“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move, my thoughts begin to flow.” – Henry David Thoreau
As some of you know, I broke my foot back in May. While it was a frustrating inconvenience during packing and a move, over time, I found the greatest loss for me was not being able to go on my daily walks. Yes, it’s exercise and working towards a 10,000-step goal. Yes, it’s taking Sebastian out, enjoying the sunshine, and getting some fresh air. But, it has become an important part of my creative process over the years. And I didn’t realize how much I missed it until I was able to start going out on long walks again.
I’m slow (we’re talking a sad 25-minute-mile), but I am walking again and it feels amazing. I use my time walking mostly to listen to audiobooks and podcasts about creativity, creative work, entrepreneurship, business management, and productivity. There is something about listening while I’m moving that helps me to ingest the information more thoroughly. I’ll often stop and make voice memos of thoughts or send texts to myself of things to write about, to do, or to think about further. I’ll also make note of quotes I want to add to my collection in my notebook. I’ll sometimes even collect little interesting bits that catch my eye – sticks, rocks, leaves, acorns, seed pods.
While a walk seems like a prelude to work, it’s actually a part of my work and I have had some of my best ideas over the years while out on walks.
It’s not a surprise, though. There are anecdotal stories throughout books on creative work about the benefits of walking and prolific creatives who were known for that daily practice. Charles Dickens is said to have walked an average of 12 miles a day around the streets of London to gain inspiration for his characters and stories. Einstein, Beethoven, and Virginia Woolf are others known for including walking as a part of their creative work. We walkers are in good company!
One of the reasons we bought our house was for the neighborhood. It is an older neighborhood with mature trees and houses that are all unique from one another. It’s well-situated in the area, but it’s also a great neighborhood for walking, with lots of loops and route options. I started with a 1/4 mile loop and have worked up to almost two miles when my foot is feeling good.
And, as an added benefit, I get to admire the lovely homes. These are a couple of my favorites…
The architecture and details of this house, which looks like it was plucked from Williamsburg, are just so lovely. I always catch myself staring as I walk by.
And I also love this home that looks like a 200-year-old New England four-square…
There are so many other beautiful homes from mid-century homes embracing modern roof lines and picture windows to traditional colonials with dentil molding. As someone who loves house-peeping, it’s always stimulating. I see new things I want to paint, to draw, to take pictures of, and to write about.
So, if you ever find yourself thinking, “I’ll have what she’s having.”
Try going for a walk.