The Value Of Your Own Two Feet

photo by Imani Clovis

photo by Imani Clovis

By: Caroline Rubach

Do you thrive in cities or wide open spaces? Before college, I would have quickly chosen the latter with enthusiasm, but I’ve given city life some reconsidering since my freshman year at Pepperdine. Let me assure you, the sleepy beach town of Malibu has not been the key factor in my new outlook — but my year abroad in Buenos Aires most definitely has. Truth be told, I did not know I had signed myself up for a year in a major South American city until after the application was sent in. But my past dislike for concrete walkways and high rise shadows met my newfound appreciation for these city streets when I first started walking around my new neighborhood, Belgrano, where the green giants give shade and enough space to open up this mind of mine.

I previously thought that living in a city would be incredibly confining, but then I discovered the opportunity that this city has encouraged me to take on: walking. Contrary to what I previously thought, walking is not only doable in a big city like Buenos Aires, but it is necessary, and it is freeing. I have come to realize that my two feet are my main vehicle of transport around this concrete jungle, and I’ve been empowered by the reality of this. Want to know why I’ve come to love such a practical, underrated bodily function such as walking? Well, let me draw it out for you in six reasons:

1. When I get outside and walk – whether with destination in mind, or not – I come to understand my surroundings in a unique way that I wouldn’t have otherwise. It allows me to engage with the space around me through my six senses — although I have to admit, taste usually doesn’t come into play when I’m walking down the street.

2. Being outside is simply soothing for the soul, whether in a great, green space or on slim, city sidewalks. When I walk around Belgrano, the only ceiling above me is the great canopy of green leaves and open sky. To walk beneath the twisting branches allows me to occupy the space in a way I could not if I were in a car or a bus. 

3. Walking is a time to purely be silent and listen - both to the things around you and the things within you.

4. Walking is a form of meditation; it creates open space for your mind to wander. While your physical body is stimulated through walking, your mental space is free to explore your thoughts, filter through them, and focus on them.

5. Walking is a form a physical activity — underrated by exercise aficionados — and it is good for you! Going for a walk can increase endorphins, upping your mood. Whenever I cannot muster up the courage or the undertaking to go on a run, I simply go outside for a walk, and never regret the choice to do so. 

6. Ultimately, walking, as it takes longer than driving, gives you time to focus on the bigger picture. It clarifies for me what is important, what is big, what is little, and what is just in-between. It is a time to remind myself that everything will be okay.

With the stretch of trees lining the streets before me, and the buildings standing tall above me, I keep walking. I walk for reflection, for meditation, for prayer, for observation, for inspiration. I walk to know this world around me more personally, and to know myself more deeply. 

I encourage you - take time to walk, wherever it may be. When you do, look up, look around, and look within. You may find that you have come to appreciate the space you’re living in and, of course, the two feet you have to explore it.