“It is only ideas gained from walking that have any worth,” wrote Nietzsche. Well, perhaps that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but the point is well taken: walks seem to have the capacity to foster the generation of sound ideas.
Seneca agreed. He advised us to “take wandering outdoor walks, so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.” (On Tranquility of Mind, 17.8)
Ryan Holiday added these thoughts in his The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living:
Today, make sure you take a walk. And in the future, when you get stressed or overwhelmed, take a walk. When you have a tough problem to solve or decision to make, take a walk. When you want to be creative, take a walk. When you need to get some air, take a walk. When you have a phone call to make, take a walk. When you need some exercise, take a long walk. When you have a meeting or a friend over, take a walk together.
Recently when we were in New York City, we walked The High Line in Chelsea and Central Park in Upper Manhattan. At home, we regularly walk the Monon Trail and the streets of Carmel. When we lived in Colorado we walked around an adjacent golf course nearly every day and, when we didn’t, it was often because we were walking a trail in the nearby foothills or Rocky Mountains, or in Wyoming, Montana, Utah, Arizona, or New Mexico. In Virginia we walked the campus and streets of Bridgewater and trails of Shenandoah National Park. In Pennsylvania we walked the byways of Westtown and streets of Philadelphia.
I’ve noticed an increase in our walking with age. When I was younger and consumed by my work, I didn’t think I had time to walk much. Looking back, that seems like an error in judgment. Nietzsche would agree.
Never pass up an opportunity for a good walk, Vera. It will serve you well.
P.S. Your grandmother and I will be walking the hills and mountains around Crested Butte, Colorado shortly. And perhaps doing a bit of mountain biking, too. Being a midwestern flatlander, you have no idea what it’s like to see and hike the magnificent Rockies. I hope you get to experience it someday. Your mind and soul will be most grateful.