The Circolo delle Mamme Viaggiatrici, a group of Italian bloggers that I partner with, write mostly on subjects related to travel and children on their individual blogs. Once a month we take a particular theme and collectively write about it. Today, I am thrilled to share the second post for the traveling moms group with ‘walking’ as a theme.

                                                              Walking Works it Out

Taking example from my grandparents who lived to be in their 90’s, I know that walking is one of the simplest and healthful activities that a person of any age can do to keep their body, mind and spirit alive.  My grandmother and grandfather walked miles every single day of their lives. They both attributed their longevity to moderation in all things and breathing fresh country air on their brisk daily walks in the foothills of the Alps.

Americans don’t walk. It is no exaggeration to say this and you can look anywhere around you and see that there is not a soul on the streets. The exception are the health conscious or people from other countries that haven’t gotten spoiled by driving the car to any and every destination. Yet. Those are also the people I see walking with their  families on Sunday afternoons or after early dinner in the evenings around our lake. Otherwise, in America I think the only walkers are  in the big cities like New York and San Francisco where there are concentrated residential areas in downtown spaces.

In my life though I have found the pleasure in walking and the need to do so on a daily basis. Especially with  big changes going on in our lives like the impending trip to Italy for the summer, we all are particularly energetic.  The Queen, is relocating from the Lake house to be closer to family elsewhere which also brings up a lot of emotions in all of us. I find that we swing between feelings of upheaval and chaos, adventure and excitement and on occasion, nerve racking fear of the unknown. Of course, because we do what we must, we press on.. Emotions can run high. The psyche can play tricks.

To alleviate some of the nervous energy that builds up I take walks as often as I can. I try to go every
day in the morning or afternoon. If the Girl is home she comes with me on her skate board or her bike. Together, it makes the three miles around the lake road go by fast and more fun. Usually very few people are out which makes it almost like having our own private park.

 When I am by myself I tend to be contemplative and talk to myself, trying to work through problems or ideas. I get a great mental workout when I walk. I think it’s kind of a chain reaction that happens. Moving your body and getting the muscles working and at the same time absorbing stimulation from nature: bird calls, earth smells,  the blowing wind and so on.  The brain is working on a completely different pattern than if you are breathing artificial gym air, stuffy office or school ventilation. Creative ideas spring up when I walk. Solutions to daily problems present themselves and in the meantime I have become much more aware of my posture and breathing. Walking with the kids is an altogether different experience than walking alone.

 When my very loving but quiet son was a teen, he would on occasion consent to a walk around the lake with me. Sometimes by the end of the hour we would have cobbled together a bond of sorts sifted from conversation about random, seemingly insignificant things like the neighborhood or the weather. It was not obvious, but the act of walking, moving forward, most importantly the physical act of being around nature in the middle of the city was in itself a very moving experience. I like to think that those walks had some sort of effect on him.

In the end, with so much going on in everyone’s lives there has to be a time and place to just practice being free from the anchors of the machine, the computer, the car, oven, chair, television or any other thing that binds us to the daily routine of an immobile and stuffy life. I say this as a person who is absolutely not interested in any sort of sport, much less the competitive kind and so my meaning might not be obvious.  Here in America we are addicted to the sedentary life. Through my own experiences and together with my son and daughter, I feel that if we walked more people here would all be happier.

We are.

Because I learned the importance of being in Nature from my grandmother who made walking a basic tenant of her life, much like her religion, I don’t question it’s positive role in my mental and physical health. I know it. And knowing this allows me to set an example for my children, who although not as fond of walking as I am, will hopefully follow me eventually. As a matter of fact, the Girl will soon get to experience walking culture, as we are in Europe traveling and much of the time we will be walking. In Europe, where it is still normal, the simple act of walking is equal to the simple act of living. If you can, you should.

This is the second post that is dedicated to the “Traveling with Anima” page that I started last month. At the same time it is the second post written in conjunction with my Italian blogging partners Monica, Valentina, Silvia, Alessandra and Melissa – who writes in English and in Italian. Together we make up Il Circolo delle Mamme Viaggiatrici – or the Traveling Moms Club. Silvia, Monica, Alessandra and Valentina’s children are all under the age 7. Melissa and I have children that are a bit older. All of us have had the travel blood since birth, it seems and have continued to travel with our children. Each one of us has a particular worldview that we wish to share with whoever is interested in travel and kids. I suggest you visit the other women’s blogs to see what they say about the Art of Walking.