When choosing a place to live in a new country, we always made “walkability” a priority. In all our expat home-from-homes I was able to do most of my day-to-day activities and shopping on foot. It was a huge advantage and it’s now something I recommend to any newly-arrived transferee as I help them transition to life in Toronto. It helped me to:
- Keep fit
- Stay safe in cities with some pretty wild driving!
- Reduce stress
- Save money
- Instantly feel independent
- Get my bearings quickly and easily
- Meet neighbours and local business owners
- Feel “at home” much more quickly
The first list may be the most obvious, but it was the second list that had the most impact on me. There’s something about seeing a new place as a pedestrian (rather than insulated inside a car) that makes you feel more connected, less intimidated and generally empowered. Now when I arrive in a new place, even as a tourist, the first thing I want to do is get out and pound the pavement.
I recently realized that since repatriating I’m not walking as much as I used to, even though I still live in a very walkable neighbourhood here in Toronto. It’s not just because I have my own car but also because I now do a weekly grocery shop at the local mall and no longer need to step out every day to buy something for dinner.
The weather has suddenly turned from humid to crisp and sunny, vacations are over and everyone is back at work, so September seems a great time to be making a new resolution. Mine is to walk to work.
As I work from home the idea of walking to work may sound a little strange, but I figure the easiest way to incorporate a daily walk into my routine is to walk around the block every day before I get down to business. I’m also hoping it will serve as a valuable transition and stop me from spending half the morning doing household chores before I sit down to work. (Hmmm, it remains to be seen how effective THAT will be!)