I spent a magical two weeks in Ireland. While I was there I had no data (see the post about dataless travel) and was apprehensive about how I was going to get around a country without any way to call an Uber or understand the train schedule. Well, while I did figure out the train schedule and learned that my technology-driven head is a lot smarter than I give it credit for, I also learned that Uber isn’t really necessary if you have a central city that you’re trying to explore.
My mom would describe me as a “walker.” Until Ireland, I didn’t really recognize what that meant. But, I suppose after reflecting on the number of times that I opted to walk through DC instead of taking the metro, I could classify myself as a walker. As an avid believer in “taking the scenic route” and skipping the Uber to get a few extra thousand steps in, I’m here to tell you why you should walk when you travel.
1. It Replaces the Gym.
So, this is an obvious one. When I was in Ireland there was no way that I was going to spend extra funds that could be going toward bus tickets on a gym membership. So, I made up for my lost cardio days with walking 13 miles. My legs were just as sore and I still felt like my body was moving enough to maintain my healthy habits.
2. You Discover New Neighborhoods.
If I haven’t said it before, I’ll say it again… I love coffee. The only way to discover new neighborhood treasures like local coffee shops, delicious cafes or cool places to sit and read are by walking. Sure, you could probably get those places on Yelp!, but the feeling you get when you’ve immersed yourself in the lives of the people your traveling to is something a website or an app can’t give you.
3. Local Recommendations.
Despite the love I have for meeting new people, I’m a shy person. Walking is a chance to get out of the comfort zone and ask locals for recommendations. If anything, it gives you more opportunities to ask and makes you more available for people to talk to. Ubers are great for recommendations, but why not walk through the streets and get a few from the bakery chefs and gallery owners? Trips are always better when you follow some local advice.
It may just be me, but I think getting lost with someone is one of the greatest team-building exercises out there. Walking gives you the chance to build a new relationship with a friend by experiencing and being excited about new things together. Whether it be romantic, friends, or just getting to know each other, it is always a good idea to explore a new city or simply get lost in a neighborhood a state away with someone else.