Saturday, February 5, 2011

nice day for a walk in the dark

Lord Nelson and Big Ben
I love to walk. (I've blogged about it before) Well, I have more of a love/hate relationship with walking, similar to that of my love/hate relationship with reading.  In both cases I hate how annoyingly slow it is; isn't better to watch a movie or fly down the road?  I guess in many ways it is, but I think being forced to take things slowly opens up a whole world of thought, introspection, and experiences that you never would have thought you could have.  That's why, even though I hate it, I'll spend two or three weeks reading a novel or force myself to walk a couple of miles when it would be infinitely easier to get on the tube.

On my way to the British Library the other day the sun was out and the sky was a remarkable blue, especially with the red brick against it.  
Walking forces me to look at things, not just glance at them.  I think I like glancing at things.  That's how I go to museums, I walk quickly through them and feel an odd sense of accomplishment if I've only spent an hour or so and seen all there was to see. (This is why I really need to visit museums more than once).
I went to the National Gallery the other day and took this picture before they yelled at me.  I loved the entrance and the little dome. 
I also like to do that when I shop; I size up the store, have an idea of what's in it, and then go back to the things I want to look  at.  When I am forced to look at things they start to become more interesting.  They aren't just shapes and colors.

I walked past the Burlington Arcade by Piccadilly Circus last night after it closed and it was so ghostly to see it empty with all the lights still on. 
Walking forces me to spend more time with me.  I love listening to books on tape when I walk because walking focuses my mind, but I also like to just spend time with me.  I think about who I am and what I want and where I want to go.  I address issues or insecurities I've been having.

I walk past these buildings on Marchmont Street every day.
So I've made a huge decision.  I'm going to keep walking, but I'm going to take it to a bit of an extreme.  I have a goal to go on two long distance walks this summer.  One is the Coleridge Way in Exmoor where he used to wander about.  It's 36 miles long, but you do it it 4 days.  I'm trying to get my sister to come with me. I think it will be magical.  The other walk is 70 miles through the Scotland Highlands.  Maybe this is madness, but I know that it would be an experience of a life time, plus I don't want to visit Scotland and just stay in the cities. If I go up there I want to be outdoors and hiking across mountains.  I love living in London, but I don't really want to visit cities anymore.  I don't care about museums and buildings.  I want sky and rocks.

So, in order to get ready for these trips I'm going to save my money as best as I can (and good news this week I got the rest of my loan so I actually have a little bit right now) and start doing long distance walks around London.  There are actually a few "trails" set up called The Big Seven and I'm making it a goal to do all of them.  One is actually 150 miles in total, but you take it by 8 miles or so in 24 increments, and it loops around the whole of London metropolis.  It's actually called LOOP (London Outer Orbital Path)

I'm really excited about this. I'm excited to walk and see everything. My first long walk will be a 6 mile walk through London tracing the  routes outlined in Virginia Woolf's novel Night and Day which I just finished reading.  Walking is a major theme in that novel, and most of the events happen when the characters are walking by the river.  I've been to most of the places in the novel, but I think it would be good to make a morning of it and stop by the Tate Britain since I haven't been since last week.

 St. Martins-in-the-Fields by Trafalgar Square.  


  1. I share your passion for walking, Jasie. A happy by-product is the salubrious effect on one's posterior.

  2. I love this post. I've always enjoyed walking but because it's so cold and icy in nyc right now, I try to walk the least as possible. but once it starts getting nicer, i hope to start walking more. one of my goals is to walk from the top of manhattan all the way down to battery park. it would probably take me all day but is totally possible. i wish i could come with you to do those long walks in the countryside. it sounds amazing! a few years ago a byu group went on a study abroad in england that consisted of hiking the country side and keeping journals of the experience. i later watched a documentary on this group. since then ive been wanting to do a similar thing. maybe someday i will.

  3. Yeah, I always wanted to do that study abroad, which is partly why I'm making a goal to do these long walks this summer.

  4. Keep walking! Brittany is looking forward to the Highland walk with you this summer!