Unexpected Clarity: When You Let Your Feet Do the Walking

A few weeks ago I hopped on a plane for a business trip that was only going to last 36 hours. I had one all day meeting to attend but to be kind to my body I flew in the day before. My destination, Boston. I’d never been which only enhanced my excitement. I love traveling to new places. It doesn’t even have to be a different country or state but those qualities do push an adventure up the rungs of my list.

To be completely truthful though, Boston was never a city on my ‘must-see before I die’ list. As a result, before the trip, I didn’t know much about the city and had forgotten a lot about its role in history. Honestly, the only thing I was working off of was the impression a native Bostonian co-worker left on me during my first job out of college. Essentially, I envisioned a cold city filled with hot-headed people speaking with barely discernible Bostonian accents. I imagined asking someone that I would like to rent a vehicle and they would reply with “You want a SUV or a Kah {car}?” Aside from that, I was a clean slate when it came to expectancies about the city. In fact, I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t even realize it was farther north than NY. I just knew it was Northeast. It wasn’t until I was on the plane and in route that upon turning on the flight map I finally had a detailed understanding of Boston’s relation to the rest of the world.
 
Checking emails and answering calls as soon as I stepped off the plane limited by ability to admire my new surroundings. I headed straight to my client’s office and worked in an available office, luggage and all, for a few hours. Around 2pm I decided to pack it up. Sometimes I forget the benefit of being your own boss, like making your own hours. As a woman traveling solo, I knew daylight hours would be the prime time to explore a new location. I could easily put in a few more work hours that night from the comfort of my hotel room if needed. So I quickly walked the five blocks to my hotel, checked-in and threw on a pair of workout pants and sneakers. I slung a small purse across my chest and without a plan, map or itinerary, I stepped outside and turned right.
 
Exploring Boston organically was beautiful. I let my feet decide where they wanted to go and then I sat back and let the rest of me enjoy the ride. Being a Pisces and lover of water it didn’t surprise me when my feet’s first stop was at the port. My whole being is drawn to water, how could I expect any other outcome. I bathed in the summer sun and watched as tour boats came in and out of the harbor. It was the perfect day, with a light breeze cooling my heated skin. Like a phone when it finally reaches full charge, I knew almost instantly when my body had consumed its requisite amount of vitamin D and was ready to explore more. I walked for over two hours. For the first time, without effort, I easily surpassed my iPhone goal of 10,000 steps/day.
 
One aspect of the city that I really admired was the architecture. Having been burned to the ground during the Civil War, my home city, Atlanta, doesn’t have the same density of older and timeless architecture.
 
I won’t go through every step, thought or experience but I have some photos to share! I wish I’d taken more but being in the moment I forgot to whip out the camera a few times. 
Taking a short break on a bench in a quaint neighborhood park, I watched as people walked back and forth from wherever they were coming from, and going to wherever they needed to be. I pondered the immense number of lives taking place in parallel. Some lives irrevocably intertwined with one another, others that brush ever so lightly and politely and yet many more that never touch at all, passing ships in the night.
 
Back up again and walking, it was in this state of thought that I heard the tingling of metal on metal. I looked to my right and saw a waterfall of dog tags (Dog Tag Garden Memorial). I read the placard and learned that it was created to honor the soldiers that had fallen during the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. My thoughts fluidly changed course. I began to internalize the meaning of the word patriotism. Why would these people be willing to put themselves in harms way for others, especially those they’ve never met? How many had experienced the solid love of a life partner; witnessed the first smile of a child. The wind once again caressed the tags and I closed my eyes to listen to and pay homage to the ghostly whispers of lives that had completed their brief moment in time.
I walked past towering brick churches with roots in the American Revolution, bakeries with the most enticing scents wafting from their storefronts and inner city parks filled with the delightful squeals of children. I walked and observed and let it all soak into my spirit and leave its own unique messages and lessons on my soul. That unplanned experience is what prompted me to write this unusual “diary-esque” post. I simply wanted to provide an example and then ultimately encourage you to try something similar yourself. No plans, no schedules, no preconceived notions. Take a walk. Be open to the experience and embrace the journey.
 
I plan to do the same in my hometown soon! I can only shimmy with unbridled anticipation as I think about what adventures I can find in my own backyard.
 
Tell me about your own journeys and adventures and the most impactful moments you experienced!
 
~Nicole Selena