30 Day Walking Challenge

Inspired by my recent trips, during which I toured towns and villages primarily on foot, and the nature walk I took yesterday, I have set a challenge for myself. It is called, appropriately, the 30 Day Walking Challenge.

My intention is to walk every day for the next 30 days. Fourteen months ago, I did a 28 day cleanse, in which I ate only fruits and vegetables. At the end of those four weeks I saw such improvements in my health and well being, that I chose to embrace a plant based lifestyle as a result.

My desire is to experience this challenge in an open, committed and yet playful way, and see what the resulting changes are. I am curious to see what impact a daily walk has on my life.

Because creative play is so important to me, as is cultivating new experiences, I’ve added elements of both to this challenge. The rules of this game are simple.

• Walk every day, preferably outdoors. Fall is actually an ideal time to begin a walking challenge, with its cooler temps. Rain or sunshine, cool or warm, I intend to walk outside and dress for the weather. In the case of thunderstorms or torrential rain, I can walk at the mall or find another indoor location.

• Walk in a new location every day. This is the new experiences part, the fun part. I can get easily bored, and boredom can kill exercise for me, no matter how beneficial it is. Changing the location for my walk daily keeps me challenged mentally as well as physically.

Nature is a great place to walk, and there are many walking paths through woods and along rivers in my area. I’m excited to visit some of these hiking trails for the first time. And, one of the things I love about travel is exploring new cities and villages on foot. I intend to do the same in my own community and the surrounding areas. There are places in Joplin that I have not explored, and I live, conveniently, in an area where four states converge. There are endless towns to explore within two hours of me.

Today, on Day 2 of my 30 Day Walking Challenge, I explored the Joplin High School Campus on foot. I drive by this impressive new complex, built after the 2011 Joplin tornado, and live just two blocks from it. And yet, I have never walked the grounds.

I peeked inside the on site greenhouse…

…and appreciated the colorful tennis courts…

…and paused for a few minutes to watch a high school soccer match.

The campus is large, and beautiful, with nature areas alongside manicured lawns, buildings and sports fields. Because there is an abundance of underground springs and water in this area, there are carefully designed ravines to carry off excess water and ponds for collection. In the middle of the city, in the middle of this school campus, there are wild places for flowers and ornamental grasses to grow.

I enjoyed my walk around the high school campus. As I walked home, through neighborhoods that are new since 2011 and still under construction, I mulled over possibilities for future walks.

I intend to take solitary treks. And walk with others as well, family members and friends, companions on journeys of exploration, self discoveries and good health. I’m excited to walk with each of my children, along with their spouses and children and pets, in their neighborhoods. I’ll travel to Columbia to walk with my grandson Dayan. I can walk to my sister’s house, to the library and in downtown Joplin. My mom and I can link arms and take a stroll in her neighborhood, and when I visit my other sister next month in Broken Arrow, for the family Halloween party, we can traipse through her subdivision, in costume or not!

I know from past experiences that when I play such an expansive game, the Divine plays along with me, opening doors and bringing opportunities I could not have imagined. I’m in a state of high anticipation. Join me on my journeys, literally if you want to extend an invitation to walk. Greg has already invited me to walk a golf course with him, while he plays. His desire to walk more has been part of the inspiration for my own walking challenge.

Where will my walks lead me? And how will my body, heart and soul respond to these daily excursions? I’m excited to find out.

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