Why are you so obsessed with walking?

I’ve always been an adventurer and I’m happiest when high up in the mountains, away from the din of high-pressured society. I actually come by this honestly; my family’s roots trace back to Arctic explorer Ernest Shackleton! But walking, in and of itself, changed my life. The 800-km-long Camino de Santiago pilgrimage was the longest, most physically demanding challenge I’ve ever undertaken. (Also, the most emotionally and spiritually uplifting one.) When I returned in June of 2019, I began the process of transitioning out of my career, but soon found myself sucked back into what I call ‘the vortex of responsibility.’ It wasn’t until Canada went into lockdown mid-March that I really found my stride (pun intended). With COVID-19 spreading and a nationwide order to hunker down, I felt panicked. But I soon discovered that while I couldn’t control the pandemic, I could control my reaction to it. So I started walking. I mean, why not? The gyms were closed and the walls were closing in on me! I’d walk in my neighbourhood, down country roads, on trails. I’d walk to my parents’ house some 25 kms away. I became obsessed. And as a result, I fell in love with the simple joy of putting one foot in front of another. I’ve logged almost 1,500 km since the end of March. I feel fit. Mentally clear. Creative. In touch with myself, nature, and my spirituality. Walking is the medicine I never realized I needed.

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