Walking is one of my favorite pastimes whether for exercise or a stroll to check out new and old neighborhoods. What about you? Does the prospect of a walk send you searching for your walking/running shoes? When I travel, I enjoy setting off through the streets and paths of the area hoping to find something not overtly popular in a guidebook. And if there is time, getting “lost” is sometimes a pleasant use of time especially if it is in Venice, Paris, or any other interesting city or town. My husband is a master at leaving the tour and winding through the less traveled streets. One of my favorite memories is turning off the main passageway in Venice with a few hours to spare soaking up the ambiance of the neighborhoods with a few stops for gelato.
Before I write one of my historical novels, I wander the streets of the characters’ town and imagine walking in their footsteps, the ones taken two centuries before when life was a lot different. But still, they would have taken the same routes to take care of everyday chores and activities. I’ve spent many hours in Charleston, SC walking from my characters’ house to the wharf, church, mercantile, friends’ houses, Custom House, government buildings, etc. It gives me a sense of understanding their lives and actions better. The cobblestones are the same ones their feet had traveled.
I’m reading a fun little book I bought in Charleston this summer– Unplug Every Day. One of the suggestions is “Take a walking tour of your town.” What a great idea! Have you done that recently? Have you really looked at the sights that you see all the time? Think about the significance of the buildings, the landmarks, the plaques. Think about who lived in your town before you. This physical walk down memory lane is a great exercise that I plan to repeat more often.
When was the last time you walked the streets of your town with your eyes alert and focused?