This morning I picked Bill Bryson’s I’m A Stranger Here Myself up after a long hiatus. Bryson was born in the US, moved to England for 20 years, then moved back to the US--this book is a collection of articles he wrote for a British newspaper after coming back. The chapter I opened to, as it happens, is titled “Why No One Walks.” Here’s how it starts:
“A researcher from the University of California at Berkeley recently made a study of the nation’s walking habits and found that the average person in the United States walks less than 75 miles a year—about 1.4 miles a week, barely 350 yards a day… Eighty-five percent of us, according to the Berkeley study, are ‘essentially’ sedentary and 35 percent are ‘totally’ sedentary.”
Somehow… maybe this makes sense. Evolution shaped our ancestors to conserve all possible energy in case more dire conditions were to come, and our brains remain programmed to take advantage of the chance for energy conservation (aka laziness) whenever possible. Sadly, I can’t pretend to always be an exception. As I’m typing this, I’m laying on our couch and finishing my second bowl of Cocoa Krispies. But 350 yards… I’m fairly certain I walk nearly that far just trying to help Andy find his keys.
With so many beautiful sights to see and people to meet out there, I can’t imagine being able to stay so very put. And while walking may not always be the main goal, it sure makes for a nice, cost-efficient (and conveniently built-in) way to get around. But when the idea alone isn't enough, here are a few sites I use to help spark my sense of adventure:
- Ray Jardine is, in my mind, truly living the dream: http://www.rayjardine.com/index.shtml
- Check out photos of the “Most Amazing Places to Experience Around the World”: http://www.thecoolhunter.co.uk/article/detail/1957/amazing-places-to-experience-around-the-globe-part-1
- Follow the story of a modern nomad (she wrote one of the coolest books I’ve ever read, Tales of a Female Nomad): http://ritagoldengelman.com/
“I believe life is constantly testing us for our level of commitment, and life’s greatest rewards are reserved for those who demonstrate a never-ending commitment to act until they achieve. This level of resolve can move mountains, but it must be constant and consistent. As simplistic as this may sound, it is still the common denominator separating those who live their dreams from those who live in regret.” --Anthony Robbins