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We got directions but nowhere to go
So should we start to make our way back home
And forget the things we’ll never know
We got directions but nowhere to go

Should we follow the sunset or
Trust the stars and follow the road
Which way to Kyffin, we don’t know
We don’t know which way to go

We’ll paint ourselves a different life
We’ll paint ourselves a different life
We’ll paint ourselves a different life

-“Which Way to Kyffin”, James Dean Bradfield

Sometimes the simplest things in life can come about as the result of numerous colliding complexities that are often beyond our understanding. It is exactly this that has helped me to rediscover the joy of walking. Walking. As simple as putting one foot in front of the other (and vice versa).

I’m pretty sure that human beings have been walking for a really long time. Since, depending on what belief system you believe in, we either crawled out of the ocean, God placed us in the Garden of Eden, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster let us fall off his plate. Regardless, it’s  pretty basic and we’ve done it since day one.

I’ve been walking to work everyday for the past week and it is absolutely enjoyable. It really is. If it was possible to make money doing this I’m sure someone would have already figured out how to. You could honestly sell this to people.

I’m walking because I live close enough to walk to work. I’m walking because the public transit provider on one half of the river (Ottawa’s OC Transpo) that divides where I live from where I work is on strike. I’m walking because the public transit on the other side of the river (Gatineau’s STO) won’t allow me to buy a pass. I’m not sure if it is my stubbornness, resolve, frugality, or mere cheapness, but I walk.

I don’t know why, but I’ve rediscovered how much I enjoy walking everywhere. I’d say it’s likely my fourth most favourite form of transportation now (after train, funicular, and flying car). It certainly is more enjoyable than a bus lurching along in traffic downtown. There are numerous sights to see that I would certainly miss if I was driving and having to concentrate on not running into the bumper in front of me. Typical things on my walk include the National Art Gallery, U.S. Embassy, Museum of Civilisations and a beautiful view of Parliament’s back side (I think Sir Mix-a-lot would agree it’s her finer side).

My pace is somewhere between brisk and casual and I average about 30 minutes door to door. Not too bad considering the average Canadian commute time roundtrip was 63 minutes in 2006. So I’ve got an average commute. But I’m walking.

Those sorry people I pass by as they sit on the bridge waiting for traffic to inch closer to their respective destination, I honestly feel bad for them. They own cars that can legally go upwards of 100km/h on the highway. But they sit on the bridge, at the mercy of the traffic pixies that control flow. Not to rub it in, but the distance from my house to work is 2.6km, according to Google maps. To put that into perspective: I could walk to work 19 times in a half hour if I was traveling 100km/h.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Luddite. If I had the means I am sure I’d love to drive whatever car Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t crashing. But that’s not the case and in life we have to make a few decisions considering our priorities and walking has allowed me to save a bit of money everyday.

Without a bus pass, I have to pay regular fares if I were to ride the STO busses to work. That’s $3.25 each way. $6.50 a day? That’s a pint of a nice imported beer at any number of the fine pubs near my apartment. Sometimes we have to make tough choices.

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