The Joy of Walking

An essay meditating on the simple pleasures of a good walk.

2 minute read

March 28, 2023, 10:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Alluding to a phrase often attributed to St. Augustine, “solvitur ambulando,” Andrew McCarthy expounds on the virtues of walking as a way to nourish both the body and mind in a guest essay for The New York Times. For McCarthy, “Walking buoys the spirits in a way that feels real and earned. It feels owned. And walking, like a generous partner, meets us more than halfway.”

McCarthy outlines the reputation of walking as a creative stimulant. “Even the resolutely pessimistic Friedrich Nietzsche had to give it up for a good saunter when he allowed, “All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.’” McCarthy discovered the joy of walking for himself after embarking on the Camino de Santiago in Spain. After the journey, “Instead of viewing walking as simply the slowest way to get somewhere, I grew to see it not only as a means to an end, but as the event itself.”

The writer Rebecca Solnit pointed out that walking “is how the body measures itself against the earth.” And through such physical communion, walking offers up its crowning gift by bringing us emotionally, even spiritually, home to ourselves.

As spring finally emerges from a long winter, McCarthy urges the reader to “lace up” and experience the benefits of a simple walk. McCarthy asks, “Has anyone ever emerged from ambling through nature for an hour and regretted their improved state of being?”

Saturday, March 25, 2023 in The New York Times

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