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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Walk Slowly

Anywhere is walking distance, if you've got the time.
Steven Wright

Walk slowly...or quickly if you're late. Just WALK! One of the reasons we fell in love with our new apartment was because we have so many amenities within walking distance. There is no reason to use my car to run errands. All of the following is within a 5 minute walk:
  • 4 grocery stores (including the coop and another smaller health food store)
  • Library
  • Post Office
  • Hardware store
  • 8 coffee shops
  • Children's Museum (indoor playground)
  • Park
  • Ice cream shop
  • Every restaurant imaginable (from sushi to pizza)
  • Video rental store
  • 3 Thrift Stores
And if I just have to go somewhere else...the bus stop is 1 block away. Of course, when it's freezing cold, walking doesn't sound so appealing, so I do drive sometimes...but I try to avoid it. I have been working on planning my week so that if I do have to drive, I can clump everything into one trip. I've also been trying to be more mindful of if I truly "need" something. For example, do I NEED to go to Costco to buy my bread? They carry a locally made brand that I like...but it's on the other side of town on the busiest road in town. I can walk directly to the bakery that makes it and even though I'm spending a little more, I am saving on gas, emotional energy drained in traffic, and I would be supporting a local business. Or I could just make my own bread! But that's another post. I would encourage YOU to examine your extra car trips and work on condensing them or eliminating them altogether.

This morning it was about 20 degrees and we bundled up and walked to our friend's house for a play date. I was not really looking forward to the cold weather, but the rewards were many:
  • Exercise. It feels so great to walk. Move those legs!
  • Fresh air. Freezing cold fresh air. It was good.
  • A slower pace...which results in you inevitably looking around at your surroundings. Today I noticed so many wonderful things on our walk...a family having breakfast around their table, cute houses along the way, majestic mountain views...things that I wouldn't have paid attention to if I would have jumped in my car and rushed over there.
  • Time to think. Check out this interesting essay on walking by Henry David Thoreau.
My entire life I've wanted to live in a city that I could walk places, but I've always thought I'd have to move to Manhattan to find it! Walkability will be at the top of our lists the next time we move (let's hope that's not for awhile). I feel so blessed that we have the opportunity to "stroll" to our destination. Next on my list...a sweet cruiser like this one. Wheeeeeee!

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Blogger Nikki said...

Yes, walking is great and I have been a lot more mindful in the past 6mths. Being in the Southern hemisphere, we're finally getting slightly cooler days with summer over which makes it a bit more appealing to be out walking. I've enjoyed following your journey of downsizing after reading that infamous thread on MDC last year. It even inspired me to begin blogging. :)

3/29/2007 11:05 PM  
Blogger L.L. Barkat said...

I'm with you on the going outside thing. I've been making time for it each day, then writing once I come inside. Yes, I notice what I would not otherwise notice, and it is a world of blessing to me!

3/30/2007 5:16 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Pivec said...

Living here in the burbs walking is not so easy. It BURNS me how they are all designed for cars. That said, we DO have a few things in walking distance and even more in biking distance. I LOVE to walk and bike and even though we all know how to ride bikes now (YEA!) I've saved our trailer for trips to the market.

A book I KNOW you'd like (a favorite of mine) is Scott Savage's, A Plain Life: Walking My Belief.

I was surprised to see your new, quick post. I've lurked here often enough, but never comment because there's usually 45 or so ahead of me (good for you! :) ). Anyway, I'm Nicole~ happy to "meet" you. You've done a beautiful job at your new place.

I have a new "place" myself here at Blogger, having moved from by old site just last night. Come by and say hello if you get a chance!

Peace & Blessings,

3/30/2007 5:28 AM  
Blogger emily said...

That's really great you have so many things within a reasonable distance, and I'm just a little jealous ;-) We're at least a twenty minute drive from *everywhere*. I dream of someday living in a place where things are in walking distance.

3/30/2007 5:41 AM  
Blogger km said...

I've always dreamed of that too. I do live close to a grocery store and the So. Mill is not a whole lot farther. And I've always wanted a cool bike like that!!!

Can't wait til I can come walk slowly with you!

3/30/2007 5:55 AM  
Blogger angela said...

I hope you get that groovin' bike. I'm on the prowl myself now for a bike.
We live about 20 minutes away from everything but I usually will go downtown and park my car at our church and then proceed to walk or ride the bus places. Hopefully, soon, if the Lord allows, we will be moving closer to everything and I will even be able to take the bus to work. YIPPIEE!! Thanks for your posts, by the way; they make me think and wanna do something with myself. I always talk Charlie's head off about them. =)

3/30/2007 6:13 AM  
Blogger Heth said...

I love that photo.

You know, we can't really walk for our errands, we are a good two miles out of town. One of the best decisions I ever made though was to have the kids ride the bus to school. I can't even BELIEVE how much money we are saving on gas, it's ridiculous. The trade off though is that Cam comes home singing some interesting songs that she hears on the radio. Grrrrr.

3/30/2007 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Sara,

Your blog is so inispiring. Thank you for sharing. If you are taking requests, I'd love to learn more about how you found your church and if you have any pointers.


3/30/2007 6:52 AM  
Blogger Sonja said...

Instead of posting all my excuses (too hot, too far, too... um...), let me vow to do better. Today, I need to go to the post office, the copy shop, and the dry cleaner - I will do all that by foot. Pinky swear!
Thanks for the inspiration!

3/30/2007 8:15 AM  
Blogger Chelee said...

Yippie for walking! We live in town just for this reason as well. It's the best.

3/30/2007 8:58 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

For those of you who live beyond the distance of reasonable's just about being more mindful of your gas consumption. I know you can't walk everywhere...but you could Combine trips, carpool, or find alternatives. Or just move closer! :)

3/30/2007 9:09 AM  
Anonymous VaxGirl said...

My mom actually lived her whole life in Manhattan and never even learned to drive. She walked everywhere for errands and took the bus to work. I think it's what kept her strong until she turned 80, hauling groceries up 3 flights of stairs, no osteo for her!

3/30/2007 9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your list is making me jealous! I never had a car for 15 years, during which I lived in Boston, Oxford (England), New York, Prague (Czech Republic), and London (England). I got to everything on foot or by public transportation or, occasionally, by taxi.

Then we moved back to Iowa, and we didn't have much within walking distance. We do try to walk when we can, though, and we also consolidate car trips sometimes (could do better on that, though).


3/30/2007 11:44 AM  
Blogger Fiddle Mama said...

I loved this post. We are also very blessed to live with 5-10 minutes walk of the co-op, an Asian market, the library, the aquatic center, a park with a duck pond, a gorgeous knitting shop, a coffee shop, a music store, the post office, and a holistic pharmacy. Shamefully, I have been letting the cold weather and my 5 month preggo belly keep me and my toddler inside too often. You have inspired me- thank you!!!

3/30/2007 12:19 PM  
Blogger Pea said...

Walking is the best. The Steven Wright quote is one of my favorites. Once upon a time, I planned to walk across the country. I walked every day in preparation for it, usually four hours or more and I loved it. I also coached a marathon walking group. Several people who never thought they would ever do a marathon, walked their way to the finish line. I walked 6 miles every day until the week before I delivered my baby. It's fabulous, low-impact exercise. There's a great book called Walking Through Pregnancy and Beyond. Even if you can't walk to do errands, walking is so good to do every day. When I visited my mom in Hawaii, all of her Asian neighbors walked every morning and evening. They were all very healthy and thin and would look at me very strangely when I would run by. They probably knew that walking was better for you than running. Thanks for the great post. I love it when someone promotes walking.

3/30/2007 1:22 PM  
Blogger compactmanifold said...

What a nice neighborhood you have in Bozeman! Even in Cambridge, MA I don't have 8 coffeeshops within a 5 minute walk. However, a 5 minute bike will get me to just about anything I could want.

Good luck on the bike finding! Don't forget the trail-a-bike for Ms. Bella once she's big enough - they're made for adventuring and I bet all y'all would have a blast with something of the sort.

3/30/2007 11:49 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I love that you're describing sustainable ways to live in the city. I think sometimes people get in the mindset that a person has to live in the country and raise chickens and grow vegetables in order to live a sustainable life, when a well planned city supported chiefly by its surrounding agriculture and local artisans is really the way to go and benefits everyone. Maybe Oliver and I will walk to my mom and dad's today...the only place within a day's walk for us!

3/31/2007 7:16 AM  
Blogger Faith said...

I've tagged you for a meme on my blog...

3/31/2007 12:01 PM  
Anonymous HippieMommy said...

We looked for the same things when we bought this house, and I love that we can walk to almost all of the things that we need on a day-to-day basis. There is something so satisfying in knowing that you got everything done without driving. I love it.

3/31/2007 5:48 PM  
Anonymous Emilie said...

I am within walking distance to a grocery store. My big question is tho- since I do not have a decent double stroller- how would I get both kids there? Would it be worthwhile to buy one?
For our daily walks since I babysit a extra kid I have the 3 yo's walk and then I stroll the baby. I could carry the baby and stroll the 3 yo.
Hmmm.... thinking out loud.
I love it.

4/01/2007 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Over the weekend the Des Moines Register profiled the home of Suzanne Levitt, who was the first to buy a loft in one of the redeveloped buildings downtown. Although it's not a small place, you might like the feature on her loft lifestyle:

Here's a fun excerpt:

Five things Suzanne Levitt loves about her neighborhood: "Walking, walking, walking, walking and walking.''

Within walking distance: East Village, Des Moines Botanical Center, Skywalk, new Central Library downtown, Science Center of Iowa.

Where she shops: Graziano Brothers Grocery, 1601 S. Union St.; New Oriental Food Store, 515 E. Grand Ave.; Downtown Des Moines Farmers Market, Dahl's Foods (the one on Fleur or the one on Ingersoll).

Where she eats: Typically at home, but she likes to dine at Tumea & Sons, 1501 S.E. First St.; Lucca, 420 E. Locust St.; Centro, 1101 Locust St.; High Life Lounge, 200 S.W. Second St.; Continental, 428 E. Locust St.; Forty Three, inside the Hotel Fort Des Moines, 10th and Walnut streets.

4/01/2007 9:52 PM  
Blogger AIMEE said...

We live about a 10 minute drive from everything except church! We are 1/2 mile from our church and try to walk every is glorious to walk in a bit breathy, invigorated and ready for worship after our 15 min. walk through creation.
When I am at a shopping strip, I used to park, go in to a store, go get my van and move it down to another store. Now the children and I will just walk from one end to the other instead of moving the van. Another great idea I got from "The Suburban Christian" is to park at the far end of the parking lot so that you get more time to walk in to the store.
Great post!

4/02/2007 6:19 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Many times I wish I lived in the wilds of the countryside. And maybe someday I will. But I will confess that I love in town living. I do not live anywhere as interesting as you. But I can walk to the meat market, the pizza place and a medium sized grocery store. I can bike to work in the spring/summer/fall. And my sitter is only a block away from home. I like my small radius and my kids don't think walking somewhere is a novel concept.

4/05/2007 6:47 AM  
Blogger Jenny said...

There's nothing like a good walk, and it sounds like your new place is very centrally located. Within a four block radius of my office we have our health food store, my best friend's home, thrift shop, restaurants, doctor's office, yoga studio and a few other gems. Our home is a bit further away, but it's always just a short biodiesel-fueled bus ride away.

4/06/2007 10:20 AM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I just came across your blog via Wendy (Showered With Grace). The first thing that stood out was Bozeman. I am a former Bozo. I graduated from Belgrade and went to MSU and now live in NC.

I love the picture and seeing the Rialto and the Baxter. I went to a church service in the Rialto once.

I am glad I stumbled upon your blog.

4/10/2007 8:07 PM  
Blogger Lynds said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4/13/2007 11:32 AM  
Blogger Lynds said...

I was hoping to find an email address for you, but couldn't. You have inspired me in so many ways! One thing Ive been wanting to accomplish, is what you jumped and did sometime back - moving from a house to smaller living. I believe you were in Des Moines when I first found you, but I see you are in Montana now, and I wonder if I'm just losing my memory. But we live in Iowa, and Des Moines is part of our consideration, and I really wanted to ask you a few questions about locale and where/how to find a great apartment. I loved your brick apartment, and key location is necessary (we only have one vehicle).... anyway I really just wanted to chat with you.

If you want to drop me a line you can reach me at - iheartmocha AT gmail DOT com (sorry to write that like a pain, hoping to avoid spam). I hope you have a blessed day.

4/13/2007 1:18 PM  

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