Footprints

My time in Costa Rica is rapidly coming to an end.  I keep taking long trips and they keep ending!  When I stay at home, my day-to-day routines create an illusion that life is stable and saturated with a false sense of permanence.  I change my settings and activities to appreciate the vibrant nature of existence.  I prefer to come home with lessons and lifestyle changes as opposed to t-shirts and trinkets.

It surprises me how quickly the unknown becomes second nature.  When I return on May 31, howler monkeys will no longer be my alarm clock and there will be no need to check my sheets for the dreaded scorpions.  I will also have access to a car.

When adding my time in Costa Rica to India, it means I have been without wheels for three of the past seven months.  I walk to yoga class, walk to the grocery store, walk to restaurants, walk to the ashram, walk through sunshine, and walk through rain.  It seems as natural as a howler monkey waking me up in the morning.  Upon returning to Boise, I am quickly seduced by the comfort of a car.  My most ridiculous daily abuse is the half-mile drive to to the gym.

Prior to walking 500 miles on Camino de Santiago, I never viewed walking as a form of mediation or exercise.  It was too slow and too boring.  Experience has shattered these misconceptions!

To prepare for this blog, I spent a little time with Google to research average driving statistics.  I was hoping that most trips were within walking distance and I could convince the world to abandon cars.  Well, the average driving distance is 9.4 miles, so my first thesis was blown out of the water.  We drive an average of 29 miles per day and spend 46 minutes behind the wheel.  I was almost willing to accept defeat and then found a gem.  10% of our daily trips area one mile or less.  Given that we walk an average of 3.1 MPH, a mile only takes 20 minutes.

The physical benefits of walking include maintaining a healthy weight, preventing disease, improved circulation, and stronger muscles.  For your joints, motion is lotion.  From a mental perspective, walking reduces fatigue, stress, depression, and improves self-esteem.  When you take one healthy step, others follow.

When I return to Boise, I plan to reduce my carbon footprint and increase my actual footprints.  At one mile or less, I am committing to 20 beneficial minutes of walking.  I hope to see you on the path!