Taking long walks has many advantages. It triggers your senses, is good for your creativity and great for your health. Be like Steve Jobs, Charles Darwin, Einstein or Charles Dickens. Don’t walk to reach a destination. Switch off all distractions and just let the walk be your personal journey.
This afternoon I went for a long walk with the dog. I switched off my phone and set a timer on my watch for one hour. Whenever the timer would go off I would start walking back home. Since I was in an area I didn’t know very well I just started walking in one direction and tried to let my intuition lead the way. Whenever I encountered a crossroad I just chose the path that somehow looked best to me.
While I was walking I consciously tried to use all my senses. I listened to the birds singing and the crickets chirping. I looked at the trees and meadows. I smelled the fresh air (and sometimes not so fresh air…) and felt my feet touching the ground. Whenever I took a sip of water I rinsed my mouth with it and really tried to taste it.
Let the path lead the way
After a while the path led me into a nice village. I saw a lot of old old farms that had been converted into houses and saw some cosy cottages with thatched roofs. Meanwhile I passed a lot of people that greeted me in a friendly manner. Then – after an hour – my timer went off and I tried to walk the exact same way back home. After walking for two hours I returned home with a clear head. Feeling fresh, inspired and a bit adventurous.
Walking without a map or destination is a perfect way to clear your head. To step out of the routine and let everything go for a while. Get away from people, e-mails and other distractions and be your own companion. Just let the path lead the way.
What is the worst thing that could happen? You get blisters on your feet? Maybe you get lost? Miss an e-mail or a phone call? We have become accustomed to walking with a reason. Walking towards a predestined destination. Not many people walk these days to relax and just see where the road takes them.
Many people in history made long walks. Charles Darwin took walks along his “thinking path”. That was a gravel road near his home in south-east England. Each day he would go on three 45 minute walks: before breakfast, before lunch and in the evening.
Another Charles; Charles Dickens discovered London in detail by walking 20 miles in the middle of the night. That way he relieved stress and got interesting details and inspiration for his novels.
Albert Einstein took long walks on the beach to take time to introspect and work on complex problems in his head.
Steve Jobs strolled around for hours in the Palo Alto area. Often together with someone to have a long conversation or a really intense (walking) meeting.
Moving in the fresh air triggers your senses and makes you more creative. It gets you out of the routine and forces you to deal with the things that are in front of you. Moving like that is good for your mood, creativity and health.
So start moving!