Aesthetics Travel

Day 743 and Wandering

I took some time to go wandering today. I’ve been in Prague for six days but it’s been such a mess I haven’t actually felt like I’ve been in the city.

I like to get to know cities by walking. If I’ve only been in a cab or an Uber I don’t have a sense of place. I need to walk to feel like I’ve landed in a place. While I love a good resort destination now and again, I find it hard to feel grounded without being able to roam.

I wonder if being raised in a small town affected this at all. I wasn’t really a suburban kid. We had suburbs in my town but you still went to a downtown core where kids would walk from the library to the high school to the pedestrian mall. Walking was entertainment for my teenage years.

Now as an adult I find nothing more liberating than just walking for as long as you can. Being wedded to a destination or a GPS mapped route feels too much like having to do something or be somewhere. But wandering around with no place to be tastes like freedom. You are still in charge of your own life if you can go for a long walk with no purpose.


Day 593 and Walking The Lines

We’ve been in our Montana homestead for two weeks. I wanted to say “only” but I do feel as if I’m starting to feel at home. The boxes are dwindling and we’ve cleaned up most of the major debris and boxes inside. We are still waiting on the various bits of furniture we ordered new for the home but most of what we already owned is accessible.

This has opened up some mental space for me to get a lay of the land. Literally. The heatwave that greeted our arrival improved, meaning as long as I am outside before 10am it is pleasant enough for long walks.

I’ve been taking different routes around our rural neighborhood. Where we live outside Bozeman has lots of gravel roads, big plots of land, and interspersed pieces of county and state property in between.

I’ve been making an attempt to walk as many routes as possible circling our land. Part of the exercise is because it is nice to go for long walks but I’m equally interested in feeling like I know the lay of the land and am prepared to navigate our back roads.

I’ve done concentric rings changing my direction as I see fit. I’ve opened them up and tightened them down. I’ve left due east to exit the property and then gone in every direction.

Seeing our land from the east, south, west and north shows completely different things. The closer I am the more I recognize new facets. But I’m learning to spot the lines of our land even as I am further out. The frisson of excitement I get from spotting our house from afar never gets old.

Walking as many types of property lines as I can has sparked my imagination. I spotted where our hedges could use some additional density. I spotted a window upstairs we’d been neglecting to close as it’s for a room that’s still empty. I’ve spotted where the deer seem to prefer coming in (the fawns can’t jump our fences) and where I might prefer to go out if our front drive is blocked.

The exploration has been grounding. I have a firmer sense of place. My body is beginning to recognize where I am. And it’s an absolutely lovely way to get in some thinking. I highly recommend walking the lines of your property and your neighbors. You never know what you might find.


Day 433 and Walking

Walking is the only way to learn a city. I’ve never been able to pick up a feel for a city any other way. Being driven or driving in a car just doesn’t help me get a sense of place. It’s only after several days of pounding the pavement that I finally feel as if I can navigate without the help of a map or a GPS.

I’ve been doing my best to traverse the key neighbors in Frankfurt on foot over the last few days. I’ll set out for a basic destination like the grocery store or pharmacy on foot without my phone. Then I’ll choose something further afield like a restaurant or shopping center. Today I went for the ultimate test. I set off for the city center to visit a museum. Specifically Goethe House.

Goethe House Plaque

I barely needed to check my map at all. I made it to the philosopher’s house without any issues. I enjoyed an hour or two of history and then I set off on my journey back. I remembered a restaurant I wanted to visit on the way back. I realized I was near a store I’d been meaning to visit so I veered off track to check in. I found myself in a new district entirely. I spent some time visiting a mall. And then I set back for my Airbnb.

My the end my lifeline, aka my phone, had run out of battery. But I still knew exactly where I was. I was picking up my place in space. I was centered. And also extremely tired as I walked 13,000 steps steps in the space of three hours.