Happy Saturday, and Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! Sometimes I’ll read or remember something that’s related to the themes of this blog and I’ll post it here. I don’t have much experience with blogs, but that seems to be a great part about them.
My buddy, Colin, introduced me to this article earlier in the year, and I think about it a lot. Drew Magary, Deadspin columnist and GQ correspondent, gives his best advice to the graduating Class of 2017. And it’s to get out and walk.
Here’s the sentence I thought about all the time on the Appalachian Trail, because I think it gets to the heart of why I enjoyed the experience so much:
I think about moving at a pace where everything around me changes but I’m still going slow enough to savor it.
I love that. I could have flown from Georgia to Maine, but I wouldn’t have seen anything change until I got off the plane and noticed the differences. I could have driven from Georgia to Maine, but — again — I would have missed so much of the evolution. Maybe, at Interstate rest stops I would have noticed the Bojangles became Cook Outs became Sbarros. Maybe I would have stopped in a city or two along the way and commented that people in Charlotte talk different than people in Philadelphia.
But, because I walked, I was moving so slowly, it was sometimes hard to tell things were changing at all. Until you realize everything changes with every step. The trees are changing, the flowers are changing, the seasons are changing, the mountaintops went from high to low, and then back to high again. Accents changed subtly. Food changed subtly. Politics changed subtly. The hours of bars got later as we went north. It was harder to find Mexican food but way easier to find Italian food as we went north. The amount of cell phone reception, the number of cars we saw on the roads we passed, the number of people I saw, the number of towns I went through, and the quality of the beer — it was all changing. I understand something about Appalachia and much of the east coast, in general, now, because I walked it.
But you don’t have to walk 2,200 miles to reap the benefits. Walk around your neighborhood, and you’re probably going to understand it better and enjoy it more. That’s the point of the article.
Below is one more excerpt from it that I enjoyed, but I recommend checking out the whole thing. Tomorrow I’ll go on the first of 365 New Orleans adventures, and the first post will be on January 1st!
Walk a whole lot. Walk everywhere. Or, if you’re in a wheelchair, roll everywhere. Don’t drive. Don’t get an Uber. Walk. When you walk up to grab your diploma—and the wait for that will be hot and endless, mind you—keep walking. Do not stop. Churn those young goddamn legs while they’re still working.
You don’t need me to explain the health benefits of walking. Studies show that walking helps with depression, weight loss, heart health, and even brain health. Walking is exercising. Walking is thinking. Walking is writing. Walking is working. Walk as much as you can, wherever you can. And try to not to carry anything, because carrying shit ruins it.