“In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
Walk to school, you lazy turd. Yeah, I’m talking to you. The one who could walk to campus in 10 minutes but instead you hop in your Toyota FJ Cruiser five minutes before class, almost take out three kids in the blinking crosswalks and then park in the West Stadium garage, which is probably farther from your classroom than your apartment.
Not only does walking to school save money on gas and hundreds of dollars on a parking pass (or parking tickets if you’re too cheap to buy a parking pass), walking to school is an enlightening and healthy experience in itself.
If you drive to school, can you enjoy the inspirational quotes painted on Eleventh Street and Buena Vista or the “fuck off” on the sidewalk in front of Pub N Sub? If you drive to school, can you mingle with friends and colleagues at the light on Virginia and Artemesia? If you drive to school, can you shoot dirty looks at freshmen through the windows of the DC? If you drive to school, are you going to reach your Fitbit goal today? Probably not.
When John Muir went for a walk, it was usually in the most beautiful places in the world. You can’t really compare a walk through Yosemite and a walk through an alley with garbage cans next to a cemetery in northwest Reno. But if you keep your eyes open and your mind sharp in that alley, you can receive far more than you seek. Maybe you’ll see a cute dog or a bum fight or you’ll find somebody’s wallet. That’s a viral WORLDSTARHIPHOP video and a Launderland credit card that you would have never received if you didn’t walk with nature.
Walking to school can be tough depending on where you live. If you live around campus it’s a given that you’ll be walking up a hill at some point. That’s why I recommend walking over riding a bike. I tried that for a while, and one day when I didn’t feel like riding up the Eleventh Street hill I left my bike on campus and it stayed there for three months. It was in the same spot I left it, so I guess it was too cheap to bother stealing.
When you walk to school you can burn some calories, you can enjoy the sunshine or you can enjoy the snow, you can walk with friends or you can walk by yourself, you can practice just walking if you aren’t very good at it, and you can listen to almost all of “The Life of Pablo” at once. What other activity allows you to do all those things at the same time?
Walking can be meditative. You can decide that walking time is me time, and it provides an opportunity to think, breathe and take a break from the day for a few minutes. Or you can use that time to get caught up on your texts, sexts, tweets and grinds. Just look up from your phone when you cross the street.
Unfortunately, not everyone can walk to class. If you are physically disabled, if you live in Lemmon Valley or Carson City, or if you have four jobs at different locations throughout the day like my friend Anthony, you are excused from walking to campus.
For everybody else, you better lace up your sneakers, throw in your headphones, pack a water bottle and dress 10 degrees cooler than you think you should because you are in for a world of back sweat.
I’ll leave you with one more quote from John Muir. He said, “The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” I’m pretty sure by “forest wilderness” he meant your walk down Evans from the Republic.
Ryan Suppe studies philosophy. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.