Purposeless Walking

man walkingIn our hectic world, too many people view walking as a means to an end at best and a waste of time at worst. But writers, among other creative thinkers, have long lauded the value of walking for the sake of walking—clearing one’s head, allowing inspiration to strike, taking in the scenery, and noticing people who inhabit the same world. Two key quotes from a fascinating article from BBC News, “The Slow Death of Purposeless Walking,” highlight what could be considered the spiritual aspects of such walking.

People should go out and walk free of distractions, says Nicholson. “I do think there is something about walking mindfully. To actually be there and be in the moment and concentrate on what you are doing.”

“Being out on your own, being free and anonymous, you discover the people around you,” says Solnit.

What do you think of the idea of purposeless walking?


  1. I took this to heart yesterday and set off down the streets. There was a direction to my walk, roughly, dictated by the paths and coastline, but I made myself use only the clock on my phone, and that only twice, until I stopped for lunch. The two hours of media-free walking drew me into prayers and thoughts both deep and light, deliberate and random. It felt strange–I am not often alone without other distractions or devices for long enough to get deeply into anything anymore. Even most learning happens through a computer now. I am so glad I went for the walk.

  2. I find that even what you might call purposeful walking ( as a means of getting from a to b) can have the benefits you speak of. I often choose to walk places rather than ride just to give myself that quiet reflective time I need. Likewise when walking with others conversation often flows in such a way that it becomes a real meeting of minds and souls. But then again I am a walker, I do knowof people who think it’s a waste of time. Thanks for an interesting post.

  3. Monday through Friday we walk our road. Sometime we are a force of 4 and sometimes Im alone. No matter the size of the group we walk to be a part of each others lives and to enjoy and be a part of God’s creation. There is nothing purposeless in our walk

  4. With the explosion of social media, our connections are getting lost. What if every parent would guide their children back to ‘the quiet’, to those vital human connections to family, friends and nature? Our world would be a more peace-filled place.

  5. My life had taken several turns for the he worse. With too much time on my hands and desperation in my heart, i began walks in the park. So many people jogged by, biked by and drove by. I was surrounded by people and yet, alone. Birds called each other, flowers dotted the grass, breezes refreshed, and sometimes I just walked in the rain. “Be still and know that I am God.” There is a lot to be said for that.

  6. I suppose it’s just natural for me. All around is so much to be grateful for, every step is another thought. If I can, I walk with my camera– which ultimately gives me even greater perspectives of my surroundings.
    The best, most inspiring walks are in nature, but nature can also be hidden in our city streets.

  7. Hmm. Well, I so appreciate this point! I love “rambling” – just meandering through a place without really knowing where I’m headed, but I would not call it purposeless, but rather “intentional” or “mindful” – a word used in the article. The word “purposeless” seems to suggest there is no point to it, but there is a point really. Just not an agenda. 🙂


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