Step After Step, Or How to Walk Well and Feel Great

walking path spring green bucharest herastrau

You probably know how to ride a bicycle and perhaps you know how to drive a car, but do you know how to walk? Do you really?

In a lifetime, you will make enough steps to cover the distance around the Earth on the equator, five times. That’s over 216 million steps.*

Most of the time we walk in ignorance of our walking, thinking about other things, talking on the phone, hurrying to get somewhere. But walking well is one of the best ways for us to relax and enjoy our health and our sojourn here on earth. It’s a great way to remind ourselves we are alive.

  1. Walking well begins with slowing down a little, not too much.
  2. When you walk, align your mind to your body. Be in your body. Walk with your mind.
  3. Feel the ground between your feet, the solidity of the earth, the indifference of the concrete, the indecision of gravel. Feel the squelching of mud or the splashing of water, if you’re walking in the rain. Feel the snow crunching under your feet, giving way yet bearing your muddy weight with dignity.
  4. Be conscious of your breathing between steps. Be conscious of the pendulum that your body becomes as you walk. Its center point – the heart.
  5. Look at things as you walk, don’t just glance at them. Feel them as they come near or recede. The world is anchored in wonderful details.

The beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations. ― Gwyn Thomas

I like to walk in the morning, when the air is fresh and the birds are whispering the rumors of the day. I like to walk after dark, in the soft orange glow of the streetlamps. I like to walk anytime in between, at home, in my yard, anywhere else. I like to walk in the rain, too. I walk when I have to, but I also walk when I don’t have to, because I enjoy it.

I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in. ― John Muir

Walking can be a catalyst for creativity. Footstep after footstep, idea after idea, we can build better versions of ourselves while walking.

But walking can also be a descent into ever deepening quietness, into simple, affordable relaxation, even on a busy street.

When thoughts become footsteps, footsteps become echoes, and in those echoes, if we listen, we can find everything we need to feel great.

Home is everything you can walk to. ― Jerry Spinelli


Do you enjoy walking? What’s the farthest  place you ever walked to?


*I didn’t do the math, but smart people did

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21 thoughts on “Step After Step, Or How to Walk Well and Feel Great

  1. Your way with words is eloquent and stunning. I am charmed that you think the birds chirp the rumours of the day; I didn’t know the day had rumours, and am rather piqued that I never learned any of them, despite seeing so many days blink by! I walk a lot these days. I don’t know the furthest I’ve walked, but I often envision myself one of the hobbits, walking to mount doom, walking until I want to drop from exhaustion. I like walking in quiet places, in the countryside. Sometimes I walk in prohibited places, but the people who own these places tend not to know because they are so vast and I’m gone by the time they arrive, none the wiser. I listen to audiobooks while I walk, it is a wonderful experience.

  2. Can’t say I enjoy walking, but I always had to walk a lot. Since I was small I had to go 4km everyday to and back from school and on an average day I still have to walk around 4km… it’s a great opportunity to practice minfulness. But I do enjoy better walking with purpose, getting somewhere, than simply walking through the park. I find that exhausting. I need the drive!

  3. I love your blog. I love this post and that line really talked to me” when thoughts become footsteps, footsteps become echoes. If we listen, we can find everything we need to feel great”. Vincent, this is so true and well said. I walk everywhere. Walking is my therapy, my inspiration, my passion. Thanks for another great post. Huguette.

  4. I take walks in the late evening when most of the neighbourhood is getting ready for bed or relaxing in front of the TV. It definitely helps me clear the cobwebs in my mind – writing and otherwise. The longest distance covered… I’m not sure. I try to spend that time without any smart devices on me😁

  5. Loved reading it. Saw a smile on face while walking down this blog with you and reading it. I have walked a lot. I love walking up and down mountains and touching nature along the way.. I love walking by the sea and love the washed away feeling …

  6. Do read the 1822 essay by William Hazlitt titled ‘On Going a Journey’.
    I’ve spent a great part of my life in the hills where walking is a simple pleasure of life.
    The farthest place you’ve ever walked to, Vincent?

      1. Pack a blank notebook full of promises, quill and ink, a companionable book for the journey, food to debase your hunger, a bottle of shining water. Put on your magical hat and set off for the hills.
        Romania has beautiful hills, no?

  7. I’ve just started learning to walk in such a way, after rushing through much of my life. The farthest place I’ve ever walked? Hard to say. Probably a huge chunk of the Queen Charlotte track here in beautiful New Zealand.

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