Going walking is a solemn duty for me and an exercise in freedom. I’ve walked in cities that seem to be made for it and I’ve found a sense of myself on the trails and sidewalks in places as diverse as Sydney, Singapore, Kyoto, Eugene, Tokyo. When in Eugene, I covered almost 10 miles one day and ended up exhausted at a Starbucks drinking a Vente iced coffee and feeling the pleasant agony of a day spent covering Eugene in so many different directions.
In Kyoto, I’d depart from the hotel right downtown and plot a new direction each day. One day I ended at the Aeon Mall and foodcourt and ate this huge plate of noodles and watched the school children, parents, and walkers taking in the early Christmas signage. I walked the mall and saw a Toys R US and other places and up-trend shoppers with their great designs and options. Saw the younger crowd taking in the other younger crowd while a third younger crowd took them in.
I often would walk from the Hotel New Woodlands in Chennai down to the Chennai Citi Centre and walk the mall on a weekend and end up on the fifth floor or so at the KFC watching the young men that were watching the young women watch them. I sat silently nursing a lemonade.
In Tokyo I would walk all the day and end up half-way at a McDonalds for a burger and fries and coke. It was cheap and I conserved cash. In the evenings, I hopped the Tokyo Met Subway to the Ginza Station and would splurge on the beers and stew at the Lion Beerhall.
Walking has been this cosmic way for me to think, place, deal with life’s things. I’ve walked through divorce, sadness, happiness, escape. I’ve felt the wind caress my face on the bridge in Sydney and the rain touch me in its gentle embrace on a Tokyo road. Cabs careened by me but my feet knew the way or did not. And it was okay.
At home, I’ll walk. Sometimes on the clock to see how far and where I go but when traveling I go to get lost to a point where a map is of no use and I need to find that place from the place I’m at.
Now I prepare for another day of touching the sunshine here in Fremont. I’ll hear the voices and cars and buses. People walk here as well and often we walk by each other either openly studying or averting our eyes. Are eyes the windows of the soul? Can that other person see my defeats and victories? My trials and tribulations from that chance street encounter?
So I’ll walk. I’ll also blog because there is something about it as well which satisfies, makes me mad, makes me want more or less. The platform has ceased for me and what’s important are the words and the feel and the fact maybe one other person will someday read this and nod her head and say,
“you are full of shit. you have no idea what the hell you are talking about. stop it right now”
That’s okay. That’s why I blog.
But when I walk there is no other to read my meanderings. I’m solitary with the music pounding in the bluetooth from my Android phone. The phone may ring but its banished to voicemail purgatory. I don’t answer the phone when I walk. Its a bad habit to get into. A room mate asked me why. Where am I intending on going? There is no place I am going. Walking is not about a destination. Its about what it takes, what I think, what I see. I don’t want to get to a place. I want to see the places that translate to the miles or the places.
Sydney, Chennai, Tokyo, Kyoto, Eugene, Singapore. All the places I have explored at some level and become satisfied with yet will always want more.
So, I’ll walk. Will you?