Walking to the Dentist

The girl (my fond reference to my daughter) has entered a new stage; she now drives.  In addition to this, she has a summer internship and several random commitments such as caring for children and driving an elderly woman to Bingo. With two cars in our house, two working adults, and two busy teens, scheduling is of the utmost importance.

As I looked at the schedules for last Friday, I noticed that I could alleviate the stress of too much scheduling if I chose to make my day a walking day.  I was thrilled about this.

  • With a late start to my first destination – a friend’s house for breakfast – I was happy to have the huz drive me part way and drop me off at a convenient spot that still gave me about a half mile of walking. 

  • I left my friend’s house with Cub Foods as my next stop to pick up a wedding card and gift card (our standard gift – sorry to ruin it for anyone getting married in the future!) as our family attended a wedding on Saturday.

  • Interruption here that I will detail in a minute…

  • The final destination, of course, was to be the dentist’s office.

  • The huz then picked me up from the dentist’s office on his way home from his errands that day.

The total walking distance for this trip was about three miles which is just shy of the 5K that I am constantly hoping to conquer.  I would love to do a 5K every day.

“A 5K a day keeps the doctor away!”

As I walked on a busy street from my friend’s house to the Cub Foods, another friend (driving) saw me and stopped on the side of the road to offer me a ride.  I insisted that this was the plan and that I was fine.  The friend went on, turned around, and came back to make sure that I was sure of what I was doing.  I was sure, but I was also sure this friend would not take “no” for answer in response to her offer of a ride.

I crawled in and said,”My next stop is Cub Foods.”  As you can see by the Google map below, my friend’s kindness shaved off an entire half mile from my trip!  She offered to be my chauffeur for the day, but that really was not the point.


Eleven years ago, our family headed off on the adventure of a lifetime; we moved to Scotland for a year.  For many reasons, mostly financial, we saw no reason to purchase a car while we were there for that short amount of time.  We lived in the heart of Edinburgh – almost dead center between the kids’ school and the huz’s school.

Thus, we walked almost everywhere.

From time to time, we would take the bus (for long distances or if we were loaded down with groceries); however, most of that year was spent on our feet.  Our walk to church each Sunday was nearly the same distance that my friend save me on Friday.


I fear that we have become far too dependent upon our automobiles.  In doing so, we have lost many things, and I learned some of those things on my walk on Friday.

Our health is one thing that we are losing.  So many of us have gym memberships, and we drive to them.  If I would walk a 5K a day, I would not need a gym membership.  In addition, the endorphines released as I walk help balance the rest of my emotional self.  I work off anger, frustration, hurt, and sadness.  I sleep better when I walk because I have done something that day.

We lose sight of the people and places around us.  When I drive past an area or through an area, I spend very little time there.  I get through it and on to the destination.  When I walk, I engage in the area.  I pay attention to the people, the places, and the little things – like flowers in bloom.  I see things when I walk.  I get places when I drive.

Driving places allows our lives’ paces to get faster and faster while walking requires that the pace is only as fast as our feet.  When we lived in Scotland, we had far less going on than we do now that we are in the US.  In part, this was due to the limitations of making commitments within our travel distance.  When I took a job at the zoo and eventually at a school on the outskirts of the city, I had to factor in bus travel time and bus changes because the distance was too great to walk.

Even a trip to the grocery store required planning!

Our family does not regret living in Scotland and walking that year, nor do we regret having the ability to drive here in the US.  It is not that one way is better than the other; however, we need to count the cost in both situations and see what we could learn.

As I walked to the dentist on Friday, I was reminded again of the pace of our time in Scotland.  Much of my day required careful planning with distance and time accounted for in order to ensure that my feet could accomplish all that I needed them to do that day.  It is possible, and it is good to do it now and then to remember that three or four miles is not unconquerable for most of us.

Where will your feet take you today?

Please note: maps provided by Google Maps (maps.google.com).