I’d like to thank the YouTube channel Not Just Bikes for the title of this entry.
One of the best things about being in Europe was the ability to get anywhere I needed without having to use a car. Sure, sometimes you were still using the roads via buses, but for destinations that weren’t destinations, your feet could give you the world. Most shops were within walking distance, or a short stint with public transportation and a walk away. Wide sidewalks, shops on the main street, pubs in neighborhoods. All things that really can’t happen in the US due to zoning laws and the like.
I got way more exercise every day over there without trying, and it wasn’t just because I was going to visit tourist sights. A grocery store was basically at the end of the street, as were any small restaurants that I would need. Here, we have to drive everywhere to do anything, unless you live in a special mixed use district. The closest grocery store is three miles away, and I live in a pretty suburban dense area. The closest good gas station is over a mile away, which is where I might even approach being able to get the things I would at a bodega.
Today, I decided to use my world as my gym, by walking to that gas station. I could have driven five miles to my gym, and worked out, or I could walk about 2.5 miles round trip to get a couple of 20oz drinks (zero calorie, naturally). It wasn’t a hard walk, but almost all of it was inside a neighborhood. To get to the gas station, I had to cross a five lane road at a crosswalk that didn’t give me a signal. I didn’t particularly feel safe crossing even in the crosswalk, and of course I was the only one doing it. Everyone else was in their steel cages. Blessed with air conditioning, I assume. It was around 87F/30C, and high humidity. Civil engineering couldn’t really fix that, but it didn’t add to the experience.
I was back in just under an hour, and had my exercise done for the day. But I can’t see myself doing it tomorrow. Maybe once a week? I don’t need to spend money on overpriced chilled drinks on a daily basis just to not go the gym. I need more varied places, or places with varied reasons. Like a corner grocery store, something that isn’t too common around here.
Unfortunately, that isn’t going to change for quite some time. I do think that a plan is forming to change where we live, but I don’t know what the end result will be, and if I’ll be happy with half-measures. I know the reasonable side of me understands that moving to the UK is a long shot at best, but I can’t help keeping it as a dream and working toward making it attainable. I do have to listen to reason though, and not view good as the enemy of perfect. Even small efforts to change my outlook should be embraced with a positive attitude and open mind.
I need a new gym of life, but I don’t know where or when it will be. And I have to be okay with that.