See those shoes above? They must have about 1.5K miles on them from the last year. No joke. (Allbirds by the way… not sponsored… are by far the comfiest walking shoes my feet have ever had the pleasure of knowing.)
I walk about 5 miles a day. Or did when I lived in San Francisco. (My friends would think I was NUTS with how much I walked.)
I didn’t have a car in the city.
4+ years and never once did I feel I needed one. I thrived on walking everywhere.
I had Ubers and Lyfts and public transportation. The occasional friend to offer a ride. But walking…. oh how I looooved to walk.
Being carless was a blessing to me. It got me exploring the city by foot. Not scooter, not bike, by foot.
Walking everywhere is so underestimated. I often wonder why people would call an Uber for a half mile ride when they could be getting outside, enjoying the fresh air and taking in the many scenes going on around them.
Using the time walking to call a friend. Call Mom. Call Dad. Use the time to “meditate.” Allow your brain to just go wherever it wanted for a bit. I tell you what… my best ideas for writing come as I’m walking.
Walking everywhere meant quickly discovering more nooks and crannies of San Francisco. Walking by foot meant I had a way that, surely, would help me stay in shape (and could eat more food). Walking by foot was a way that I’d connect with friends- always, always “do you want to go for a walk?”
Something about walking side by side with someone is very intimate but also helps you let your guard down. This is because you’re not always face to face, and you have an environment to play off of should you need a segway out.
As I had mentioned in a prior article, I arrived to San Francisco in a very weak state. It was through walking that I started to gain more strength and endurance. It was through walking that my eyes started to open more to the world around me and be more present.
I urge people in walkable cities to simply walk more. Walk to work. To meet friends. Walk to the bar you are going to. Try to “walk” through your errands if you can.
I would walk on average 5 miles a day. ALWAYS on the shaded side of the street if it was sunny. 😉
I would walk to my workout classes.
My grocery store was 5-6 blocks away. I would walk. And just get enough that I could carry home.
If I went on a date with someone, I would pick a place that I could walk to.
Generally, if the destination was less than 3 miles one way (and I knew I could make it on time) I would walk.
Walking everywhere served me well. I feel like I really “took in” the city when I lived there. Really got to eat a little extra good food because I was constantly moving my body. And I really saw the many faces of San Francisco. Also the views– those city views. I saw so many sunsets from so many different parts of the city. Because I walked.
Some of my favorite moments in SF were when I just had my earphones in, listening to music… walking with the rhythm of the city. Such a simple thing to do but it always made me feel present and alive.
And by the way, just a tip– it really is so important to get comfortable walking shoes. Ones that support your arch and are lightweight. That’s why I loved my Allbirds- which were even more special because they were a gift to me from my girlfriends, who KNEW I loved walking everywhere. VFers knew I was a walker as well and I do sometimes get the question of what the best shoes are for that- Allbirds is my answer. They’re cute too!
So get to it. Get ta walking. Be happier arriving somewhere having moved your body, rather than stuck in the back of an Uber. Or crammed into the muni. Maybe not all the time, but more often. For your happiness, for your bod, for your state of mind! It’s a win/win. Walk.