A – Z challenge …. W is for …..

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W is for walk – which we do plenty of as we don’t own a car.
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When I left Australia in 2000 I’d been driving a big Ford “tank” for many years.  I bought my first car (a 2nd-hand Hillman Hunter) when I was 17 and there was never a time in the subsequent 26  years that I did not own a car.  Knowing I was coming to a car-less household I wondered how the hell I was going to manage.
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I hated it!   But our budget did not extend to affording a car so I learnt to walk and like it!   (I *will* like walking;  I *will* !  ).
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Being car-less redefined my parameters of “walkable”  and eventually anything under 3 miles was totally walkable and 5 miles was do-able if one had a bit of time (2.5 hrs).
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The other day I suggested to a young man that he get off the train at the Archives/Navy Memorial station and walk to his destination rather than changing trains during his trip.   He popped out his iPhone,  opened an app and said “oh, but that would mean an extra block walk”.    There was a time when I might’ve thought the same way.  🙂
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It’s not really the distance now that’s the limiter for me but rather the weather.   It’s just too swampy here in summer to do more than a mile without the help of a train or bus and in winter, ice limits me pretty quickly and snow slows me down – a lot!
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On the weekend we were walking when we (lots of w-words there!) came across this super friendly guy out on a stroll of his own.    We both wanted to take him home but that would’ve been wrong……  
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22 responses

  1. I think you should go back and get that cat. You need a cat, right? You could name him “W”. If you ever felt that he needed a shorter nickname for informal occasions, you could just call him “V” or “U”.

    • He was wonderfully soft and fluffy and no collar… He was so friendly I think he’d have willingly let us carry him away but it would be just our luck to steal a micro-chipped cat and have the micro-chip police knock on our door.

  2. What a lovely cat!! I enjoy your alphabet blogs! A family I know offered two french teenage girls a place to stay while they visited the US. One day, they were at my house, and my son went out to talk to one that was sitting alone, outside. This is what he learned: in France, they walk everywhere. They think it is ridiculous that we have to drive 30 minutes to go places. They do not like the food here. In France, they buy fresh food, not cans and boxes of food. I know that my friends were kind of glad when the girls went back because they were so forthright that they were rude sometimes, and when my friends or their kids did something the girls frowned upon, they would pinch each other. LOL.

  3. You see a lot more when you walk, and miss so much when you drive. There’s this freeway overpass I drive under from time to time: one day, I decided to park the car and walk the last half mile to my destination, which took me under the overpass. To my surprise, I saw this beautiful mural painted on the interior of the archway. Some artist had to suspend him/herself Michelangelo-style in order to paint it, and it wasn’t just a day-long job either. But I was shocked—all this time I never dreamed that painting was there, and I’m sure most drivers don’t either.

    I think the reason why so many Americans are overweight is because we so seldom walk anywhere. In Japan and most other countries, a car is a luxury; most people take public transportation and walk or bicycle the rest of the way. Here we drive, drive, drive, and rarely do our feet touch the ground. The exceptions are the big cities like New York, where owning a car is actually a major inconvenience and expense. But the result is that there are actually grocery stores and other shops one can walk to from one’s home. I’m all for that—I hope more cities become walker-friendly!

  4. I’ve always liked walking but like you, I find the weather here sometimes limits how much I can walk.

    I’ve found that because the Metro is underground downtown I don’t always realise how close things are, so in the past I’ve changed trains unnecessarily rather than getting off and walking the last few blocks to my destination. Now that I’m more familiar with how the Metro relates to the above-ground streets I’m doing that more.

  5. I walked 4 miles a day in France. It could’ve been shorter but on certain days, I walked farther to catch an earlier bus. Sounds weird but I’d walk 1.5 miles (which took time) and I still got there earlier.

    Anyway…I’m with you. Let’s walk (except now that my lupus keeps getting worse, my feet are sometimes 2.5 US sizes larger — and that’s quite painful as the swelling isn’t “water” but JOINTS)!

  6. I feel like a life failure whenever I pull the standard California move of driving my car to the other side of a large outdoor mall. It’s more about convenience for putting bags away, and some of those strip malls are gigantic, but it’s still super lazy.

  7. I walk everywhere up here on campus. Up until this semester, I did not have a car at all. I spent a lot of time going to the bottom of the hill and back to only grab a few things. It was a lot of exercise, but it was nice during the summer. But during the late fall and winter, it’s misery. I would rather have a car any day. In my small hometown, there is no way you’re going to get anywhere walking. I lived outside of town, and it would have taken hours for me to walk anywhere worth it. (Plus no public transportation–it’s practically a requirement to have a car.)

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