Why would I write a list of walking quotes? Today wrote a a query letter to a magazine editor about an article about different walks that a person can take in Taiwan. While looking up quotations to use in the query I suddenly remembered how much I used to enjoy walking. When I first started traveling, whenever I arrived in a new city, after putting my things in a hostel, the first thing I would do was walk down random streets and alleys and I wouldn’t stop until I had gotten myself good and lost. That would usually take one or two hours, and finding my way back several more. One my first trip outside of North America ( I was 18 at the time) I spent eight hours lost in Madrid at night. It was the most exciting thing that I had ever done. I explored cobblestone alleys and unknown plazas and wandered among centuries old pillars holding up centuries old roofs. I saw gangs of street hoods and tapa bars filled with overweight, overly made-up prostitutes — things I’d never seen before in my life. I was even accosted by one extremely persistent old hooker missing several teeth who insisted in walking arm-in-arm with me and chattering away to me in Spanish even though it was obvious that I didn’t speak Spanish and wasn’t going to give her any money.
Walking is the best way to see a place. If you drive, you watch the road. In a taxi, the city moves past too quickly. Riding a bicycle is even too fast and distracting. Walking is the only way to really examine the people, the shops, the art, and the trash. The only way to feel the texture of a city at ground level is with your feet.
So, in celebration of my remembrance of my favorite way to explore, here are ten quotes about the glory of walking:
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.
~ Henry David Thoreau
My father considered a walk among the mountains
as the equivalent of churchgoing.
~ Aldous Huxley
Walking is the great adventure, the first meditation,
a practice of heartiness and soul primary to humankind.
Walking is the exact balance between spirit and humility.
~ Gary Snyder
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.
~ John Muir
There is nothing like walking to get the feel of a country. A fine landscape is like
a piece of music; it must be taken at the right tempo. Even a bicycle goes too fast.
~ Paul Scott Mowrer
Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.
~ Steven Wright
I would walk along the quais when I had finished work or when I was trying to think something out. It was easier to think if I was walking and doing something or seeing people doing something that they understood.
~ Ernest Hemingway
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.
~ Friedrich Nietzsche
It is a great art to saunter.
~ Henry David Thoreau
Meandering leads to perfection.
~ Lao Tzu