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Walking has always had special connotations for me, especially because of the way it has woven itself into the very fabric of my Hong Kong existence. There were very few times that I ended up making a significant journey from point to point on foot without a companion to share the journey with me. My best friends are defined by walks, Hunaid by the weekly trek to Wyndham Street, Craig and Mubaraka by the meandering walk along Bowen Road, heading towards home after a long school day. They were the defining friends of my life, and their walks are for me a special way of recollecting them and what they have given to me.

Recently I had the opportunity to deal with a walk in the more abstract sense. I had a pleasant bus journey in contemplation from Oval station to home, and the bus was a long time in coming. I decided to take the alternate route to the unpredictable wait for the bus, and to walk towards home. It was an experience that I’ve really missed in the recent bike bound speeds that have enveloped my life, given that with a bike distances become small and time compressed.

Walks are a chance to slow down life. There isn’t much thinking required in walking down a path, we can navigate and avoid people without engaging any of the higher faculties freeing up the mind in a way that is not very often available to us in the modern world. We live in a dynamic fast paced worlds. Opportunities, we are led to believe, zip by at an instantaneous pace, decisions must be taken rapidly, and reflection is sin for which the penalty is great. Walking is a rejection of all that.

There’s a wonderful sense of freedom and casualness that encompasses this opportunity to think and interact. There’s a sense of a truly interactive moment. You get forced to interact as they are the only way to deal with the enforced interaction of company. There’s no movie to watch, no show to disguise your anti-social inclination. A relationship lives or dies in a long walk. Without doubt it is put to the test.

The relaxing chance to think is also invigorating. The mild exercise, the chance to see so much in the world around, stimulates all sorts of random ideas into the field of play. There is not much time to gain real clarity and add the necessary organizational structure to thoughts that help you spot trends and notice the flaws. You understand things that are worth recording in their own right, and help explain ideas and concepts that you have little chance of inadvertently stumbling on without the chance to reflect. For a little while life gets simpler.

Walking has been a fundamental part of my life, and I should really do more of it. The chance to shut down all non-essential functions and cruise without worry is an invaluable blessing in modern hectic life. Here’s to many more of them.

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One Comment

    • Domhttp://www.xanga.com/behappy168
    • Posted May 7, 2006 at 1:13 am
    • Permalink

    The journey to uni and back to home is almost sacrosanct to me. These are the only times I can disconnect from the world and start thinking creatively. A lot of the ideas for my blog came to me during those times. That’s why if I am not late for class, I prefer walking from the train station rather than taking the tram. I like to spend that time by myself, whether listening to music or having random thoughts, rather than surrounded by people.

    Talking about walking home from school, it seems I have hardly ever walked with you. Perhaps that’s something we should do when we meet again in HK?


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