How to Enjoy Walking in the City

Walking in a big city can sometimes be very stressful. Depending on the city you might have to deal with heavy traffic, crowded streets and loud noises. But for the most part, walking in the big city can be fun, interesting and challenging, especially when crossing the streets.


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    Get to know the city It is quite useless to try to enjoy a city you are not familiar with. A lot of sidewalk frustration occurs when you miscalculated the distance between where you are and your destination, or you lost your way and ended up halfway across the area in the wrong direction.
    • Over the weekend, or during a day off, get up early in the morning, take a map and just walk. Walk wherever you feel like going. It doesn't matter how long it takes or where you are going, just keep walking.
    • While you do this, pay attention to where you are going. You don't need to focus on your environment too much, just make sure you can remember how you got there and any important things you can note about your environment (For example, your environment may have a Used Books Store, a billboard advertising tea...etc). If you have to, write these down.
    • Be open to the experience. Let all your fears and doubts go, remind yourself that you're just getting to know the city. When you are hungry you will find somewhere to eat, when you need to go back home you will be able to get a taxi and tell the driver the address and get home.
    • While walking, identify the 'good' and 'bad' areas. You will come across some areas you feel uncomfortable in and make a note of the route. These will be your 'red spots'. The places you are going to try to not end up when you walk.
    • Spend the whole day exploring the city and when it starts to turn dark, hail a cab and get back home.
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    Identify and use the areas you liked: By this time you ought to have a good idea of the city's network. You might have found a small secluded area near a busy street, a vendor with the most amazing finger food or an interesting park. Note these areas down and work out a general route in your mind which would allow you to come across more of the good areas and less of the red spots. If you have a set route you take to get to work, change it to include some of these areas, you ought to have found at least one spot during your expedition that can be integrated into your schedule. Even if you didn't, consider the expedition a practice round for enjoying a city walk.
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    Use your iPod/mp3 player/CD player: If you do not have one, consider getting one. You can put on your favourite music on it and use it while walking to tune out the city noise and to perk up your day. Try to create a playlist specifically for your walk and fill it with 'guilty pleasure' songs (songs that you secretly love, but would never admit it to anyone) and instrumentals with a good beat. This is going to be the 'soundtrack' to your walk.
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    Imagine your walk as a movie scene: While walking, imagine yourself as the person you want to be, not necessarily the person you are. For example you can imagine yourself more tall, more confident, with a different hair colour, with a different job or destination. Pretend that this is the person you actually are. This will give you a sense of greater purpose and will give you an incentive to actually play the part. This will usually result in you being more tolerant of the people around you and you will look a lot more confident, thus people will be more tolerant with you. If you want to be the French Ambassador to the UN, go ahead. How would those other people on the street know anyway? And if you can pull it off, they might believe you could be someone that important.
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    Notice the small things: Keep an eye out for the little unique things that give each city its charm. There could be a robin perched on a mailbox, a streetlamp that looks just like an antique, a child playing with a balloon, a street vendor that can't speak English. There are many things like these that make a city more than just a dwelling of skyscrapers and people. Figure out what gives the city its personality.
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    Incorporate your surroundings: Look at what is around you, the things that annoy you and the things that amuse you, and take it all in. Integrate it into the 'script' that is your life. Previously you imagined your life as a movie scene, but those things into the script. If a vendor just dumped a pile of dead fish near you, wrinkle your nose and imagine yourself looking at the scene from the outside, see yourself and continue on, instead of gagging and grumbling about it all the way to work. There will be annoyances during your walk, almost 90% of them will be minor and petty. Stop giving importance to those petty things by dwelling on them. They are not worth it. Accept what happens and move on. If you can't do this for the small stuff, how will you handle it for something more important?
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    Don't focus on your destination: You know where you are going. You know how long it's going to take. You know how to get there. If you do not know these things, please pay attention to your path and ignore this step. The destination is not going to change drastically and you know the way. Relax and focus on the walk. Do not think about what you're going to do once you get to your destination, do not stress about the workload waiting for you. It's waited all night, it can wait a few minutes. Look around, pay attention to your belongings and concentrate on the fact that you are walking through the city. Sing along (quietly) to the music you are listening to.
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    Be patriotic: This may seem like an odd sort of step, but it works. Do not imagine your city to just be a hamlet. Devote yourself to it. It is your city. You live in it or are currently living in it. You owe something to it and it owes something to you. Keep that feeling.
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    Take more voluntary walks: Start walking for the fun of it and not just to get from point A to point B. Go out at a time when no one is around and just walk around the block. If you're at home and you're feeling stressed, grab your coat and walk outside to see the sunset. Start to enjoy the experience of walking, this will extend the joy of walking in the city.


  • Take time to be a tourist in your own city for a while, whether you've just moved in or you've lived there all your life. Most cities have an assortment of interesting things to see, including cultural and historic landmarks, shows and concerts, events and gatherings, marvels of artwork and architecture. Get a travel book or guidebook if you need one. If you need an excuse to get out the door, invite a friend or relative from out of town to join you for a weekend when they visit.
    • Take advantage of the fact that you live in a city or nearby to visit places in the off-season and see things that tourists don't normally see.
    • Take along your camera now and then, whether you're visiting someplace new or not. It's a great chance to practice your photography. You know the area, so you know what to expect, but you'll see things through new eyes. Who knows? You could be capturing the historical city street scenes of the future.
  • Look up at the sky once in a while. If it is daytime, it tends to have a calming effect(No, people won't really care if you tilt your head up once in a while).
  • If you can't stop thinking about a particular thing and it's bothering you enough to take the fun out of your walk, sit down somewhere, have something to eat and just talk to yourself. Not about your problem, just look around at other people and make comments about them in your head and how things make you feel. Talking to yourself is not the first sign of madness. Talking to some other voice in your head might be.
  • Walk more than usual to keep yourself in shape, if you don't have a healthy body. Walking is the easiest form of exercise and the more you do it, the easier it will become.


  • When you are getting to know the city, make sure you are not carrying anything too valuable. Do not bring your wallet. Wear a jacket with a pocket on the inside and put some money, your ATM card (if you need money you can retract it from an ATM and if it gets stolen it won't be useful unless the thief can crack the PIN code) and ID card inside it. You do not need your credit cards or your fancy watch. Once you are more familiar with the route and its good and bad areas, you can relax this rule a bit.
  • When listening to music, during your city walk, try not to use classical music even if that is what usually relaxes you at home. The music you need it something with a good beat, something that will give you more confidence. Listening to classical music while walking in the city tends to produce more of a mood swing (people listening to classical music when they walk often tend to walk at a slower pace and get more aggravated if someone interrupts them or bumps into them).

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Categories: Walking for Fitness | Travel Safety & Security