Today set out after breakfast out and watching some morning news. I did the northern part of Eugene along the Willamette River walk and then back to central Eugene along a different path. Very nice walking today and got to see a beautiful park and walking trail along the river, rose gardens, and lots of access to the city.
I enjoyed today’s walk even more than yesterday’s since I got to see a beautiful location by the river, local businesses and historic districts, city scapes. Walking this way really is the difference for me. As I sat at a park bench this afternoon dwelling on the times I’ve done this, came away with a few key things about this kind of tourism.
Thing 1. Its not impacting. No car or bus or even subway or train are used. The main impact is your feet on the sidewalk. The level of impact is so little and the pace so sustaining that one gets to see many things that otherwise are lost as the tourists scratch their heads at bus rides and transfers.
Thing 2. You can cover a great distance on foot believe it or not but you never see the thing on the next block which may be earth shattering, unreal, life changing. And that’s okay. Life is that way too. I remember walking in Tokyo thinking that the blocks to the left and down and then to the right could be completely different. In Kyoto with temples being the norm, missing one on the block over to the right but seeing three on the path I chose seemed to be okay. You don’t need to apply yourself for Thing 2. All you need to do is decide that the city stretches out to greet you with its sidewalks and people and streets. Some cities are better meant for this kind of tourism.
Thing 3. Its good for you. Lets face it when I do this, I often drink beer at night and eat way good. I feel that I have walked the distance, covered the paths, and I have deserved that third beer or hamburger or chili dog (like last night). Maybe some of the desire to do this is because I walk every day. But I never walk this far every day. There is a difference in goodness between the two. The walking every day is supposed to be at a generating pace which makes me feel good and may raise my heartbeat just a bit. The pedestrian tourism is good but it takes longer. I have to apply myself for the tourism and accept the fact that I will make mistakes. Google Maps on my Nexus 5 is my friend!
Thing final. This is my thing. You may hate it. Your feet will be sore, your legs tired, you may get blisters. I don’t get blisters but I do get sore after hours of walking. So what? Who cares. My form of tourism is not for every city; but when I visit a Singapore or a Tokyo or a Kyoto or a Singapore or a Sydney and now Eugene; I wonder what other places are meant to be seen on foot.
Today is the last full day here. I end the vacation tomorrow and will head back down to work, my house mates, my life there. Work awaits me. I’ll apply myself to it with clarity based on the miles I covered these last days. The things I got to see when my two feet lovingly caressed the streets and paths.
Eugene earns my Pedestrian Tourism of fame award! I may not be back here because there are so many other places which are deserving of the same inspection. I don’t need to leave to some far away shore. I am wondering if Seattle is the same way. I think in September, I will just have to find out.
By the way, Happy 4th of July too. The holidays have ceased to mean things to me besides days off from work. I think they were casualties of the divorce when I felt completely taken advantage of and used for those years. I’ll never feel for any day again except maybe Veteran’s Day.