I don’t walk every day, but I do consider myself a walker. When I lived in Toronto, I would often walk from Bloor and Dundas West up toward Sheppard, catch the subway back down to Bloor, then walk west to my home around High Park. At a different time I lived near Victoria Park in the east and would walk from Yonge and Dundas out there after work most nights. Some of my longest began downtown, looped out east of the beaches, north up to Eglinton, and then back to High Park or St Clair West, depending on the time of my life.
A good friend of mine also grew up walking quite a bit, and a few years ago noted how, as a game developer, he’d acquired an interest in understanding the experience of traveling from town to town by foot — he asked if I’d be up for a fall full-day hike from the city of Guelph to Burlington, about 40-50km away, and I was all in. It was a 12 hour walk and at times seemed pretty rough, but it started a tradition. We’ve done 4 or 5 of those in the intervening years, mostly closer to 30km or so, and with some disrupted years around the pandemic (couldn’t rely on rest stops being open!) Each time they’ve been a magnificent experience.
Not all walks have to be epic! I regularly wander the neighbourhood with my partner and we’ll just go out and tramp about on the local roads for an hour. We really get a sense of the place we inhabit and of the life which inhabits it, of the connection between places, and of the places in between.
So anyway, I like to walk around, and I ran across this recent post by Derek Sivers, which focuses on a big week-ish/100km-ish long walk through Thailand with a group of ~10 people, keeping a leisurely pace and having time to take in the environment and to just chat with interesting folks each day. Putting my pangs of jealousy for those who lead such charmed lives aside for a moment, I’m truly heartened to see this kind of thing happening somewhere; it feels like the kind of stuff we could all benefit from more of. I’ll definitely be thinking in the future about how I might make something like it happen someday with some old and new friends of my own.
Then after the post, I ran across many great future-consideration walk suggestions in the comments. There were a ton of comments and I didn’t read exhaustively, but I’ve copied a bunch here which stood out to me as I glanced around. Initially I just opened a text file for this, but I figure: why not put it in public? Maybe someone else wants a quick list of ideas.
- Santiago de Compostela (Spain)
- West Highland Way (Scotland)
- Coast to coast (England)
- Lake district (England)
- Inca Trail (Peru)
- Kilimanjaro (Tanzania)
- Tour de Beaufortain (France)
- Les Ballons des Vosges (France)
- Camino de Santiago
- The Rota Vicentina and the Fisherman’s trail in the south west of Portugal
- Camino Istra in western Croatia
- Rocky Mountains National Park
- the last ~120km of the Pilgrim path in Norway from Berkåk-Trondheim.
- Te Araroa, maybe in Marlborough or Northland in New Zealand
- Mt. Rinjani – Indonesia – 4-5days – might be more intense than desired
- Machu Picchu Inca Trail – during the offseason, not a lot of people, up to 7 days, not super intense
- Teyuna (“Lost City”) in Colombia
- Serra Tramuntana, Mallorca
Cheers to Derek for sharing about the idea/experience and thanks to posters CRIS, Chema, Auke, Lawrence, Lale, Thomas, Chip, BT, Jorg, and any whose suggestions I copied but forgot to link for sharing their ideas.