For years, I walked in the mornings. In Dublin, I walked nearly 3-5km each morning to the nursery where I did teaching practice, first in Dun Laoghaire and later in Blackrock. When I first moved to London, I walked to work for over fifteen years. My first nursery was a 45 minute walk, so later when I started teaching in a primary school, the 25 minute walk seemed a breeze in comparison.
I still have clear memories of that first walk. I used the time to wake up and to have a good think. I clearly remember walking alongside a high wall on one road, thinking about my boyfriend! I've never been a morning person, but having to start the day by walking certainly helped.
My husband and I believe strongly in supporting public transport, so most outings are by bus, tube or train; even for trips within the country we tend to travel by train. On of my greatest pleasures of travel is stomping around a new city or even exploring London; it reminds me how lucky I am to get to travel and live abroad. It makes the map in the guide book truly real to me.
This was all cut down dramatically in the past few years by two factors. Firstly, a close friend gave me her dear old banger, my trusty silver Fiat Panda. Combine that with free parking at work and that daily walk was sacrificed to having half an hour more in bed. Secondly, I injured my feet, repeatedly and in different ways (okay, yes, the dropped magnum of champagne was the most entertaining, I'll give you that).
Now that I no longer work full-time, I've been missing that walk. I have a tendency to over think things, so I spent a lot of the autumn battling, over-planning and beating myself up. This month, I have been calmer about it, and on several mornings now, just got up and went out. It fits in nicely with my preferred morning of waking slowly, with tea and the radio. It's easier when K is working from home (he lets me back in and makes me a cup of tea).
A morning walk is a pleasure. It grounds me in my body. It grounds me in nature, in the weather and seasons. It grounds me in the world of people, which is no small thing when you are an introvert who works from home. It gives me time to think and, with or without my camera, a chance to look around, catching little details and the colour of the sky. And when I get back, somehow I'm always raring to go and I get more done that day than I would have otherwise.
I'd love to hear about your favourite walk, whether it is one you will always remember or one that you take every day.