For the time being, my walking is restricted to a daily exercise session, with longer hikes at weekends. I’m actually finding it quite boring and grind out my 10,000 steps on the same route most days. I miss walking with company. I’m finding it harder and harder to do a full session of walking in one go.
I made a list of things I could do to make my walking more interesting:
- Alaistair Humphrey’s concept of microadventures are still possible under social distancing.
- I’m not sure how geocaching is impacted by Covid-19, but there is only one way to find out.
- A common technique for walking is to use a map for a different place. This emerged from the Situationists, and I once attended a tour of London as Tokyo led by the artist Momus. I’ve meant for years to map the 6.5 km of the main Varanasi riverfront onto Brighton seafront, so I guess I could get going with that.
- The classic example of an imaginary walk is Albert Speer with his walks around Spandau, which he mapped onto a walk around the world. I could redo the Pennine Way over a month – 9 miles a day would take me the whole distance.
- There are a number of audio walks available online. Some of these are art pieces, others tourist guides. These could be overlaid on familiar walks, looking for synchronicities.
- Blake Morris has produced some scores for walking. I think Fluxus also produced something similar?
- Or there is always the option of hiking in videogames, and just sacking off the whole step-count thing. The guardian has published articles on the 10 best walks in video games and has published a pandemic guide to virtual hiking (via Justin Hopper).
- I have whole books on walking and art, featuring obscure examples as well as people like Richard Long or Mona Hatoum. These might have some good ideas.
- I miss the foundwhilewalking hashtag, which was used by a number of Brighton people to share odd things they found when out and about. Rather than using photographs for this, it might be interesting to produce haiku (which would fit into some upcoming research for my South Downs Way project).
- The obvious ways to have a socially distanced walk with someone is by maintaining a separation in space. But what about walking separated in time, making a recording for the other person to listen to, or leaving chalked messages?
- Pilgrimage is something I find very important, and Brighton has places of power like the Goldstone, and St Anne’s Well.
- Related to pilgrimage is the idea of walking as meditation or even prayer. Nick Cave recently wrote a beautiful piece about non-religious prayer.
- The Situationists invented the Derive precisely to break up the familiar paths taken within a city. What if I walked a ten-thousand step circle around my house? Related to this is finding arbitratry routes connecting places, such as my walk between the graves of Edward Bransfield and George Everest.
- Another possibility is some sort of collaborative or competitive walking. Brighton Explorer’s Club are setting up a socially-distanced relay; maybe a treasure hunt could be fun?