Sue Tredget is a French and Spanish teacher at PLC. She is also a published author and Beyond Blue ambassador. In her monthly ‘Reflections’ article, she shares insights and experiences from her own wellbeing journey.
In Praise of Walking
Before the COVID lockdown changed our habits, I had been making the most of the Lighthouse Fitness Centre – working out several times each week. Treadmill, stepper, bike, weights…
When everything had to shut down, I was determined not to lose the fitness I’d gained. I’ve always enjoyed walking and was lucky enough to experience the delights of being in nature from a very young age.
When I reached crisis point, seven years ago, I went on a pilgrimage and walked my way out of grief – 152 kilometres of the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. It was a life-changing experience.
Finding the Beauty Close to Home
In the years since then, I haven’t stopped walking, but I wasn’t doing it regularly enough. This year, as social distancing became our new normal, I began to walk with more purpose and greater intent – every day, for up to two hours!
Along the coast, through the bush, into the woods, around lakes, by the river, and sometimes just through ordinary suburban streets.
As I walked each day, I started to pay closer attention. I noticed the ever-changing cloud shapes as they shifted from moment to moment. I noticed the intensity of the searing blue sky. I gazed in awe as the surfers and kite-surfers communed with the elements. I was enchanted by the slowly changing light at the close of day.
I saw the houses I’d passed by many times before through fresh eyes. I noticed the architecture, the shapes and colours, the front lawns and the native plants.
The Long and Winding Road
The Fitness Centre is open now, and I’ll certainly be back, but I plan to keep walking. It has become an essential part of my routine – a time to both move and pause at the same time. It’s that simple. Put one foot in front of the other, then do it again, and again. Become lost in thoughts and reflections, or even better, think of nothing at all.
Demons may still lurk, the mind may still race, thoughts may still swirl, but walking and nature will always be there to quell the torment and soothe the soul.
I look forward to the day when I can return to the network of pathways that crisscross Europe, in particular France, Spain and Italy. In the meantime, there is still much to explore close to home. I will continue to walk as far and as often as I can, along wide open or long and winding roads, right here, right now. Who knows where they will lead me? Buen Camino!
Here are some walking trails you may like to try out.