by Ponsius Hanz Odaga
So, a few weeks ago I was at the DMV to get a state I.D. While standing in line, I met a couple of nice folks who were getting their driving licenses renewed. We began talking about how driving makes you incredibly lazy. Now please don’t be offended, but if you drive often, there is a high probability that you have been afflicted with this curse. And if you think you haven’t, then look back and just think of the last time you were in a parking lot and you refused to park in the back. You’d rather embark on an endless quest to find the coveted, elusive, and mysterious “good spot”.
Don’t get me wrong though– I think cars are pretty dang cool, but our bodies are parade-worthy amazing. So why don’t we walk? Sure, driving is easier and it gets you wherever you need to go much faster. But because of this, we tend to miss out on a lot, or spend our whole time screaming at other drivers. Seriously, I believe that more than 70% of drivers in the northeastern United States have road rage.
Anyway, I have an idea for all of us to just take a walk, whenever we travel somewhere or if you live near/in a city. Or take public transit and leave the driving to someone else. (Except for taxis, which tend to cost too much and be a poor experience.) Think about it, you will save money, meet new people or have time to yourself. I propose that we all become the Wayfarer in just 5 easy steps.
Step One: Plan to Leisurely Walk
Advice: I know I am redundant, but take your time. And don’t expect too much, just expect to see something new.
Story Time: I am currently interning in NY and every day when I walk home, I take my time to take in all the sounds & places around me. I love running into good musicians and dancers on the street & subway.
Step Two: Distraction
Advice: Plan to get distracted and walk wherever you see something interesting.
Story time: When I was in Paris, I was walking with a friend in search for dinner and we stumbled upon a bar where they were playing some nice funky soul music. We were dancing as we were walking by, and a lady came out and encouraged us to go in. Actually, it was more like she pulled us in. Anyway, we went in and partied it up for a hot minute with all of the people there. Then the bartender told us it was a private party and then we begrudgingly walked out. For the record, the people wanted us there and invited us in. AND they danced with us! But then again, they were drunk….
Step Three: Join In
Advice:When you see people doing something you think is cool, just hop on in. More often than not, if people are having a good time, they don’t mind other people jumping in who just wanna have fun too.
Story time: A couple weeks ago, I went to Bubble Battle NYC 2014 which I thought was fantastic. The amount of bubbles in the air seemed never ending. I swear we were the best kind of public servants because we definitely cleaned up Union Square that day.
I was there with a couple of friends and once in a while people came up to us asking what was going on. Later on, I noticed those same people jumping in on the action with bubble-creating items they just bought.
Step Four: Talk to your neighbor
Advice: If you are on public transit and someone is doing something, wearing something or reading something you like– talk to them. Be courteous and friendly, but know your boundaries because not all people will want to talk.
Story time: I was on the NY subway and working on a spoken word poem that I was going to perform at an open mic when I noticed the man next to me looking at what I was doing. He then said, “Hi, are you a poet? That’s a good line there” to me, and we began to talk about poetry. His wife was also on the train, and they asked to read my poem. In the end, they complimented my writing and gave me confidence in what I had written, which greatly reduced the pre-show jitters.
Step Five: Be I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T
Advice: When you get on to public transit be prepared to spend some time to yourself. Bring a great book to read, portable video games to play, journal to write in or music you want to listen to. Basically, keep yourself happy.
Story time: I can’t even begin to mention all the papers, assignments, readings, books that I have completed on megabus. There was one time I was reading a book that made me laugh loud enough where I had to apologize to the people next to me. Then megabus turned off the lights and I let out a big awww! This made all those around me laugh at my plight. In fact, I edited part of this article while on public transit.
Overall, the point is to take a walk through any interesting area you see and experience as much as you can. Talk to people and do what you want. It’s the fastest way to get to know an area and enjoy your time there. Public transit isn’t as bad as some people make it out to be. Chill out, accept the instability of life, and don’t forget to be awesome.