We were born to walk.
As human beings we are meant to move on our two posterior paws and to use the feet as our main means of locomotion.
So it was for our ancestors who were used to walk and walk (and walk) every day, all day long, when we still were gatherers and hunters – sure, back then it was a matter of survival, but still the nomadic one was a lifestyle that suited well our own nature.
Then agriculture came and life started becoming more and more stable: the first villages were born, daily walking hours decreased, yet feet remained the main means of transport for the human species for a long long time – the wealthy along with those who still moved a lot and travelled far could count on chariots, carts and animals, but these means weren’t available to all people.
Years, centuries and even millennia went by bringing innovations and changes in lifestyles, yet means of transport stayed almost the same throughout this long period of time: most humans kept moving by feet, often walking kilometres a day.
The birth of engine and car has changed it all: first the wealthiest ones, then more and more people from every social class have had access to this instrument which brought a real revolution – as it always happens with every tool, one can use it consciously or abuse it until they are no longer the user and become the used one.
Car, train, ship, plane: they have accelerated travelling times and have made them more fitting in a society that is faster and faster; they have also made our life easier and more comfortable – at the point though that we have become so lazy and sluggish that we don’t even want to walk 200 ms and we often can’t do that without being out of breath.
From nomads to lazy, unhealthy, obese beings – one of the many side effects of progress.
Back in May I had an abdominal surgery and I lived the unpleasant (to say the least) but luckily temporary experience of not even being able to do the basic daily movements that we take for granted without feeling an intense pain – I am talking of movements such as getting up from bed or walking.
As it usually happens when we are forced into doing or not doing something, I began feeling this irrepressible longing for walking, for walking a lot, for using again my feet as a means of transport for distances longer than the 1-2 kms I usually walk every day in town.
I gave myself time to heal, to recover, to take care of myself; then I tried this walking thing again: at first it was just a few metres (that left me exhausted), then I got to walk longer and longer until one day I took 5000 steps – then I needed a few days of rest but it still was a joyful experience.
I then started planning my venture: walking about 7 kms uphill from Cetona to Sarteano (both towns in the Italian province of Siena) – I can now say that it wasn’t much of a challenge, but it surely wasn’t something most people do regularly, above all a month after having surgery.
I fixed the date on my diary, but I didn’t go through with the first try. I let family and friends’ doubts persuade me that I wasn’t ready as I had just recovered.
After a short while though the right mix of factors (a much needed digital detox, the need to release tension and thoughts, learning about Darinka Montico thanks to Mangia Vivi Viaggia) gave me the motivation and the strength to really try: I stopped listening to my loved ones’ worries and started walking.
A little trip made of 9000 steps, among asphalt and nature, in the still-fresh air of a Summer morning,
re-discovering this body’s potential, a body which is strong, which knows how to thrive again after every hardship (many she has already encountered in almost 27 years), even when I don’t trust her, even when I don’t believe,
facing myself, facing my fears, wounds, shadows, and remembering that the only way to overcome discomfort (the one you feel when what you have repressed starts coming to surface, to awareness) is through and that we (each and every one of us) have all we need to do so, because our potential goes way beyond what we can imagine,
finding again the Connection with Nature and remembering that She is always present to support us and that, if we let Her, She is ready to nourish us and to give us the energy and the strength we need for every experience and every adventure,
and, above all, remembering Natural Rhythms and the well-Being and Beauty derived from the Re-Connection with the Rhythms and Cycles that belong to us and to all that, with us, is Nature – the Earth one, the Sky one.
I arrived at my destination with a heart full of joy and with the desire of walking more and more and more.
Yes, I was tired but I had also fallen in love with slow travelling, the kind of travelling that reconnects us with a truer dimension of life, the one that allows to enjoy everything that is around us, everything that is, and that reminds us the deep meaning of our existence – in touch with ourselves and Nature.
The travelling at Human’s pace.
Much of what I experienced is hardly translateable into this limited verbal human language.
I trust that these images will easily talk straight to your Heart:
With Love and in Love,