Walking: A Sense of Familiarity


Varun Prasanna

The same trees greet me on my walk every time.

When Covid happened, everything that resembled order was thrown out of our lives. Nothing was set in stone anymore, things we took for granted were no longer there. During the early months of quarantine, people kept on mentioning “finding new hobbies”  and how having a “set routine activity would help you to cope with the stress” or something similar to that nature, so I found something to do. Go for a walk. I would do my best to walk everyday since the start of quarantine. I live in a neighborhood that is newly constructed, so there is nothing much to see or do, everything is a cookie cutter baked layout of the ideal American suburban neighborhood, far away from the center of Ames. I walked the same pattern over and over where I live (since many people leave their dogs unattended and free), even variations in walking would lead me in the same way. The same trees would appear again and again. While this seems extremely boring to read (and even more boring to walk), sometimes a boring repeated schedule is all you need.

As I walked everyday, it gave a sense of disconnect from what is going on in the world around me. Even before Covid struck, most of us were constantly hooked up to the internet and the news and everything in between. When I walked, it was a sort of escape from everything going on and to get fresh air. It helped me to clear out my thoughts and to reevaluate what’s going on in my life. It’s been proven that fresh air is good for you as being stuck indoors gives you a suboptimal amount of oxygen and it helps to give you a mental focus, something we all need during this time. A person I talked to mentioned how walking helped them to leave behind their stresses in life and to leave the constant stimulation of everyday life behind for a bit of time.

Every time I got back from walking my set pattern, I felt a huge sigh of relief and overall detaching from my daily obligations. It was a rewarding feeling to know that I don’t have a care in the world or at least the illusion of it. So in summary, walking is something that I do nearly everyday during quarantine and is something I would definitely recommend, as it gives you a sense of familiarity that is most necessary in this unfamiliar time.