Traveling by foot is to use your feet as means of transportation to get from one town to another on your way to a final destination. Walking ten kilometers to see a city is simply sightseeing, but walking with your backpack to get to new places is what I am talking about. It is amazing! It is a way of traveling which enables you to see more of a place, and more places. Plus many times you get to know yourself as well.
I have always loved hiking and trekking, but once I tried using my two feet to get me to new places every day during a whole month it changed my idea of what traveling means to me. All travel styles have their own charm, but traveling by foot can be magic and these are my 6 reasons why traveling by foot is awesome.
1. Reach places at your own pace
Walking is not only an exercise, but also a mean of transport without big travel expenses, maddening traffic or fixed schedules. When you travel by foot you basically just need a good pair of shoes, a light backpack and your two feet.
Sometimes when we think of walking we think of walking to the parking lot or walking to run a quick errand, or perhaps do some sightseeing. However, we can also get to know what there is in between towns when we slow down and experience the way.
2. Breathe fresh air and clear your mind
Unless you walk through an industrial district, walking between towns is generally walking through forested, mountainous or simply areas with better air quality than in the cities. For those of us who live in big cities this is already a great motivation to unplug our mind and breathe a fresher air.
Plus your entire life slows down and you begin to walk inwards and get a taste of your inner world. Walking long distances gives you space to know yourself, and if you walk with someone else you can have time to have deeper conversations or simply silly longer ones.
3. Discover interesting places
When you walk from one town to another you will stop by places that are not touristy, you may walk paths that local people or wildlife use. There are many cute and exciting places that are not next to highways or touristic routes, but they are absolutely charming. You may find river pools, farms, or tiny towns in the middle of nowhere with wonderful people.
Many times when you travel by foot you will pass by places that are not flooded with hotels and Airbnbs, but instead have the locals warmth and calm hard to find elsewhere.
4. Visit the middle of nowhere
I am sure you have been places where you think are in the middle of nowhere, but if you have not walked from one city to another you have probably not been there yet. Once you find yourself in a town or hamlet with no highway, no supermarkets nor hospitals, but surrounded by forests or beautiful deserts you will realize that you have arrived to The Middle of Nowhere.
Having the experience of being away from everything and at the same time surrounded by everything makes you question your own needs, teaches you to be flexible and enjoy the little things that you find on the way. Many times we create more needs than the ones we actually have, and walking to the middle of nowhere teaches us that.
5. Walking is good for your health
This might sounds a bit obvious, but it is worth mentioning it because it can be a great motivation for those who need to change their sedentary lifestyles. When walking you improve your blood circulation, lose weight, strengthen muscles, sleep better, and your heart’s health improves, among many other benefits.
Also when you travel by foot you have more energy despite your physical exhaustion, and you can relax about the food you eat because you are burning calories like crazy. Of course it depends on how many kilometers you are walking on a daily basis.
6. Reach tangible and exciting goals
When you set a specific or approximate walking goal for the day and you reach it, it feels good. It is also a great way to get to know your physical and mental limits and feel accomplished every day.
Either way it is important to remember that the goal is the way and no the action of reaching a specific place. The exciting and transforming experience are the obstacles, challenges, the people and the things that happen to us on every step of the way. That is not to say that it is pretty exciting and motivational when we look back and see all that we have traveled.
If you have already traveled by foot share some of yours reasons why you love or hate traveling by foot on the comments.