Walking around is a lot like writing. It doesn’t cost much, but it’s easy to get hung up on the venue. Some places are utterly fabulous like Downtown San Diego or the interlocking wheels of Washington D.C., where a stroll can yield infinite possibilities. One can walk past the various points of interest as the background or even make a stop. Then there are the great outdoors, which offers beauty in many great varieties. The hike or the walkabout in these settings are part of the experience – they are sources of pleasure as well as material for discussion. But what about the places that aren’t so idyllic?
One thing about San Diego is that the walkable communities are far and few. Technically, any neighborhood is walkable as there are miles of sidewalks, but they don’t enable to people to work and live in the neighborhood. The suburbs serve as the bedrooms, as many drive out to work, shop, and go out. One hardly ever walks there. Or do they?
While many of these suburban neighborhoods such as Clairemont Mesa or Kearny Mesa/Serra Mesa don’t provide much for walkability beyond the sidewalks, there are joggers, people walking their dogs, and others walking for the exercise. While it’s not as pedestrian friendly like Downtown or Hillcrest, these people traverse their track home villages on their feet.
The experience of being a flâneur, one who walks around for the pleasure of it, may not be available in Sprawlville. However, all one needs is their feet and a safe place to walk.
For me, I find that it’s an exercise in being present. The area where I live may not be my muse; however, I can take in the banality of the homes, the cars, the middle school, and even the tiny little stripmalls. More than that, walking around is a meditative experience where I am alone with my thoughts. Various things come to my mind, such as certain thoughts and topics and having a compact Moleskine and rollerball pen is very handy.
It is one of my goals to get some more walking around this year closer to where I live, not just places like Hillcrest and Downtown. I get to cut down on car usage to get to those places, but I also get some “me time” and some exercise in the process.