“What I talk about when I talk about hiking”
Click here to read this post in Dutch.
I borrowed the above sentence from one of my favorite authors: Haruki Murakami. He once wrote a memoir about his passion for running, called “What I talk about when I talk about running.” Great book, really. It even got me motivated to go running again, but since my running cycles are always relatively short (I always seem to get injured one way or another so I have to take it easy again…) I decided running is just not for me.
When writing this, I somehow have to think about Tom Hanks running through the US in Forrest Gump. One of the best movie scenes ever, if you ask me. Can you believe I only saw this movie for the first time a couple of years ago?
After seeing “Wild” at the movies last month, I knew I had to write something about walking and my passion for walking and hiking. Now I know that walking doesn’t sound cool. Hiking does and trekking does, too. But walking, no. However, I gave up caring. When I was still in my early twenties I did care and never really told anyone I was going out for a walk (unless it would be somewhere exotic, when walking all of a sudden becomes very interesting). And honestly, walking is something that became more and more my passion over the past couple of years only. No matter where I am, hiking will always be my favorite means of transportation. Whether it’s in the city I live or anywhere outside when traveling.
I’ll never forget our first morning in New York City, when we walked all the way from 96th Street where our hotel was, to Battery Park all the way down south in Manhattan. It took us basically all day but we loved it. Because after all, walking is the best way to see things, right?
When going to New Zealand for the first time back in 2002, we realized that there were many things left to see for us and most of those places could only be reached on foot. Wanting to see all of this, was our main reason to come back. To walk across mountain ranges that would lead us to unknown waterfalls, to climb peaks that were hours away from the land of the living and to spend nights in the wilderness, only surrounded by the silence of nature …
Not only do I love walking because of the places you get to see, but also because it’s an amazing way to relax. Forget yoga, pilates or any other form of meditation to relax. I’ve tried them all and always found myself memorizing all the things I still needed to do when I was supposed to relax… Yoga is just not for me, I’m too restless. Instead, walking is my meditation, my yoga. After I spent a day (or couple of hours) outdoors I feel much better. I’ve been able to put things back into perspective and forgive myself for the mistakes I made that week. When walking, all other things are pushed into the background and suddenly don’t seem to matter anymore.
Additionally, walking is good for you! According to everybodywalk.org some of the main benefits of walking are:
– By walking 20 minutes each day, you will burn 3,5 kilos of bodyfat each year.
– By walking 45 minutes each day, you reduce the chance of catching a cold by 45%.
– You can reduce the chance of getting Diabetes Type 2 by combining a balanced diet with 30 minutes of walking a day, 5 days a week.
_ Walking 5 days a week for 30 minutes, reduces stress, bloodpressure, cholesterol and reduces the chance of heart diseases.
– Walking triggers endorphin, gives a relaxed feeling and prevents anxiety and depressions.
Now believe me, if hiking was the solution to all of my problems, life would be easy. I still have a cold every now and then (in fact, I’m still recovering from a major one which even had me stay at home from work for 2 days, something that hadn’t happened in at least 4 years) and I’m not always relaxed or without anxieties. A day full of stress at work is not always followed by walking (I wish!) and I’m still 3 kilos overweight, even though I walk at least 30 minutes at least 5 days a week. So the above is only a plus that comes with walking, definitely not my main reason.
So why do I love walking? Well, I don’t know. It’s just an urge I have. I need to walk/hike occasionally. No matter where I am or who I am with. And you know what, hiking is much cooler than you think. You can get to some of the most stunning sceneries in the world, just by walking. You can climb mountains, descend into canyons, meet wildlife and explore all the beauties of the world, just by hiking.
In case you are just stopping by and you haven’t noticed yet, May is the we12travel hiking month. We’ll share our best hiking tips & tricks with you and much more that all has to do with hiking. So stay tuned, follow us on our social media and don’t stop walking!
How cool and/or uncool do you find hiking?
Can’t wait to read more about walking? Here are some of our most-read posts about walking to warm you up:
– Dear hiking boots – I’m cheating on you!
– Hiking Ucluelet’s Wild Pacific Trail
– Aurlandsdalen: Hiking Norway’s Grand Canyon
Thanks for sharing!