Wonder Walks: An Introduction

Long long ago, in 2020, when the pandemic hit, everyone and their mother began to walk outdoors. It was our saving grace having been cooped up for months. In the north, it was cold, too. So there were two months in which it wasn’t even pleasurable to go outside. When it hit 50 degrees every inch of our beings was shouting hallelujah. Before this, I loathed walking. I thought it was so god awful, painstakingly slow. I had the tendency to want to run, to arrive to the destination– to GET THERE, wherever that was and be DONE with it. The pandemic, though, really said, NOPE, time to sloooow it all down. (I have a whole blog about how I think we ought to have coped with the pandemic). With that, the circumstances that arose, and some self-reflection, I found what I like to call one of my joy practices– my “Wonder Walks.”

About two weeks after the pandemic shut everything down full force, I ended up being a Nanny for my niblings out in Massachusetts for three months. Going on walks served many functions: to get my then 3-year-old nephew to eat his lunch, to get my 3-month old niece to fall asleep, to get our and the dog’s energy out, and last but certainly not least, to keep our f*cking sanity. 

This is when Wonder Walks started for me. Everyday in order to get him to eat lunch, we would go on “Adventure Walks” – we would play imaginary games, go on imaginary safaris, find new ways to move through the neighborhood, and stop and marvel at the ferns and flowers beginning to bloom. These were when I made some of my fondest memories with him. But then, by the time 5 o’clock rolled around, I would be absolutely spent. 

Handling kids all day, especially the mix of a toddler and an infant, was BRUTAL. I don’t know how people do it. God Bless all of the pandemic parents out there – I know you are still likely recovering, and Godspeed to you all. That aside, I’m also very much an introvert, which means I recharge alone. So as soon as I could, I unceremoniously left the kids with their parents and took off on a long bike ride or my own solo Wonder Walk. 

For walking, I’d take one of three routes. Behind the school into the woods, out through the skinny winding roads, or around the block through the neighborhoods. For the first about five minutes, I’d just be looping through that day, trying to breathe out the frustrations and breathe through the anxiety I felt when I began ruminating on all the things I wanted to do but didn’t have energy for now. I’d try to practice gratitude for a moment, thank the universe for giving me the time with my family – after all, it was something I had anguished over and asked for consistently for about four years leading up to this point. Then, what I’d try to do is just soak it all in. Some days that would look like practicing non judgment, where I’d just observe things objectively, almost clinically, and try to discover why it might be the way it is or where it is.

This was well before I read Maria Popova’s wonderful newsletter titled “How to Be Less Harsh with Yourself (And Others): Ram Dass on the Spiritual Lesson of Trees,” that compares the practices of  Ramm Dass to the writings of Walt Whitman and the traditions of Buddhism. Basically, the practice is to take how we treat trees, how we just observe them, we just appreciate the way they bend towards the light, the way a knot formed instead of a limb because perhaps there was some storm that damaged it – we just appreciate them as they are, we marvel at them even – take this practice and apply it to ourselves and each other. 

I’ve been building up to begin trying that on myself and others, but this is what I would often do on these walks with things in nature. Another thing I would do is just see if I could notice something I hadn’t before. Or smell something, or hear something. It was lovely to do in spring as new flowers, grasses, other seedlings and critters emerged, and new chirps sounded through the trees.

Now, here I am in January 2023 (as I began this writing), and I’m seeking out Wonder again. The winter is notoriously hard for a SAD them like me. I’m doing all of the things I can to get to a healthy baseline and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. I’m working out, moving my body, I’m going to therapy and working through big stuff, eating well, I’m on a consistent sleep schedule, I’m trying new things like the guitar and learning French, and I’m trying to stay connected to family and friends in new, more meaningful ways. I feel that I’m missing that… spark. I need joy in my days. I need more play in my life. 

There was a time when I had it consistently. It was, like it often is for many of us, when I was a child — up until around age seven, maybe eight. Before, I was unbridled by expectations, both externally and internally. I felt I was still deeply connected to my soul – I was completely unencumbered by the weights of the world on who I am. I knew precisely what I wanted to do and I had no fear of sharing that. The things that I have tried since then that have made me feel more joyful are:

  • 1. Dancing or Playing Soccer.
  • 2. Practicing gratitude
  • 3. Journaling
  • 4. Writing or Making Stories
  • 5. Wonder Walks

Therefore, as part of my little journey to gain back joy in my everyday life and to continue recovering my “inner artist,” I’m trying to incorporate these things back into my life little by little. And I’m going to document it and start by sharing my Wonder Walks. I’m a poet, a storyteller, and an aspiring filmmaker so I hope to take these walks and create through at least one of these mediums, but my goal it create something for each. This, too, I think will bring me lots of joy. For the poetry attributed to the walk, check out the poetry page, and for any videos I may create, follow me over on Tik Tok, Instagram, or YouTube. I’ll be sure to link to all of them in the main blog post pertaining to each walk, too.

I hope you find them fun, joyful, inspiring even, and then you feel compelled to share with me how you find your joy.

If you’ve read this far, a true heartfelt thanks.

Write soon. Love,




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