Walking as Escape

Do you walk towards something, or do you walk away from it? When it’s the latter, then walking is escape – from cares, from responsibilities. How often have you decided to go for a walk because there is something nagging at you, some task to be done, some confrontation to avoid?

Walking to get away, like running to get away, is a response to pressure. It can be literal escape – the duck down a side corridor at work because someone you want to avoid is coming the other way. It can also be metaphorical escape, in fleeing pressure.

Or it can be liberating, an escape from a mental cage – walking to escape the confines of the house or office on a sunny day when you are bursting to stretch your legs. That escape is thrilling, it’s energizing. We’ve all felt it, that release of energy. It’s the relief you get when you can get off the plane after a long flight – that feeling of release when you’re let out of the aircraft and are walking towards the baggage carousel, of finally being able to uncoil and unwind – that’s walking as escape.

Walking to escape isn’t quite the same as walking as procrastination. That’s also about avoiding things to be sure, but procrastination is about putting things off. Escape is about breaking free and not going back. Walking as procrastination actually builds pressure because you know you’re going to have to do the thing eventually. Walking as escape means leaving that pressure behind, that sense of responsibility.

We use the phrase “care free” to describe that sensation, and it’s no accident that “free” is part of the phrase. Freedom may be temporary, perhaps we’re on metaphorical parole from our cares, but that sense of freedom that comes from a good walk is one of the best parts of it.