Today as I was trying to figure out what to prepare for dinner I came to the realization that no matter what I decided on, a trip to the store would have to be made. But we're a one car household here (and have been for almost 15 years!) and Jay was at work and wouldn't be back until close to nightfall. Usually when this happens, I text him a message asking that he stop at the store on the way home. As I was typing out the text it occurred to me that there really was no reason I couldn't go to the grocery store myself, you know, by way of my feet.
Even though I knew it takes less than 5 minutes to get to the grocery store in the car, I Google mapped it anyway just to find out the exact distance. Right about one mile. Once I saw that it was only one mile, I almost felt guilty debating whether or not to walk it. Seriously, when did one mile become such a big deal? Plus, it wasn't as if I would be buying something heavy like a gallon of milk or a 25 pound bag of dog food, I needed taco fixings. Carrying home taco fixings wouldn't even give me an upper body workout. So I grabbed my shopping bag and the girl and headed out the door.
A mere twenty minutes later, we were at the store. Only twenty minutes. Again, why was I ever even debating whether or not to do this? And that's walking at the pace of a six year old. I'm a pretty fast walker and had I been by myself I probably could have done it much quicker. We wandered around the store a while, got the things we needed, and left. The entire trip took about an hour and a half.
Now granted, I couldn't do this all the time. Some days I just don't have the time to devote to a shopping trip that would take only 10-15 minutes in the car. But I could do it some days. And I was thinking about it, and there are a few other places I frequent that I could walk to. The library: 1.2 miles. Starbucks: 1 mile. The farmers market (come late spring): 1.2 miles. The post office: 0.9 miles. There really is no reason I couldn't work at least one walking trip a week into my schedule.
Back in Florida, everything was spread out in such a way that I really couldn't walk anywhere other than my neighborhood or the elementary school. Even if I had hours to devote to a walk to the store, I would have to cross busy roads filled with lanes and lanes of drivers that just weren't used to seeing people walking. Here, walking is a bit more common and drivers are courteous and aware of walkers and bikers.
I'll admit that at first walking made me feel vulnerable and exposed. But that's silly really. My car never really made me safer. Although I have no facts to support it, I imagine I'd be more likely to die in a car accident than I would be to die on the well maintained sidewalks of a virtually crime free suburb. And as for that exposed feeling, well, my car has never made me invisible either. It's just easy to fool myself into thinking it does so that I don't feel like a dork when I drive through town scratching my boobs and singing Rocket Man at the top of my lungs.
So now I'm curious, do any of you ever walk with a fixed destination in mind? If so, where do you walk to and what do you consider a reasonable walking distance? If you don't walk, why? And do you wish you could?