The Sorta Kinda Life Changing Bliss of Walking Solo. By Craig Mod @firstname.lastname@example.org
Folks seem scared of solitude but solitude is a superpower when used well. Alone, in your basement, it breeds anomie, but out in the world, moving through the world, step after step, clear goal in mind, I’d argue that a solo walk during which you are engaged — paying attention, with your phone turned off, no headphones, no podcasts, no escape routes — is the quickest way to elevate a human. Basement solitude — isolated without serendipity, static, stagnant, stuck with your face in a screen, manipulated by the algorithms — is the death of the soul. The solo walk outdoors, in the air, beneath the sun, the rain, the snow, bumping into drunken horse betters, kind gardeners, farmers covered in blood, women beating mattresses at dusk, tractor trailer drivers leaning against their cabs for a smoke, is the opposite, the antipode, the physical palinode to basement solitude and the death of the mind and body.
I walk the dog more than three miles nearly every day, and that counts as walking alone. But I’m almost always listening to podcasts.
I sorta kinda remember who the author, Craig Mod, is—I think he’s a travel writer, currently living in Japan, and from this essay I gather his daily walks are part of his work. He seems to photograph and video the things and people he sees, and interviews the people, publishes the results on the web, some by subscription only, and sells it in books. Very different from my life (though it sounds appealing). He walks 12-45 km per day (that’s about 7.5-30 miles), carrying 12 kilos of photo and video equipment (26 pounds.
The walk, he says, is his work platform, the way the computer and Internet are mine.