I spent nearly a decade battling an eating disorder and an obsession with fitness and running.
Since recovering from that I’ve rediscovered the enjoyment of walking. Unlike running, where everything passes by in a blur, walking gives you the opportunity to observe your surroundings and appreciate what you see. It also means that if you see something interesting, you can stop, take a closer look and then carry on when you feel like it.
When I visit a city for the first time, I like nothing more than to change into a comfortable pair of walking shoes and heading out to explore. I prefer wandering the back streets and alleys of a city because you discover the ‘real’ city with its dirty, dingy and sometimes dangerous parts, that on the surface you may not see. It also allows you to see the people and meet the characters who make up the area and who are ultimately, the heart and soul of the city.
Your own neighborhood contains a treasure trove of interesting places if you just take the time and chance to get out-and-about. If you then combine it with people-watching and some photography you will begin to see the area in a completely different light. Even if you’ve lived in a place all your life, I guarantee that you will find something new because cities are constantly changing. In fact, just the other day a friend remarked that I’m a foreigner and relatively new to Hiroshima, yet I know more places than she does and she’s lived here all her life. You often find that if you live in a place for long enough you get complacent and stop seeing what is actually right in front of your eyes. It takes a stranger or a friend visiting you who is in need of a ‘tour guide,’ for you to have a renewed sense of exploration.
My challenge to myself is to continue to walk around and explore this amazing city and my home and to always view it with amazement and wonder.
Now put those walking shoes on and get out there! 🙂