Walking, seeing, learning

May 14, 2022 | By Jim Stovall | Filed in: journalism.

If you are like me—a person who loves to walk—you won’t want to miss Chris Arnade’s website,Walking the World.

The author brilliantly describes his love for walking just about anywhere in the world he happens to be. He talks about how much he sees, how much he experiences, and how much he learns by simply walking from place to place.

Arnade says he plans his walks carefully using Google maps and other resources. But once he is on the ground, those plans often fall by the wayside. He sees something he likes, and he heads that way to take a closer look.

By walking through a city, you meet the people who live there, and engage with them and their culture, on their terms in their environment. It allows you a small window into how they live. How they think about and experience the world. Consequently, it can change how you see the world. . . . 

Arnade, in his post Why I Walk, tells of the time in the 1990s when he first moved to Brooklyn. He took a subway ride from Brooklyn Heights to Coney Island, but then he decided to walk the 10 miles back.

I had never been in Brooklyn before and wanted to see what the town I was moving to was all about. While there was certainly tons of travel guides available, I figured the best way to understand it was to walk its length.

It worked. In that first walk I learned Brooklyn was a loose confederation of very different working class neighborhoods, held together by subways and buses. Russians and Ukrainians dominated Brighton Beach, African Americans in East NY, Orthodox Jews Midwood, Caribbeans Flatbush, Mexican and Chinese Sunset Park, and even a small lingering Norwegian community in Bay Ridge.

His experience mirrors mine when I spent a couple of summers in Chicago more than 20 years ago. I walked everywhere I could throughout that city and enjoyed every minute of it.

The author accompanies his writing with wonderful photographs that capture the essence and the spirit of what he is experiencing during his walks. This website is well worth a few minutes of your time if you love to walk.

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