Have you ever considered long-distance walking as a way to travel?

In September I took part in the Blogging 201 course. It was definitely worth it and helped me think hard about my blog and what I want to achieve with it, but the best thing by far in the course was the interaction with fellow bloggers. It made me discover blogs that I would have otherwise not found. One such blog is Fly Ride Wander run by Amelia. During the course we got chatting and I ended up writing a guest post for her blog. You can find it here, or read it below.

Nowadays, we can hop on a plane and fly to the other side of the globe in a matter of hours. Once at our destination, we can whizz from spot to spot in a car, coach, or train. The landscape always a blur, we don’t realise how big the world actually is and all that we are missing in the in-between. So why not slow down and walk?

Placing a foot in front of the other to get anywhere is slow work. If you decide to use your own body to travel you have to be prepared to only see a very small portion of a country. The last long-distance hike I did took me through 100km of France and it lasted a whole week. So why walk?

  • You get to see so much of a country. You have no choice but to be there and engage with your surroundings. You come to realise how varied a landscape can be in just a few kilometres and have the time to see the natural world live and evolve around you.
  • You become non-threatening to locals. People stop seeing you as a wealthy tourist that should buy their trinkets. They get curious and are more likely to smile and welcome you. Whether or not you share a common language, you engage with the culture of a place on a deeper level.
  • You can access places you wouldn’t reach with a motorised vehicle. You can take a detour up a hill, follow a river, walk through a hedge, etc… Anything becomes possible.
  • You can eat whatever you want without feeling guilty. Walking all day long burns an enormous amount of calories, so you can (and should) indulge in all the best the local cuisine has to offer.
  • You slow down. Your worries vanish away, your thoughts run wild and explore every corner of any question, your mind empties and you simply exist, happy in our wonderful world.
  • If you decide to camp along the way, you become self-sufficient, living from your own wits, carrying your home on your back. You return to a state of being we were originally built for and reconnect to the natural world as you can’t on a day hike.
  • If you decide to camp along the way, you become self-sufficient, living from your own wits, carrying your home on your back. You return to a state of being we were originally built for and reconnect to the natural world as you can’t on a day hike.

So for your next journey, why not keep it small and choose to walk?

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Get good shoes. This is one area where you’ll be thankful you’ve paid for quality.
  • Take plenty of snacks. They are great to keep you going as fuel and motivation.
  • Don’t forget to drink plenty of water.
  • Keep your load small and light. It helps if you’re staying at hostels along the way. If you decide to camp, try ditching the tent. You’ll be glad for the weight off your back.
  • Go with a friend, it’ll make time go by quicker. But be sure you really get along with said friend. Being with someone for so many hours with nowhere to escape can be a recipe for disaster.

You will inevitably get bored. It will inevitably hurt. But your achievements, the views you will stumble upon, and the people you’ll meet along the way will make you forget all the negative points. And your memories will be engraved in both your body and mind for years to come.

If you would like me to write a guest post for your blog, leave a comment here or get in touch via my contact page.
I’ll happily write about walking, cycle touring, or wild camping.

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8 thoughts on “Have you ever considered long-distance walking as a way to travel?

  1. I love this. It’s been ages since I’ve traveled by foot. I’m looking forward to backpacking into some spots for winter camping before it gets too bitter cold. You’ve also inspired me to walk the nearby Great River Trail come spring; you’re helping me to keep the adventures coming, my friend!

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    • Thank you 🙂
      This is great to know I’m helping you keep your adventures coming =D The best compliment I could get!

      I can’t wait to read about your backpacking experiences, especially the winter one. This is something I want to try as well. I’ve never really done backpacking in winter before.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You’re more than welcome! And thank you as well. It’s nice to be getting to know people who are encouraging of the little adventures I find myself in. My hope is to take a weekend trip in December, a couple weeks before the holidays. So hopefully there will be a post on that in January. Then I’d like to take a little bit of a longer trip later in the winter, but I’ll see just how cold it gets before I lock myself into that one. The Great River Trail will wait until spring though; it’s about sixty miles along the Mississippi River, with some town and city trekking along the way.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve seen a lot of people in Atlanta doing that now. You see them on the highway with their backpacks when you’re driving by. I’ve considered trying that too, but then I think of the unique complications of being a woman that come with that. Being a lone traveler already makes you a target, sometimes. Sleeping outdoors, walking, open to the elements. How much worse is that when you’re a woman? I get harassed enough just waiting at the train station…

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    • On a highway is a strange place to walk. This definitely wouldn’t be my choice of walk – although roads are always inevitable at one stage or another.

      I have to admit, I’ve been lucky never to be harassed when on walks. I’ve done plenty of travelling and wild camping on my own and it’s always been fine. Whenever I’m out walking, it seems people are really friendly. I’ve actually found people to often be more protective because I’m a woman alone. Although I understand it might be different where you are.

      I’d still encourage you to try it though. If you don’t feel safe, get further out, a little away from the beaten track and then you’re more likely to find yourself on your own and far from harassement 🙂

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      • I suppose they took the highway because it’s the shortest route. There’s not much of a way to avoid them in the city.

        You certainly have been lucky to not be harassed at all. I truly wish I could say the same. Even in small-town areas (I mean population 9000) men stared at me a lot, especially old men who should go home to their wives and empty beds. It was creepy. I think my figure unfairly attracts a certain kind of attention from men no matter what I wear. Keep in mind that I’m a t-shirt, tank tops, stretchy pants and jeans girl. My boyfriend has a heart attack every time I put on a dress, and complains that I dress like a boy.

        I will find a male companion/bodyguard to test it out with. It’s definitely one of those things I want to experience. Maybe I should drag him along with me.

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      • It’s a shame if it was their only reasons. Walking really shouldn’t be about the shortest route. If people want to go fast, walking is a the last option to choose.

        It does seem I have been lucky. Maybe it’s also a difference in country. It really is sad and a shame that you have to put up with harassement like that. I hope you also have areas where it’s not as common and you can walk more freely.

        Definitely drag your boyfriend along 🙂 It’ll be a great memories to have with him. I walked 100km last summer with a friend and it has strenghten our relationship.

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  3. My wife has had her share of gawkers from time to time, especially since she’s prone to wearing really colorfully loud yoga pants that seem to draw attention. She handles it pretty well, and she’s also had the experience of people being very helpful and courteous to her, so I suppose it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I’m on the other side of that coin; I seldom have to worry about creepy people staring, but I have noticed that I sometimes struggle to get assistance more than she does; perhaps because I could be perceived as more of a threat? Overall our experiences with people while hiking, camping, and otherwise exploring have been pretty positive though.

    I have, though not recently, traveled and explored with women who had problems with people, or who felt scared and uncomfortable. It’s hard to see a friend feel that way, and so I was always glad to go with them and provide a little bit of a buffer. I love to go out alone as well as with others, and I think both are valuable experiences, but there certainly are different caveats for women than there are for men, sadly. I do think this is changing somewhat now that more and more women are outdoors and no longer do we think that that men go camping and hiking while the ladies wait back home. I hope that your good experiences will outweigh the bad.

    I’m going to echo Allysse and encourage you to bring the boyfriend along as well! Traveling, hiking, and camping together has really helped my wife and I work better as a team, and created some really fun (and funny) memories.

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