Meditative Adventure Walking
What is Meditative Adventure Walking?
Walking has to be the most universally accessible form of adventure there is. Outside of some comfortable, sturdy shoes, it doesn’t require specialized equipment; and you can do it year-round in any weather with the right clothing! When also used as a means of meditation and connection, it’s a powerful tool for learning about ourselves and the world around us.
There are many different ways to move your feet, but meditative adventure walking (MAW) is a different experience than strolling with a friend or speed walking for exercise. While all forms of walking are great in their own way, there are two things which make MAW distinct: solitude and space.
Walking can be a very meditative activity when you are left alone with your own thoughts, this is why I often choose to walk alone. This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy walking with friends… sometimes I’ll just have my own walk first!
When I have the chance to limit the amount of information coming into my mind, I can mull over the thoughts and ideas which already exist. This has helped me come up with creative new ideas and solutions to problems and it’s proved invaluable for understanding myself, my emotions, and behaviours.
The other component to a good MAW is space. I make time for this. Whether it’s shaving half an hour off my sleep to do a quick walk before work or setting aside half of a day, I’ve found that it’s important to give myself permission to aimlessly walk. The intrinsic value is really high, but it’s so easy to feel the need to justify an activity by its monetary value instead. It’s a practice of self-care to dedicate time for walking.
I create enough space to get lost in thought and engage my curiosity. I account for it in my schedule so I don’t have to feel like it’s taking away from something else or competing for my time. This is key for allowing myself to fully enter a focused state of flow.
It's walking around in that engaged, curious state that makes MAW such an adventurous activity. I think adventure is a mindset more than anything. It’s about seeing new things and seeing familiar things in new ways.
When we have the solitude to notice our surroundings without distraction, as well as the space in time to wander and follow any curious inklings, we can make deep connections. For this reason I park my vehicle and start hoofing it whenever I’m in a new place.
Walking is the perfect blend of relaxation and intrigue. It has just enough solitary contemplation to be meditative, but enough adventure to keep me curious and engaged. It’s my daily practice for self-care, and with the pandemic weighing heavy this has become more important than ever for my personal wellness.
If I can offer a prompt to help nurture curiosity on your next walk, it’s this: Just say “I wonder” as you look at different things in your area. See what follows and where it takes you!
Author and Photographer: Steve Abbott
Steve Abbott is an outdoor educator and artist based in Southern Saskatchewan. Focused on the benefits of spending time outside and making things with heart and hand, he is passionate about helping others nurture their creativity and connect with nature. You can find his work on YouTube and Instagram (@tumbleweednaturalist) or on his website www.tumbleweednaturalist.com.