A love of walking ~

I love walking.

I’m walking quite a bit at the moment, getting fit again for the Portuguese Camino tour which is coming up in May.

Jennifer and I are taking 16 New Zealand carers from Porto through to Santiago. Carers are people who care for someone – perhaps someone elderly, or with health issues.

I’m sure these carers are quite extraordinary individuals, and I’m looking forward to spending time with them, and hearing their stories.

But the walking I’m doing at the moment is less about training, and more that I just simply love walking. Most days now I’m walking 12kms -15kms, with 20kms or so on the weekend. I’m averaging between 85kms-100kms a week.

I love the simplicity of it.
I love the easy grace of a stride.
I love the regularity of my breath.

I love getting out into the bush, or amongst the wineries and the vineyards – and seeing flocks of cockatoos or kangaroos and sometimes a snake slithering away.

I love the smell of wildflowers.
I love the chill of an early morning.
I love hearing the sound of my boots on the track.
The only sound, other than sometimes wind in the trees.

There is a road I take which leads to the vineyards. People wave at me as they drive past. I wave back. Often I don’t know who they are. Or I can’t see them properly because of the sun reflecting off their windows. It doesn’t matter. I still wave.

I wave when an oncoming driver gives me space. Sometimes their cars veer onto the other side of the road. I always wave to them, for their courtesy.

Sometimes I see friends driving past, and every now and then they stop, and we have a chat. There have been times, on a long walk when I’m a fair way out of town, when a concerned driver will stop and ask if I want a lift. I laugh, and say No Thanks. 

I walk the same route every day. And often at the same time each day. And so people get to know me. On Sunday I take a longer route which loops around the town.

I walk the same route because I’m competitive. With myself. I like to know how I’m going from day to day – comparing my times, my pace and heartbeat, with previous days. I wear a Fitbit so I track everything. And then later on my computer I look at the stats.

But walking isn’t about stats.
It’s about feeling.
And seeing and hearing.
It’s about connecting to the elemental side of life.

I like to see how the light changes, how the vegetation changes. Today I noticed that some of the vine leaves are starting to turn golden. The first sign of autumn coming.

I like walking the same route because strangely, I see something new each day. Even though I’ve walked this route for years. But every time I seem to see something different.

And I listen to audiobooks. Because each walk is about two and a half hours, I use this time to “read.” It’s a valuable time for me. It enriches me in so many ways.

Walking grounds me.

It grounds me so I can fly.

I love it.


Road to Nowhere.sm copy

10 thoughts on “A love of walking ~

  1. Hello, Bill! I loved your blog about your love of walking. Of course, that’s what love does, doesn’t it? It brings out the love in each of us when someone talks or writes about something he loves. It doesn’t matter it is that we love. It’s that we love that gives us life. A nice long walk does give us time and space in which to rediscover that love that is always there within us, doesn’t it? Sometimes it’s harder to find that when we’re too busy running around like a chicken with the head cut off. (By the way, have you ever seen a chicken run around with the head cut off? I’ve seen a headless goose run around. Not a pretty sight and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone.)

    Healing ourselves from even a trauma like seeing something inhumane requires us to choose to love regardless of what we might be experiencing. Your blog is filled with the love you have for whatever you are writing about, for sharing your experiences (even when your experience was unpleasant), for stories and for writing itself that it always offers a beacon of light for anyone who’d like to re-discover more of that love within him- or her-self. Like a lighthouse for pilgrims finding their way in the dark of the night.

    I also wanted to validate you about your closing remark about your walking: “It grounds me so I can fly.” Not only is that poetic, it’s true, spiritually speaking. It’s not until we learn to ground ourselves firmly to the earth and be in our body as spirit that we can then learn to get out of our body (and fly). Most people assume you just go out to have an out-of-body experience, but, you have to first go in and then upward to free yourself from your identification with the body.

    Your posts always gives much to reflect upon.

    With love and laughter,


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  2. Fantastic post, Bill. If you’re walking early it’s a wonderful start to the day … having that time out in nature when the air is fresh and the day is just getting going, and as the walk is of two and a half hours duration you’ll really notice the difference in the temperatures by the time you get back home.
    What brand of boots are you wearing now? I’d be interested to hear.
    Cheers to you and Jen –
    Jenny xx


    • Hey Jenny – thank you once again for your kind words. Yes you’re right about the weather changing during a walk. On Sundays my walks are about 3hrs 15 mins or so, and so I have to leave very early because by about 10am here in Mudgee at this time of the year, it’s getting really hot.

      I’m wearing for my training walks my Asolo ankle high boots – which are the same boots that I wore on my first Camino. For the Portuguese Camino though I will wear my full leather Meindls, which are magnificent. In fact, this is one of the attractions for me going back to Munich for the Romantic Road tour – I can get another pair whilst there. They are quite hard to get outside of Germany – for a decent price, that is! Hope you are well, and look forward to catching up in person again very soon. Bill

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  3. Eloquently stated Mate. Living in the city, I have less desire to walk due to the traffic and distractions and lack of scenery which is stimulating to me. I know, beauty can be in the eye of the beholder, but I see more beauty in the country than a high traffic neighborhood sidewalk among the condominiums I pass. Having said that, my dog, Bubbie, and I make about a mile and a half along this sidewalk most clear days. While I might not be walking for the pastoral scenery, I am walking for my health. You remain my hero. 🙂

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    • Hey Steve – sorry for the long delay in responding, but I’ve been up in Queensland doing work for my University with the year’s new intake of students. Yes it’s sometimes very difficult seeing the beauty in industrial wasteland. I’m very fortunate to be living in a beautiful town where the bushland and the vineyards are only really a short walk from my home. But it’s good that you get out each day regardless – and when the need comes again you will step up the miles, I’m sure. It’s good that you can even walk! – after everything you went through last year. So I would celebrate each step mate!!


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