I’m going to walk my commute

The road less travelled © Clare O'Dea
The road less travelled © Clare O’Dea

It’s almost exactly 40 kilometres, or 25 miles if you prefer, and I’ve decided I’m going to walk it. I should say I’m not much of a walker. And yet I love it every time I go walking.

Yesterday evening I took a walk to the next village. It took just under an hour. Not a big deal, except it was the first time I had covered that short distance on foot. I probably do that five-minute drive to the local shopping centre three times a week, always in a rush. Never did I expect to become so car dependent.

This time I took the lanes that you don’t see from the road, the natural pathways from farm to farm, through woodland and meadows, fields of rapeseed in bloom. In was delightful, in the true sense of the word. That perfect fifty-minute stroll along country lanes with the sun going down over my right shoulder gave me an idea. Or it reawakened an old idea.

I’m going to walk my commute. It’s not my commute any more but it was for the best part of ten years until two months ago. I worked at the international news service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. The office is in Ostring, on the far side of Bern from Fribourg, where I live. Because it takes twice as long to get there by public transport, I drove to work, most of the way along the highway at 120km per hour. I got to know that route so well but I don’t know the country at all.

A lot of my life is governed by routine. That’s a good thing with children but it’s important too to have days out of the ordinary. My first proper self-employed project is starting next month. Meanwhile I’m getting tantalizing crumbs of hope for my first novel from submissions to agents, but I’d rather not sit around waiting for emails.

A walk like this will be good for body and mind; this specific walk even more so. I’d like to be able to say I walked it once, that I really know the way. Technically you could do it in a day but I think I’ll give myself two days. There’s no time like the present so let’s say I have until the end of this month to start and finish the challenge. I’m using the word challenge loosely here because it’s a beautiful time of year and, although the view has been a bit of a blur until now, a beautiful route too.

This blog has a small following, mostly self-employed people or writers who probably don’t have a commute. But I’m still hoping one of you might have a yearning to do something similar and join me in spirit. Any takers? If you do embark on a special walk, why not send me a photo at the address on the Contact page and I’ll include a mention in my next blog post.

Let me know if you have done something similar, or would consider it, or just like the idea. I’m off to buy hiking boots!

12 thoughts on “I’m going to walk my commute

  1. I love this! Seeing as we’re in flux in the moment, I can’t really see a walk across the Atlantic and my current “commutes” are fairly short. (And you would be very familiar with the sights.) I’ll see what I can come up with once we’re resettled — this is a fantastic endeavor!

    1. Thanks Amy ☺. I’m sure you’ll come up with something good. If you haven’t done the Bray to Greystones cliff walk yet you could put that on your list before you go!

  2. Great idea, Clare! As you know, I don’t have a commute at all so I, too, have taken up nordic walking. With a pair of sticks and a group of women from all walks of life – a nurse, a translator, an mta, an insurance saleswoman, a veterinary assistant, a teacher and myself! We meet alternately at two spots at 7:45 every weekday and walk for 60-90 minutes. Just some of the benefits: lower bmi and cholesterol, weight loss, better tone, fresh air and heaps of money saved on therapy! Not to mention a clear head and a great start to the day. Good luck and enjoy!

    1. Every weekday! I’m impressed. Puts my 15 minutes walking the dog in the shade. Sounds like you have found a great group. I agree about the clear head and great start to the day. I’m a different person when I’ve had that early morning walk, especially when I make the effort to do a longer loop.

  3. I will be with you in spirit. For about six years I walked three miles every night–fast. It blew my knees out and now I’m not much good beyond a 1/2 mile…but go slow and take a notebook with you and write down observations and maybe even draw the animal life you run into (ants?) like Darwin did. That’ll give you stuff to tell us about on your blog. Okay, step lively now!

    1. Thanks Marc! I’ll definitely bring a notebook and try not to wreck my knees. Trying to decide between the possible routes now. One is flat and goes through a lot of forest and another seems more direct but has a lot of hills. There’s another slightly roundabout way that partly follows the Swiss part of the old Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route. Choices, choices. Whichever way I go I will definitely report back on the blog, with or without ant drawings!

  4. What a lovely idea. I used to do a lot of walking in Ireland and you certainly get a very different perspective out of the driving seat. I think you can guess why I couldn’t consider walking more than a km here, but I wish you well. Just make sure you break in those hiking boots before setting g off. 🙂

    1. Too late for the hiking boots Safia! I only bought them a couple of days before I left and I paid the price. But overall a great experience. What if you borrowed a camel off someone? 😉

      1. I’m wary of MERS! Now that’s an excuse and a half. BTW – have you read ‘A God In Ruins’ by Kate Atkinson yet? I loved it.

  5. No I haven’t read it, will check it out. I’m in between decent books at the moment. Started the short stories of Flannery O’Connor, quite heavy going and the racism of that time and place is unbearable.

  6. Great idea dear Clare!!!!I think “walking” is for so many people so important,the best therapy i’m sure!
    I will walk alone during a week on the “Stevenson-road ” this summer(Cevennen,France).
    Very excited about it.

    1. Thanks for stopping by Lena! I just looked up the trail you are talking about because I hadn’t heard of it. It sounds wonderful, still very unspoilt countryside althought Robert Louis Stevenson completed the walk way back in 1878! Link here for anyone who’s interested. I could well imagine doing it myself someday. Must read his book about the trip first: Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes
      http://www.walkopedia.net/walks/display-walk.asp?WalkID=530

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