Grab a Friend, Walk Somewhere!

Last week I invited a friend of mine over for dinner. As usual, preparations took longer than planned, and he arrived before I had a chance to pick up some fresh bread from the store. “Hey,” I said, “let’s go to the grocery store.” He was a little surprised when I didn’t head for the car and instead turned toward the sidewalk. I explained that I always walk to Pavillions instead of driving. In fact, that is one of my favorite things about where I live–when I need something, I can just grab my shopping bag and walk the few short blocks to the corner of Lake & California. Takes me 5 minutes.

Even along California Blvd, the night air was filled with a wonderful perfume. I’m not sure what plant was blooming, but it smelled wonderful, and he remarked what a nice neighborhood this is–he had only experienced that aroma a few times before, in a ritzy Westside neighborhood. The scent was heavenly.

On our way out of the store, we stopped on a whim and took a look at a few homes that were for sale on the way–an impromptu stop.

It was a very pleasant walk, and maybe only a few minutes longer than the time it would have take us to get in the car, drive through several intersections, park in the shopping lot, and then repeat the process on the return trip, with the addition of trying to hunt for a parking spot along the curb and then parallel park.

But the truly remarkable part of this (somewhat mundane) story is what my friend said to me the next time I saw him. He said, “I would NEVER have thought to walk that distance before. It was a new experience for me! I might have to try doing that in my own neighborhood.”
For me, that is a walk that I take several times a week without a second thought, and enjoy. We all develop habits and we grow accustomed to doing things a certain way. It takes a new impetus to change our ways.
So, ask yourself:
Are you driving when you could be walking?
How close is the nearest grocery store, post office, bank, coffee shop, dry cleaners? If it seems far, have you ever TRIED walking there? It may be closer than you think!
How about your friends?
Have you invited them to walk with you? Discovery – impromptu changes in directions, or unplanned meeting, or new sights- is the best part of a trip on foot, and that discovery is even better with company.

Have your friends discovered discovery? Let them in on it!