I’ve always been a walker as for as I can remember. By “walker”, I don’t mean just hiking, but rather just walk-out-the door walker. I walked to school, I walk to work, I walk to get coffee, I walk anywhere and everywhere I can. I make it a point to walk the streets because for me to feel grounded, it requires my feet on the ground.
Since having issues with my eyesight last year, walking has turned into something more. Walking as a pastime, walking without aim, walking with no destination. A state of no path to find a path, it’s what I call wanderment.
I’ve walked more in the past year than I have ever walked before in my life. Since being forced to severely reduce my screen time, I’ve gone back back outside and it has made me see earth and life in a different way (ironically). I just so happen to live in a beautiful part of the country with mountains, beaches, and city buildings, all within a few miles, so it was only natural that I walk every square inch.
Wanderment has become a large part of my therapy. Along the way, I’ve discovered some amazing benefits. Not just obvious physical benefits, but a substantial increase in levels of emotional and spiritual energy too. Here are just a few:
Reduces anxiety. Reductions in anxiety are subtle, but noticeable. During difficult times, just getting outside and walking for a few blocks (aimlessly) improves my mood and it’s my go-to way to feel better.
Clears out the cobwebs in the brain. I’ve noticed a increased level of function in my brain. Walking aimlessly without a goal, mission, or purpose, allows my brain to think about other things. Things I’ve not had time or energy to think about before.
Creativity boost. Related to cleaning out the cobwebs in the ol’ brain, having some extra space in the brain leaves room for creative ideas to naturally sneak in. Through many walks, I’ve come up with ideas, solved long-standing problems, and lofty goals seem more attainable.
Getting closer to calm. Most days, it’s completely chaos in my head. With all that’s happening in the world and the internal pressures relationships, career, family, etc., it can be all overwhelming. Wanderment, allows me to take a break from all that noise and re-center myself. I can focus on what’s really important in life.
We can go a little further. Here are a few activities I like to do that have greatly benefited me and how I get the most out of wanderment. Take time to listen to nature. Find a nice place to take break. Stop and just listen to what’s happening around you. Listen the birds, the leaves, the waves, etc. Feel the earth. Sit on the ground, dig your feet into the sand, brush your hands on over the grass. Deep breaths. Smell the salty air, feel the wind in your face.
Getting lost in the world, as it seems, has set me on a path to finding myself. I haven’t arrived by any means, but I feel like I’m in the right direction.