Walking until my feet hurt.
Sometimes I just can’t stand to be at home anymore.
Sometimes I just leave home and walk. I walk for miles and hours at a time. I set out not knowing where I am going to go or even how far I will walk. I will keep going because sometimes I don’t want to be at home. This has been the case when I’ve been single or in a relationship. It’s also happened when I’ve lived in a flat and a house. It has nothing to do with who is, or isn’t, at home. It’s not the flat or the house’s fault.
It doesn’t happen to me all that often, but when the mood does strike, it’s not a normal, daily walk around the block listening to music or a podcast. I walk with no headphones, no music, no podcast, nothing…just the sound of cars passing or other people on the pavement or the birdsong or the wind. On a daily basis I find myself constantly trying to fill the silences with music or podcasts or YouTube, which makes the days when I just walk in silence for hours even more strange.
The feeling or urge doesn’t even wait for a nice sunny, warm day. It happened to me a couple of weeks ago and it snowed for three of the four hours that I was out. Luckily I had the foresight to pick up my gloves and hat on the way out the door, but even so my hands were so cold that I could hardly make my fingers work to turn the key in the lock when I got home.
I don’t take any snacks or water…not a great idea, I know! I never feel hungry or thirsty. It’s almost like a strange calm or trance like state. I walk through parks, housing estates, smart areas, less smart areas, under motorway flyovers, through the high street and retail parks, alongside the river, alongside the road, over the railway bridge, through little villages and city streets. I just keep wandering.
I wonder if my brain just gets tired of the everyday constant stimulation and just needs a break now and then. I don’t keep an eye on the distance. I basically walk until I am in pain in one or more parts of my body. That seems to be the cue to stop, turnaround and go home. Is this a subconscious attempt to ‘get out of my head’ and into my body? It is all at once a slightly worrying but very comforting behaviour.
It’s nice to only have to focus on how sore my feet (eventually) feel or how my left hip always starts to ache after eight miles (I’m getting old!). For a few hours no one can reach me. No emails can follow me. That sink full of dishes that I need to clean is out of sight. Those letters from the pension company telling me it’s annual review time are forgotten. The fact that I’ve run out of milk can wait. I am ‘offline’…for a while.