Committing to doing a 100 walks challenge came from the core of my being the moment a thought occurred to me. Looking back I see that I was searching for a hand, asking to be guided into everyday with more delight; and being offered that hand from the world around me, from life itself. I embraced it like a gift which it was.
I remember giving myself no more than a minute or two to process the idea before posting it on my Instagram story, asking if anyone was willing to join me for support and accountability. And I am thankful that my ˝insta friend˝ Bea Mangar answered as eager to take on the challenge, adding just the right dose of encouragement.
As it was not something I planned, I had no vision of how it should look, so I had no rules to follow, no results to match or boxes to tick, other than to enjoy the ride. All I had was my intention not to go a day without leaving the house. I had grown too cosy working from home with the winter kicking in and had reduced my regular walks to no more than three, or four walks a week and was beginning to feel my energy turning stagnant. Knowing the boost I get from each walk I could only imagine the combined benefits of the daily practice so choosing to prioritize it was not without a reasonable reward. And I say ´imagine´ consciously, bc what I opted for turned out to be larger than my anticipation. Yes, some days I would walk for miles, others for a few miles more, but there were also days when I would grab a cup of coffee and stretch on the beach, or sit on a square in the old city; all equally beneficial contributions to this experience, and all equally inspiring reasons not a spend a day indoors.
As it was not something I planned, I had no vision of how it should look, so I had no rules to follow, no results to match or boxes to tick, other than to enjoy the ride. All I had was my intention not to go a day without leaving the house.
I am not exaggerating by saying that these walks and occasionally other self-indulgences have not only added to my physical and mental health, but they also stimulated my awareness and enriched my capacity and inclination for mindfulness, while also fuelling my imagination and sparking up my creativity. But what is perhaps most rewarding of all – they offered room to soak up life.
If there was one reason why I would recommend doing the same it would be this – you will get the time to (just) be. By setting this time aside from your busy schedule you will not have less time – you will have more of it. This is a gift of time. For you, or you and your family, you and your partner, your friend – whoever you choose to share it with if anyone.
If there was one reason why I would recommend doing the same it would be this – you will get the time to (just) be. By setting this time aside from your busy schedule you will not have less time – you will have more of it.
I had no idea that I was growing disconnected from my family before we started walking together this often. Note that I was, until recently, working from home and doing my best to be a present, conscious parent enjoying at least one, or two family walks a week. Yet a gap crept in. Work, obligations, school, choirs, sports, playtime and play station time, blogging and painting, and other combined leisure activities came in the way of us spending quality time together, and what is curious – we didn’t seem to mind. We felt we had enough of each other. That much so that I insisted on doing my first couple of walks alone, to get some quality alone time. But sooner than I had hoped, I began wishing I was sharing this grace with my loved ones so Invited them to join me more often than not. And in those moments outside, with no distractions like screens or other to take away our attention, we would grow equally inspired by the beauty surrounding us, and our souls would reunite, as I am sure you have experienced in your family walks. Genuine joy was abundant each time our eyes meet, and all of a sudden they had so much to say. An endless embrace pouring from one´s arms into another was enveloping us with tenderness as we moved through the open space, defying the wind, sunbeams and rain.
˝The moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.˝
-by Henry David Thoreau
And I can not emphasize enough that the frequency of these walks is what made all the difference. I am not saying that fewer walks are not beneficial for the above reasons, but, in my experience, every added day combined with intentions behind the efforts increased those benefits exponentially. This will surely be something I will remember this past winter after.
Now, I won’t lie, there weren’t days when I couldn’t wait for day 101 to come so I could stay on the sofa after a day’s work and a nourishing meal without guilt. Nor that there weren’t a couple of days when I did just that, for I was trying to do what I feel was best for me all along, and on a hand full of occasions, staying home was a wiser choice. But the truth is also that on day 101, once it finally came, I went for a walk.
The only difference was that I left my phone at home, as I did in the days that followed. One thing I did eventually find slightly overwhelming was documenting my walks on Instagram. But since I didn’t do it to brag, or even track my progress, but rather to share the beauty and hopefully inspire others to consider taking on such a challenge, or introducing this healthy habit otherwise – I felt it had a higher purpose, so I persevered.
At the end of this challenge, I am happy to say that this is only the beginning of my daily walks journey. The intention is well planted and already bearing fruits, and my heart is filled with gratitude for my determination. I can only say, to somehow round up this reflection with a – how-to sentiment; know your why, as with anything else. If your reasons for considering taking on this challenge as a way of introducing walks to your daily routine are rooted in all the right questions, I have faith you will have no problems keeping up with the demands. I, for one, will now reschedule my walks to early morning to make it through the summer, and hopefully, you too will find a way to make it work. For the reward is bountiful and you deserve it.
I am not saying that fewer walks are not beneficial for the above reasons, but, in my experience, every added day combined with intentions behind the efforts increased those benefits exponentially.