The wonders of walking


As far back as antiquity, the ancient Greeks knew the benefits of walking in nature. In the modern day, journalist Bernice Nikijuluw confirms that taking a stroll outside is indeed good for body and mind.

I was sitting in the car next to my new love, an Englishman with whom I had gone to Yorkshire, UK, for the weekend. I wondered if we could stop to explore the beautiful landscape on foot. We’d left London early that morning and had been driving for at least an hour through these lush green hills, dotted with dry stone walls and lots of sheep. I suggested a walk, and my beloved responded with amazement. It had not occurred to him at all.

Across the English landscape

The Englishman and I have now been together for more than a quarter of a century. That day in Yorkshire, I’d convinced him that just looking at a landscape through a car window is not nearly as much fun as being out in it. Together, we have now crossed large parts of England and Wales on foot, as well as regions even farther away from home. When we lived in London, we both had full-time jobs and we used the weekends to get out into nature. We’d book a bed and breakfast in a small village and buy a detailed map showing all the footpaths in the area. Called ‘public rights of way’, these paths often run across farmyards and private estates. It was a question of planning a route (ensuring there would be a pub at the halfway point), lacing up our hiking boots and setting off. At the end of the weekend, with tired legs, healthy lungs and an overall Zen feeling, we would return to London with renewed energy.

Walking to clear the mind

We have now lived in Amsterdam for quite a while, and though daily life is far more easy-going, we miss the complete relaxation of a walking weekend. It is harder to find untouched nature here, so we wander out less. But I’ve discovered it is possible to go for beautiful walks in our little country, and I have started to remember just how good walking in nature is for clearing the mind.

  • The full story ‘The wonders of walking’ can be found in Issue 24.

Text Bernice Nikijuluw Photography Anouk De Kleermaeker Styling Anne-Marie Rem