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The Best Parts of Walking

Monday June 8, 2020

OK since I just trash-talked my walking experience, let me share some quick hugs:

Finding New Places

It’s fun to identify a new route and match it up with:

  • A specific time of year
  • A specific time of day
  • A specific goal, or activity

For example, grabbing some favorite stationery and walking to the library on an overcast Saturday morning in the fall. Picking out a nice place to relax, read, and write. DOES life get better than this? IDK.

Trying New Gear

Whether for walking or hiking: I really enjoy speccing out new gear and gadgets to use out in the cold, rain, sun, or whatever. New clothes, a new watch, a new ham radio, shortwave radio, headphones, camera, sketchbook, pen, monocular, flashlight…it’s all a lot of fun.

You know those little Chinese mp3 players? I have tried a LOT of those and I have Opinions.

Did you know you can just buy shirt sleeves without the torso part of the shirt? You can just buy sleeves, and I’ve tried them out as a way of wearing a T-shirt but also not getting skin cancer again, and they’re kinda neat!

Planning and Trying New Techniques

Walking has become extremely technical. Leave it to an INTJ, boyzzz. Things can get pretty deep in these ways:

  • What are my diet and fitness goals? If I’m on a heavy cut, where do I draw the line?
  • What to drink, how much to drink, what snacks to bring, when to eat, and where? A single piece of candy can Change Yo Life when you have been walking for an hour or two.
  • What activities during the walk? Music? Podcast? Radio? RPG? Phone call? Photography? Sketching? Mapping? What do they mean / what’s the significance? You know—on the inside?
  • How far / long to walk, given my energy needs or current energy reservoir? A long walk in the morning can absolutely ruin your day, depending on circumstances.
  • How much of a given drug to take before, during, or after a walk. Nothing really hardcore here, just some relatively normal supplements and things… I experiment with this stuff all the time. Mostly trying to find little matches between how I’m feeling and what outcome I’m wanting. A long-time favorite is caffeine, because it absolutely lights up my Ne / extroverted intuition while I’m out walking. This is nice because I can give a bit less attention to the varying sensory aspects of the walk, and the result is lessened pressure and more enjoyment.
  • In my area you can morph a walk into a hike, and vice-versa. So: What parts will be a hike, and what parts will be a walk? This decision can affect your energy profile in no time, in a variety of different ways.
  • How can I make the outcome of this walk as awesome as possible?

Hanging Out with Family

Sometimes my wife will say, “hey, what if we do a picnic in the city park? If you want, you could join us when you’re walking by the area?” She’s very good at coincident-ing plans like that. That’s super cool.

Chatting with Friends

I mentioned ham radio above. One of my favorite scary memories is getting caught out in a sudden lightning storm. BOOOOOOM there was this huge thunderclap, and I looked up to see those ominous clouds rolling over the mountains toward me. Coming fast, already pelting me with rain. People in the neighborhood—not my neighborhood, but a neighborhood across town where I was walking—screaming at this explosion. Yelling at their kids to come inside. And me, caught out there on a random street with no shelter. And then running for my literal life for longer than I had run in a long time. Rain pouring down in buckets. I was finally able to take shelter under a tree in a relatively safe location and contact my wife, who drove out and rescued me.

By the way, did you know that walking helps you become a better runner? I mean, if you don’t like to run for whatever reason, walking and hiking still help to prepare your body, should you ever need to run across town. Kind of a neat discovery.

Anyway, I happened to be on the ham radio at the time, and the experience was a bit concerning for those with whom I was chatting. So now I get lots of “careful out there in the lightning” nudge-nudge warnings when the weather is turning. It’s funny. But it’s nice to be able to have friends who are easy to reach like that. They were checking in on me, too! Making sure I got picked up and was safe afterward.

And I guess I’ll wrap this with a plug for ham radio friendships: They’re technical. They’re also relational. This can be really nice! Yes, I get that you might feel Threatened by a Piece of Certification-paper which Means Nothing because You’re Very Smart Already, and Don’t Need to feel Judged by this in-crowd of Other Technical People. I’ve heard this before from INTJs and I know where they’re coming from. But I mean—it’s also a great community and a lot of fun can be had. Worth a go, I think, if you’re interested in radio or tech stuff at all.

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