While living in Switzerland, I used to go for long walks. The paths are well marked and as varied as the scenery – in fact, they quickly become an end in themselves. Switzerland has over 65 000 kilometers of waymarked trails. I walked along lakes, through vineyards, under the shadow of mountains, and along small streams. One thing which accompanied me on my walks was divine beauty; everywhere and in every corner. I enveloped all my walks and kept them secured and safe in a deposit called the heart.
My Walks in Switzerland
Now, when I feel sad or happy, angry or in despair or seek refuge, I take out those envelops and walk again.
Along the lake
Through the green fields
Through the vineyards
Under the shadow of mountains
And along the small stream
Effect of long walks amidst nature on me
In Switzerland, beauty is omnipresent and it pervades one’s conscious and unconscious mind and floods one’s heart with joy. Every time I completed my long walks, my life was filled with contentment. No grievances. No complaints.
I could reflect upon the sheer magnificence of our existence and our surroundings. An indefinable presiding charm emanated from them. I observed the birds sailing to their nests when the twilight fell, I listened to their chorus, I saw kids playing, I exchanged words with strangers while admiring fairytale castles. I witnessed many amazing sunsets and loved the silvery moonlit skies. I comprehended that the regular and natural rhythm of life is like a piece of beautiful music; healing, soothing and rejuvenating. High paced modern day existence makes us forget the natural rhythm of our lives and in turn, the melody of our lives gets broken.
During my long walks, amidst the ordinary and slow-paced routine of daily life, another important thing happened simultaneously. A beautiful and enriching inner world slowly unfurled within me. In that world, I was not a mere hoarder of truth but became an interpreter of meanings about life. A whole new existence was reconstructed.During my long walks, amidst the ordinary and slow-paced routine of daily life, another important thing happened simultaneously. A beautiful and enriching inner world slowly unfurled within me. #Travel Click To Tweet
Benefits of Long Walks
According to one research-based article in the NYTimes,
Urban dwellers with little access to green spaces have a higher incidence of psychological problems than people living near parks and that city dweller who visit natural environments have lower levels of stress hormones immediately afterward than people who have not recently been outside.
Henry David Thoreau wrote in his famous essay – “Walking“
Living much out of doors, in the sun and wind, will no doubt produce a certain roughness of character—will cause a thicker cuticle to grow over some of the finer qualities of our nature, as on the face and hands, or as severe manual labor robs the hands of some of their delicacy of touch. So staying in the house, on the other hand, may produce a softness and smoothness, not to say thinness of skin, accompanied by an increased sensibility to certain impressions. Perhaps we should be more susceptible to some influences important to our intellectual and moral
growth,if the sun had shone and the wind blown on us a little less; and no doubt it is a nice matter to proportion rightly the thick and thin skin. But methinks that is a scurfthat will fall off fast enough—that the natural remedy is to be found in the proportion which the night bears to the day, the winter to the summer, thought to experience. There will be so much the more air and sunshine in our thoughts.
Let me inspire you to take a long walk and wander
I love reading and seeing documentaries on lives and works of philosophers, scientists, poets, painters, photographers and musicians. There are after all so many beautiful lives lived in so many different ways. I often delve deeper into their daily habits. One habit that
- Daily walks were sacred to Einstein.
- Three 45 minute walks were a part of Darwin’s daily routine.
- While walking in the beautiful Alpine
surroundigsof Sils Maria in Switzerland, Friedrich Nietzsche had what he believed was the most important thought he ever conceived.
- Charles Dickens was a tireless walker of London
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The overemphasis on convenience and speed in this technology-driven era promise us ease of labor and free time yet we find ourselves trapped in the whirlwind of work, overwork, myriad of materials and literally no time to pause, think and introspect. I introspected and dreamt many beautiful dreams during my long walks in Switzerland. How those dreams commingle with reality and influence my actions, choices, and decisions even now when I am staying many miles and years away, I know not! Those long walks had sown the seeds of a life that demands meaningful existence on the face of modern society’s contradictions. I am eternally thankful for those moments.
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