I am a walking addict. Always in motion, my feet crave the pavement. Most people I know like to take strolls in the park or skip pebbles along the beach. Many walk only because they have to, or they parked too far away. Some people bike. Some run. Some play tennis, while others gym it. Some people simply couch surf. Not me; I walk. Day walks, night walks. I walk. In the sunshine, in the rain. When I have to and when I don't need to, I walk. I walk miles. For fun. Twenty minutes or two hours, I choose to walk. I walk until my feet bleed. Perhaps this passion stems from being forced to walk as a child (my dad's poor vision got him in too many car accidents, hence stripping him of his driving privileges); I can see me trailing behind my speed-walking father along Hollywood Boulevard. All I wanted was a piggyback ride! Since then, I have been on many kinetic journeys- climbing the steep Hollywood Hills, conquering the entire grid of Manhattan (sometimes 60 blocks at a time), along the Golden Gate Bridge, meandering through all of Paris ending at the Eiffel Tower, through the White Sands of New Mexico, and across several state lines. I have travelled, and I have walked.

I'm a walking advocate. Many of us either loathe this underrated form of exercise and therapy or take it for granted. The fact that we can walk to different places, no matter where we are, without the need for vehicles or props of any kind, is simply amazing. All you need are those awkward-looking limbs attached to our hip bone (called legs). You don't have to rent them or buy them or fill them with air at a gas station (though stretching and lots of water are always good preparations). All you have to do is take alternating steps while moving forward, one foot in front of the other.

You can walk solo to the sounds of nature or zone out to your private music collection. You can walk and talk with a friend, or two, or three. You can form a walking group. You can walk the walk. You can walk with pride or walk on eggshells. You can walk on a tightrope, or, if extremely brave, you can walk on fire. You can walk in flats. You can walk in heels. You can walk in cute vintage dresses (I do!). You can hit the roof of a car and scream, like Dustin Hoffman, at the top of your lungs: "I'm walkin' here!" You can tiptoe. You can strut (I recommend Michael Jackson and James Brown). You can stomp. You can stride. You can glide. Walking is an art, and you can make it your own.

If animals and babies can do it, so can we! I encourage you to get off the couch or office chair and go for a walk- right now! Start by walking to the bathroom. Then walk down a long hallway. Walk to the bus stop across the street. Before you know it, you won't be catching the bus at all. You'll find yourself passing the bus altogether and waving at it (while grinning due to your healthy, alternative lifestyle).

The fact is you notice things more on walks. You can read and memorize street names. You can absorb the community to the fullest. You can find your own walking path, both old and new. You see people out in the open world, babies in strollers and dogs on leashes (the two cutest creatures in existence). You can see someone smiling as you pass by. You can connect with a total stranger and not have to blow your horn. Now, sure, walking takes time; some of us don't have all day. We have full-time jobs, or a family, or school. But think about this: All the time one spends driving short distances, talking on the phone and texting, sitting and waiting, for a ride perhaps, could be consolidated and exerted as quality walking time. You can walk and talk on the phone simultaneously! It's okay!

Yes, I am crazy- a downright walking looney and a bit of a walking snob, getting irritated when people walk too slowly, or couples can't undo their hand-holding for a second to let me pass (C'mon!). I am an addict that needs her daily fix. In fact, all my walks this week have been two hours long. I am starting to keep track of my treading per day. So far, this week, I've been on the following walks:

Sunday- Walk through the San Diego Zoo

Monday- Loop walk from University Heights to Hillcrest

Tuesday- Walk downtown through the Convention Center

Wednesday- Loop walk from Normal Heights to Kensington to City Heights (though I did get lost)

Thursday- Walk from North Park through Balboa Park to Downtown AND Walk from downtown to Banker's Hill (to catch the bus)

Friday- Who knows what the destination will be?

To conclude this pro-walking blog, I could never imagine a world without walking. Walking is my exercise, my diet, my muse, my therapist, my dance partner, my creative channel, my mobile journal, my soundtrack, my chance to dream, my connection to others, my memories, my happiness. . . my life.

... So please, walk with me.


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