This fall, the stars aligned and my partner and I were able to go to Ireland. It was as perfect as it was possible for a trip to be; we saw ruins, our bus got stuck in a sheep traffic jam, we stood in Trinity Library, we had Guinness, we traipsed around a forest that we randomly stumbled across, we drove on terrifyingly windy, narrow back roads, and I got to ride a horse. In preparation for this trip of a lifetime, I started going on long walks. I wanted to be able to do all the ruin-viewing and forest-traipsing with as little painful aftermath as possible. (The horse riding I could not adequately prepare for, and let me tell you, I didn’t walk properly for over a week afterwards).
The trip was in November, and it’s now January, but I’ve maintained my habit of going for a long walk on Sunday afternoons. It’s been a really wonderful part of my week that I look forward to. I live in a great neighbourhood that has multitudinous walking trails (I could also cross country ski, if I wasn’t terrified of another week of screaming legs). I put a podcast in my ears and layer up, and walk for an hour, or twenty minutes if that’s all I’m up for, and I keep my eyes out for deer, hawks, rabbits, and children learning to skate. I often pass people I know. I pass the houses of friends, and think of them fondly. It’s a bit of a mental reset, especially when I can go for an hour and my brain is set loose from the to-do list.
Walking is such a lovely thing to do on my weekends. It has a low energy requirement for me, and I’m usually able to rely on my partner to allow me the time. Spending time using my body in the fresh air is the number one way to get ideas, work through writer’s block, and plan out my stories, and it also invariably improves my mood and overall mental health. I know, this isn’t exactly earth-shattering: walking is good for you! But I think it’s worth saying again: a big part of my writing process is my Sunday afternoons spent rambling. Highly recommend.