is full of sprawling places that ‘maximize the distance between them.’ Great thoughts!

    Like

  33. cinquecentoproject November 4, 2011 at 7:11 pm #

    Congrats on FP!

    You wrote about one of my greatest fears! I really love walking and try to walk as often as feasible…eek – feasible – one of those SUBJECTIVE words. I have had to balance life with a car for about three years now, and I walk a lot less. Yet, I notice that I still manage to shock people with the way I am willing to walk certain places – I don’t think twice about those walks and that disconnect tells me I am still doing okay.

    Hope you can kick the habit soon!

    Like

  34. viktoriablog November 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Wonderful article!

    Like

  35. ldsrr91 November 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm #

    The picture? Badlands? (Did you go to Wall’s Drugstore?)

    Inquiring minds want to know.

    DS

    Like

    • Brian November 5, 2011 at 9:18 am #

      Yes, and yes. Although I was probably more impressed by the shear number of billboards advertising Wall’s Drugs on our drive to Wall than I was with the giant store itself. I’m a sucker for good doughnuts, though and they delivered. 🙂

      Like

      • ldsrr91 November 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

        An interesting piece of America kind of off the beaten path for most folks. But never the less, a good place to see and visit. And yes, miles and miles of billboards a lot of whoopla about basically not much. If you are lucky, they will plaster a bumper sticker on your car! (at least they used to do that)

        I enjoy your site. Good stuff.

        DS

        Like

        • Brian November 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm #

          Agreed! Although now I’m really relieved I didn’t leave with an unwanted bumper sticker. LOL.

          Thanks for stopping by, and for your comments.
          Brian

          Like

  36. Jacqueline November 4, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Good point! That’s one of the reasons I moved to SF, and I refuse to get a car. I bike everywhere and occassionally take public transportation and even more rarely use a zipcar. Like you said, there’s so many places that are walkable, but there are some places that even though you could walk there, it is easier to drive. Like with all things, I think it comes down to moderation. That and urban planning!

    Like

  37. charlotte November 4, 2011 at 7:36 pm #

    Beautiful and inspirational. Thanks for sharing!

    Like

  38. barbhughes1 November 4, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    One of the many things I like about living in Portland Oregon – my husband and I chose a location that was close to a freeway, close to bus and MAX transit, within walking distance of a park, library, grocery stores, and close enough to bike to doctors and dentists. We are a one car and multi-bike family by choice. When I get too old to ride my bike safely or drive, I’ll still have access to the bus and the MAX system…plus I might think about getting a three wheeler bike or something. Part of it is because I just don’t like driving, but it also just feels good to be outside getting excersize instead of inside a car belching out pollution and spending money on gas, oil, tires, maintenance, insurance/etc.

    Like

  39. olivialalas November 4, 2011 at 9:22 pm #

    Nice blog. Walking has its advantages and disadvantages. But at the end of the day, whether you walk or not, the important thing is that you’ve traveled and enjoyed the wonders of God. Have a great day! 🙂

    Like

  40. Andrew M Bashwinger November 4, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Good article. I’ve started Bike riding again these past couple years. I grew up in a city and could get everywhere by bike for the longest time. When we moved to the suburbs, I started commuting like everyone else. Now we’re back in the city and I’m sometimes back on the bike or even walking. Enjoy it while we can (upstate NY winters are long and cold!)

    Like

  41. Peter Parkorr November 4, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    True dat. Obviously America is a prime spot for the encroachment of modern conveniences onto your life. My personal favourite was the escalator that led up the 15 steps to the gym, hehee 😀

    What about the good old bicycle tho? Much faster than being on foot! A happy medium, as long as it isn’t raining…

    Like

  42. georgeewant November 4, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Where is the place in the photo?

    Like

  43. Brian November 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm #

    Thanks to everyone who took the time to comment. I appreciate all of your thoughts.

    Brian

    PS The title photo was taken at the top of Saddle Pass Trail in Badlands National Park

    Like

  44. Learn To Beatmatch November 5, 2011 at 1:31 am #

    I remember trying to climb a mountain in Arizona.
    The mountain seemed so close at first, after 30 minutes of walking I said screw this, probably more than an hour away lol, it was just so big it seemed close

    Cheers,

    -Ron

    Like

  45. Hilman Septiawan November 5, 2011 at 2:41 am #

    Ya Rabb… that place is so wonderfull.. i like it. 🙂

    Like

  46. John zhao November 5, 2011 at 2:56 am #

    Nice pic
    And I like walking and jogging.

    Like

  47. Adam Green November 5, 2011 at 3:01 am #

    This post looks o.k. !!!

    Like

  48. thorsaurus November 5, 2011 at 3:29 am #

    The Badlands are beautiful. I hope they don’t find oil under them.

    Like

  49. wangiwriter November 5, 2011 at 6:16 am #

    Walking is done for exercise in most places in Australia. Like the US, the distances are usually too great – and the public transport system isn’t that great either. I live in a country village, but the local store is 2.5km away. If I need something in a hurry, I drive there. Sad, huh!?

    Like

  50. Rasta teacher November 5, 2011 at 7:33 am #

    Nice post.

    I thought maybe you would like a video on Youtube named “Walk” by Burning Spear 🙂

    Perfect love

    Like

  51. The Background Story November 5, 2011 at 10:38 am #

    That is a very lovely landscape!

    Love it!

    Like

  52. iamwdunn November 5, 2011 at 10:41 am #

    I live a mile from my job (about 10 minutes of walking), people think its weird.

    Like

  53. greenwood11 November 5, 2011 at 10:50 am #

    Congrats on Freshly Pressed!
    I love being able to walk places – currently it is a bit hard since I am living in the mountains…but I definitely miss that element of my life. People would always comment about my family walking places to the store, etc…in a town where you can easily walk, yet with having other errands to run and a huge problem with sprawl, we were considered very quirky. I miss that!
    Anyway, great post!
    Thanks, Anne
    The Greenwood Lakehouse

    Like

  54. Eklctc November 5, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Yes. We are the victims of unwanted habits. They say it takes 21 days to form one. I’ve tried that. I’ve yet to be a believer since I fall in and out of them.

    I admire the fact that you two have done what I desire to do- live in an RV with minimal possessions/responsibilities and waking up open to new explorations every day. I am a minimalist now but am still forced to maintain some connection to the world and material possessions for the benefit of my children. While embracing this life, I am working towards financial freedom so that I can eventually purchase an RV so that I can downsize my life and go wherever my subconscious spirit leads me.

    I am trying to get into the habit of walking to more places. Now, that we have entered the snow season here, It’s much more difficult to embrace that concept but I haven’t given up on it. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  55. myautisticplace November 5, 2011 at 11:31 am #

    Nice post,

    We live in a pretty cool area. The mail boxes are less than 2 minutes to and from for anyone. Yet, it amazes me that on a beautiful summer day, I see people driving to the mail box and back!!

    Here’s another good example. You want to grab a cup of Tim Horton’s coffee. The drive through has more than 12 cars. Inside the cafe has no customers, what do most of us do? We sit and wait for 10 mins? Maybe I just don’t get it.

    Like

    • Brian November 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      I’ve seen people driving to their mailbox. At first it astounded me. Now I understand how people fall in to the habit of just getting in their car whenever they want something.

      Like

  56. imon November 5, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    My secret desire to do that kind of work.

    Like

  57. lonelynutreflects November 5, 2011 at 11:47 am #

    I just love walking. And cycling.

    Like

  58. restlessjoo November 5, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Goodness, my immediate reaction is “thank goodness I don’t live in the States” but that seems very rude! Like many another I expect was attracted into your blog by the lovely photo so the content came as something of a surprise. I can’t (don’t want to) imagine life without being able to walk along our northern beaches or through the Yorkshire Moors. Love the sound of your adventure though so will take time out later to spend some time virtual travelling with you. Cheers!

    Like

    • Brian November 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

      The U.S. has many walkable cities. It unfortunately also has many, many, many unwalkable ones. Some of that has to do with the size of the country. I never really appreciated how big the U.S. was until we started trying to see it all.

      P.S. love “Bronte Country”

      Like

  59. Paul Cahill November 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm #

    Sometimes the good things in life are not so convenient. I think I am going to take a walk today. You have inspired me.

    Like

  60. asoulwalker November 5, 2011 at 12:37 pm #

    As a climber who did most of his learning in Alaska I have done a lot of walking. I have also grown kind of addicted to bicycle commuting and don’t like it when I can’t. But one thing I have noticed is that people do not realize what they can do. They think they cannot do all sorts of things that they actually can. What they don’t often like is finding out how much work it will take to do those things. Great post. Keep walking.

    Like

  61. thespectatorssport.wordpress.com/ November 5, 2011 at 12:38 pm #

    Really agree with what you’re saying: America needs to stop building towns/cities that require cars to get anywhere. This is just one of the many reasons why I love NYC!

    Like

  62. kat November 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm #

    Wow! Such a beautiful photo! Breathtaking! 🙂

    Like

  63. San Antonio Tourist November 5, 2011 at 3:21 pm #

    I love your post. One of my grad school professors, who’s now in his seventies, has never owned a car. He coined the phrase “Carmageddon” for this age we’re living in. With the recent news that 2010 was the worst year ever for our spewing carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere, I’m hoping that more people will choose to walk (or ride a bike) before they drive. Or if you must go long distances, take a bus or share a ride. Thanks for the reminder.

    Like

  64. greatplainstrail November 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm #

    Excellent post! Couldn’t help but notice all the comments about the photo. It ties in perfectly with the Great Plains Trail Project. We’re envisioning a long distance National Scenic Trail through the Great Plains (in the tradition of such trails as the Appalachian Trail). Inspiring landscapes, such as the one you used from Badlands, as well as people’s excited reaction to it, are precisely the reasons why we want to create the trail. Happy travels!

    Like

  65. bsavelle November 5, 2011 at 3:31 pm #

    We studied this in my Humanities class over Suburbia. I wish I could live in the city where everything is walking distance. And not only that, but where everywhere is pedestrian friendly (No one wants to walk by themselves on the side of a major four way street). I envy my friends at UT Austin for that luxury.

    Like

  66. moanti (moe·on·tee) November 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm #

    You have reminded us all that our need (or want, rather) for convenience has skyrocketed to an unhealthy level. Just the other day I was in a rather large city on the West coast with a friend and he wanted to stop at a drive-through convenience store. You can drive up to this place and a little old man who owns the shop asks you to pick out what you want from an array of items from cereal to cigarettes to candy to toys. You sit in the car and say or point at the items you want and this poor old guy scrambles about to collect what you need. He is getting a lot more exercise than the customers!

    Like

  67. ador November 5, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    A really great adventure. Hope to experience it personally.

    Like

  68. frankie leone November 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm #

    that photo is sublime. congratulations on your journey.

    Like

  69. lolabees November 5, 2011 at 6:15 pm #

    So very true! I did it the opposite way: grew up in the ‘burbs and drove everywhere. Now as an adult, I live in a great urban neighborhood with parks, shops, and restaurants. It makes for a great quality of life, and I wouldn’t change it for anything!

    Like

  70. rubysongbird November 5, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    This is so true! I live in the suburbs and drive pretty much everywhere. The exception is the doughnut and liquor store on the corner, and that certainly isn’t very healthy!
    When I was visiting Japan, we walked EVERYWHERE, and it was just fine once we got used to it — though next time I will bring more suitable shoes.
    Since I’ve been back in CA I notice myself having to consciously decide to walk to the other side of the shopping center rather than drive. It’s a bit sad, really.

    Like

  71. midnitechef November 5, 2011 at 9:12 pm #

    What a great adventure you two are on! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed 🙂

    Like

  72. loveantoinette November 5, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

    I thought at first things like this only happen in the US, but I was in Lima Peru recently, and in the dead heat of traffic, there are vendors everywhere, milling all around the streets selling food, electronics, batteries, toys, toiletries, shampoo/conditioner/body wash… I mean at that rate nobody has to even stop by stores anymore… They’re stuck in traffic, sitting inside their cars, jamming to music, and voila – SHOPPING! It’s crazy world I tell yah!

    Like

    • Brian November 5, 2011 at 9:43 pm #

      That’s very interesting. We’ve visited places where packs of touts target tourists, but we haven’t yet seen a flash bazaar spring up around congested traffic for locals.

      Like

  73. SisterBlister November 5, 2011 at 10:32 pm #

    What is that thing on your head?

    Like

  74. Shane November 5, 2011 at 10:54 pm #

    Love the Badlands photo!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed! 🙂

    Like

  75. Trevor November 5, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

    I enjoyed your entry. It made me think of my experience having a supermarket right across the street from my apartment. I usually walk there, but every so often I stop there driving back from somewhere further away. On my way home from the bank today I stopped at the supermarket, and when I left the store I started walking right home to my apartment-right past the car I took there! I stopped and realized I took the car after walking past it, turned around and got in. How funny or weird that must have looked to anyone nearby! I’ve grown so accustomed to walking there that I occasionally forget I drove there!

    Like

  76. bspete22 November 6, 2011 at 12:41 am #

    Awesome!

    Like

  77. bspete22 November 6, 2011 at 12:46 am #

    I just started walking six weeks ago to get my health back. It works! I’ve lost 13 lbs. so far and am gaining control of my body by using my mind.

    Like

  78. http://jillriter.com November 6, 2011 at 1:28 am #

    very cool

    Like

  79. Ibi November 6, 2011 at 4:06 am #

    amazing, i like ❤

    Like

  80. Bhavika November 6, 2011 at 10:54 am #

    We discuss this sort of thing everyday in school: the suburban way of life, the you-need-to-buy-a-car-now! propaganda, building for the pedestrian’s scale versus for the car, even how to design your building so that it is best perceived by both the walking pedestrian on the sidewalk and the speeding vehicle on the road. I guess the situation isn’t so bad here in India, but only because of the number of people who just can’t afford cars. In the city (like Delhi, where I live) if you can afford a car and you don’t own one, you come across as just plain-stupid. When the distances are so large, time is money, and, most importantly, the sun is blazing hot, you just can’t afford to walk. Though the awesome feelings of exhilaration and, surprisingly (or maybe not) achievement I get when I walk long distances is incomparable.

    Lovely post, made me think 🙂

    Like

  81. McKeever Watts November 6, 2011 at 11:36 am #

    Wow! amazing picture.

    Like

  82. Dale H November 6, 2011 at 11:52 am #

    Well stated! I wonder people, who make those short auto trips to the store to pick up one or two items, also realize that it takes more time, planning and effort to drive than simply walk? The risk factor is there as well, as it is well known that most auto accidents happen very close to home. Thanks for a great article.

    Like

  83. rumbumbar November 6, 2011 at 12:06 pm #

    When I was a kid, I told mysel I will never have a car. I was growing up in a small (rather compact) town where you could walk trough the whole citty in a matter of few hours. I was often choosing walking over riding a bus, though taking a public transport I enjoyed better, then taking a car with parents. You got to notice many things that you skip If one takes a car and it feeds your mind with non-household, inspirational thoughts. It feels adventurous.

    Now I am 22. I live at Toronto. I still don’t have a car. To get to my job a take three subway lines and one bus. To get to the convenient store which pretty close to my house I need walk over the busy with traffic bridge, which is so unpleasant. Life dictates it’s own rues – I think I’m getting a car.

    Like

  84. Marcie McGuire November 6, 2011 at 12:08 pm #

    That reminds me of the last time I was in Portland, Oregon, visiting my son. We were trying to figure out our options for getting from his apartment to a picnic on the other side of town, so we went online to some transportation finder. We were told that a cab ride would cost $20 and take 10 minutes, a bus ride would cost $1 but would take an hour, and walking would be free (but would take two hours and 45 minutes)! We decided to catch a ride with friends who owned a car.

    Like

  85. fireygoddess November 6, 2011 at 12:21 pm #

    Indeed

    Like

  86. Karen November 6, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    I live in the suburbs on New York. Sadly, there are no sidewalks in my community making it dangerous and necessary for me to keep my kids in the cul-de-sac! They can’t imagine I used to walk to the mall, the movies and school even. It is sad and I can’t say I’m happy either. Thanks for the post!

    Like

  87. corneliamladenova November 6, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

    Stunning piece of nature, I fell in love with that photo. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

    Like

  88. carolyntrafford November 6, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Great photo – congrats on getting freshly pressed. I love walking and try to do so as often can but busy lifestyle often prevents.

    Like

  89. sarahnsh November 6, 2011 at 1:27 pm #

    I’ve always used the car since I don’t live in the city but it’s amazing what you can walk to when you are in the city. When you are out in the country it’s just easier to hop in the car. I really love biking instead of walking, I can cover so much distance and get so much farther than when I walk.

    Like

  90. jleecute November 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    You can swim to Japan.

    Like

  91. Shivani November 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

    Great post, thank you. “Never say never…!” is also what live teaches me on and on…

    Like

  92. kev07wan November 6, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    The sad fact is that most of the postwar United States was built with cars in mind, not people. Most of America’s suburbs, being built after 1950, are thus impossible to navigate without a car.

    Like

  93. hitherandyon.com (@Tibetan_incense) November 6, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

    I always park a few blocks away from the farmers market, just to get in an extra walk 🙂 If you use this trick everywhere you go, your legs will be in great shape and you’ll never have a hard time finding a parking spot!

    Like

  94. PrettyGee November 6, 2011 at 8:24 pm #

    Nice post!

    Like

  95. classicconfusion November 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm #

    I remember going to Daytona Beach and asking what direction the nearest Target was in from the mall, since I was going to walk. I got a lot of shocked looks and giggles, “Girl that’s like…20 minutes! Hahaha, out of town people are funny” etc etc.

    It’s weird how different some places are in regards to walking.

    Like

  96. Karen McKenzie November 6, 2011 at 8:34 pm #

    Looks great

    Like

  97. lollipopsvscigarettes November 6, 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Its good to walk. Dont mind other people who wanna go FAT. 😀

    Like

  98. wisdomland7 November 6, 2011 at 11:43 pm #

    Tell me about it. I try to tell that to friends all the time, but they don’t want to her of it. I live in St Cloud Minnesota and there are a lot to see here. It is a small city, but people are awsome and interracting with somebody while walking to the closest store or even the farthest is amazing in so many ways!! I love your blog and i will visit it regularly.
    Sincerely,

    LORIS

    Like

  99. Marko - Buki blog November 7, 2011 at 4:36 am #

    Great 🙂

    Like

  100. ellimacha November 7, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    Keeping walking, you can go every on land.

    Like

  101. Kevin Purdy November 7, 2011 at 8:23 am #

    I’m glad you mentioned the drive-through windows when you were writing about urban sprawl & western driving habits. I’ve always found it a bit irritating that most drive-through windows won’t serve pedestrians or bicyclists. Talk about discouraging those who are trying to live a healthy and green lifestyle. When we’re through occupying Wall Street, I say we occupy a few drive-through windows until they change that rule.

    Like

    • Brian November 7, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      Funny. I’ve walked through drive-up ATMs on several occasions after searching in vein for a walk-up one. I totally agree that these things discourage people from leaving their cars.

      Like

  102. fifistar2000 November 7, 2011 at 8:25 am #

    Great post and congrats for making freshly pressed!

    Like

  103. sojournwithstacey November 7, 2011 at 8:28 am #

    I love this post. I find the same things happening in my life. When I am in away from home I find myself walking everywhere no matter how far from my hotel or place that I am staying. When I am in my home city it is like life is too short and I have to drive everywhere to maximize it. Even yesterday, I decided that since I had nothing to do in the afternoon I would walk the 5 or 6 miles to Best Buy. By the time I was leaving, I ended up driving because I was running out of time!

    Like

  104. Elizabeth November 7, 2011 at 8:36 am #

    I think at some point we look at ourselves and wonder “When did I become one of THOSE people” which is a good thing and means that we are maturing and developing into great people.
    I love the post!

    Like

  105. fairybearconfessions November 7, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    I SO loved this post! When I decided to move to nyc, one of the major “pro’s” on my list of reasons was that I would be able to walk so much. I lived a half-mile from my nearest train stop for 10 years, and I rarely even took the bus to get there. Suburban sprawl makes me kind of crazy. And definitely lazy. Thanks for the post!

    Like

  106. Binarynova November 7, 2011 at 11:16 am #

    I recently moved to within a half mile of the place I work. It has become my personal goal to never drive to work again. Rain or shine, ice or fog, the 10 minute walk to work will likely not kill me.

    But in the month or so since I began I’ve had many people recognize me and stop to pick me up. It’s a nice gesture, but I always polietely decline and continue my walk.

    Thank you for the great post. Maybe I should blog about my experiences walking recently. 🙂

    Like

  107. newsy1 November 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

    We used to do without a car for three months of the year when we traveled in our RV and used a couple of scooters. But, some places like Mexico were too crazy to use the scooters. We finally resorted to a fifth-wheel with a couple of slide-outs and our truck pulling it. Much better and safer. Great post!

    Like

  108. Bliss Fish November 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    When I don’t walk, I wither. I’m reminded of one of my favorite walking quotes – “I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” ~G.M. Trevelyan

    Like

  109. moarstuff November 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    I often find myself parking out towards the back of the parking lot rather than closer to the door. Especially when I go to Wal-Mart or a big chain store. I find the notion of people driving around for 5-10 minutes looking for a parking space silly.

    90% of the time, I can park out of the way, walk to the store and enter before most people can even park their car. Now isn’t that silly? The sad part is. Most people do more 10 times the amount of walking in the store, than it would take them to walk the distance to the door. Doesn’t make sense.

    Like

  110. Betty Londergan November 11, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Hi Brian — Just found your blog and really REALLY like it! Wow, can’t believe the journey you all are on! Speaking of walking, the people in the small town in Uganda where I was visiting walk everywhere — there are literally no cars. That means the kids walk to school (up to 5-6 miles a way) and even the grannies walk to their gardens, the health clinic, or each other’s homes. There are no overweight people in Nyaka, and the people seem pretty joyful… although when they do get a ride in a school van, they are ecstatic. Back home in Atlanta, we drive everywhere…..specially to go to pick up some fried chicken and sweet tea. Ooink, oink!!!

    Like

    • Brian November 12, 2011 at 8:15 am #

      It’s true. For most of the world’s 7 billion people, travel by automobile is an extreme luxury. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are in the land of two cars in every driveway.

      Like

  111. fourbluehills November 12, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    I know what you mean! Before I got my first car, I walked EVERYWHERE! My friends and I would walk anywhere we needed to go, miles! LOL I was thinking about that a couple of months ago. I’d be hard-pressed to do that now. Course, age and living out in the boonies and with only 150 people in the town I live in, I can’t walk to many places at all. The local post office and that is it. All other towns are 6 miles or more from my house. 🙂 Beautiful photo up there, where was it taken?

    Like

  112. lesbienshop1 November 12, 2011 at 5:25 pm #

    wow , amazing i love your photos, thank you to share

    Like

  113. TriviaYourMind November 12, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    we walk no matter we like it or not…funny how i hear people say they dislike walking…without walking, how else will they get to their cars LOL

    http://triviayourmind.wordpress.com/

    Like

  114. Mary Russell November 30, 2011 at 5:41 pm #

    Great travellers both of you. Hope your finances hold up in these difficult times. Keep going – or come back. One or t’other.

    Like

    • Brian November 30, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

      Ha! That’s the plan: keep going or come back. LOL

      Like

  115. Deano January 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

    Some US cities are great for walking, others…..hmmm where did the footpath go? What I have to cross that 4 lane road with no crossing? The fun of being a walker!

    Like

  116. tchistorygal June 27, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

    What an interesting blog. I feel honored that you visited mine. You are living my dream! I am a walker, and it doesn’t matter what city I am in, I love to walk. I’ve walked the streets from Athens to London, and from New York to Seattle. Not in one journey, however. Thanks again for visiting my site. Yours is amazing.

    Like

  117. Anita Mac July 5, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Sad state of affairs, but I agree – everything is made for cars….love going to Europe where their town squares have all you need, and it is best for walking! Have yet to walk the Appalachian Trail but am off to walk the Camino de Santiago! 800 kms of walking should put a few things in perspective!

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  2. Things I Miss About the U.S. | Everywhere Once - February 23, 2015

    […] the fist to admit that the U.S. isn’t the most walkable place on earth. But that is largely because the country spans an entire continent; from sea to […]

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