Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Always a bit in reserve

Hi. Margie from Toronto gave me the idea for this post, she asks the following questions.....

Do you walk mainly for exercise - or to see the sites - or to have time to yourself - or is it a combination?

All of those Margie, plus a few others. I can't put them in any particular order because they are all equally important. Let's start at the top, I believe it is very important to do some sort of exercise, anything that gets you moving, even those with limited mobility should do something. My hips and knees are holding out for me, and the easiest thing is to put one foot in front of the other, walk until I've had enough and stop.

Enjoying my surroundings is important, seeing new places, learn about how the countryside works, meeting new people and asking questions. I love to find out how other people live their lives. On a long walk I have to limit my chatting because I also want to get on and do the miles. That's where the challenge of exercise comes in. I have to strike a balance. I get a buzz from pushing myself to do more, and feel a great sense of satisfaction that I have covered a lot of ground. Also carrying a big rucksack makes it a bit awkward to be a tourist in a town centre. I have a quick look round while I am there, take a few snaps, that's a nice building etc, but don't expect any in depth historical facts about the place. I would rather linger a bit longer in a quiet and beautiful country setting, than dodge the traffic and shoppers in a concrete jungle.

I already have a lot of time to myself in my daily life, but I am not completely free as I have the responsibility of looking after animals. I am lucky that I have a very good friend who cat sits for me so I am able to get away. If I couldn't leave my local area I would go bonkers, I need to travel.  If I haven't been anywhere for a while I feel trapped and start crawling up the walls. I have to pack a bag and go. I am a free spirit and not used to being stuck in one place. As far back as I can remember I have always had this sense of freedom, that I can go anywhere I like. It started when I left home at 18, I moved around wherever the fancy took me. I suppose I am sort of settled where I am now, because I am at an age where I can make the best life for myself wherever I am, but I still have to go walkabout.

I am well used to spending hours on my own. Driving 300 miles in a truck every day, I have learnt to find enough mental stimulation within my own head. My mind can wander anywhere I want it to, and I can draw on the memories of my past experiences to take me somewhere else. Some people might call that daydreaming, I call it living with my thoughts within my head. I am at peace with myself.

I am a great believer of a healthy body is a healthy mind, the two are connected. So my need for exercise is important to me because it makes me happy. I've been reading an article about an experiment where people waiting for chemo for their cancer treatment were put on a programme of exercise for several weeks until they were called into hospital. Rather than let them wallow in self pity at home while they waited, they had to sign up and commit themselves to workout three times a week. In all cases they recovered more quickly after the chemo, than those who didn't exercise.

When I set off it's like I have cast off the shackles of life. Everything I do for the duration of the walk is up to me, I am in control, I make all the decisions. I walk fast, or slow, or stop, or sit down. I don't have to be anywhere at any particular time. I try and plan where I will be spending the night, but it is always a hit and miss affair. It's the sense of freedom it gives me which ultimately gives me an incredible sense of well being. There are one or two anxious moments, like oh bugger I've missed a turn, but hey, we miss plenty of turns in our lives. We either go back and find the right way, or forge ahead and find a new way. That is life.

There are doubts as to whether I will find a bed every night, but something always turns up. Like the taxi driver who picked me up near Buxton and gave me a bed at his house because all the B & B's were too expensive for me. Or the time I found a pub at 7.30pm but there was no beds left. I carried on walking and found a place at 9pm. Or the time I left Selby in the morning and arrived at the Humber Bridge at 9pm after walking 30 miles in 13 hours. When you think you can't do any more, you can always find a bit in reserve, you've just got to push yourself that bit harder.

Thank you for the questions Margie, I hope I have answered them well enough for you.

Bye for now, Toodle pip.

18 comments:

  1. A lengthy explanation! But, I think we all understand your need for walkabout a bit better, now. I have that wandering spirit, too, but I have commitments at home that don`t always let me indulge in walking or cycling about. I keep active as long as I can, gardening, shopping, looking after Alyssa and DB, cooking, cleaning house and doing whatever necessary to keep life going. I`m hoping that I will be similarly fit as you when I get to retiring age, and then I might also find the time to indulge in my wanderlust far more.
    Looking forward to your exploits in envy, already.

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  2. I really admire you. Of course I am so envious as I am tied to an office. I day dream about retiring so I can live like you!

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  3. "I AM A FREE SPIRIT"

    "I AM AT PEACE WITH MYSELF"

    Ha ha. Get over yourself.

    Pomposity doesn't sit well on an old age pensioner.

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    1. Hey troll, you said you weren't coming back. What happened, your life so pathetic you can't stop reading about mine? Hop it.

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    2. From Margie in Toronto - thank you so much for this thoughtful reply Ilona - and your troll can take a flying leap! How rude!

      I love to walk - city and country as it lets you understand the venue so much better than whisking by in a car. I'm lucky to live in a city that you can walk in - not always the case in North America - and I'm also lucky to have a lot of green space within the city - along with being close to the lake and all the lovely walks along there - although it would be lovely to just pick up and go it will have to wait a few more years until retirement.
      I also agree with what you say about exercising even if you have physical limitations. It's been a tough winter over here so my walking has been very curtailed (I walk with a cane) but I'm finally able to get outside again and you're right it makes one feel so much better. Every year I manage a 5km charity walk - takes me about an hour and 10 minutes and I even managed 20km for another charity walk a couple of years back - my aim this year is to get back to that level. Not up to your standards Ilona but if I can manage those distances with RA and a torn up knee then I would think that most folks could manage it eventually. I'm really looking forward to following along on your latest adventure. Have a wonderful time.

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    3. Hi Margie. Just keep doing what you are doing, every step you take is progress. Feel the sun on your skin and listen to the twittering birds, it's wonderful; outside.

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    4. And you are a coward..."Anonymous".

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  4. Last year I could only garden sitting down. This year I can walk about. Still a long way to go. I do exercises all day. Have a good time. Natalie

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  5. I just thought I'd add that all of your friends in blogland must be pompous then - silly comment - go and have a nice time. Natalie

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  6. "There are one or two anxious moments, like oh bugger I've missed a turn, but hey, we miss plenty of turns in our lives. We either go back and find the right way, or forge ahead and find a new way. That is life."
    I like that. It gives me some comfort.

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  7. As someone who is approaching a certain age - I certainly aim to be a little pompous - it goes with my intention to grow old disgracefully! Good on you for all that you do and say. I have been a reader for a long time but rarely comment. You are an inspiration to me and I love reading your blog, it is a ray of sunshine in my day.

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    1. Thank you Fran. Stuff the troll, ha ha.

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  8. Hi, I think its admirable to be at peace with yourself and to be a free spirit, I guess this idiot of a troll is somewhat envious of your freedom and abilities. Go for it life is for living I say.

















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  9. I thought the nuisance person had gone but I see the ugly head has been risen again. I like looking at the pictures and reading about your travels Ilona. Will you be having a night at the Penrith Truck Stop, Do you remember the Valentines Party we had there some years ago? Can you not block the troll from your blog, I wonder if it bothers other blog sites.
    Danneke taking time out from weed killing

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    1. Hi Danneke. Yes, I might end up at Penrith Truckstop overnight, only £22 for a bed :o) Yes, I have photo's of the Valentines party, I remember it well. Would be good to have a couple of pints in the bar with the truckers again.

      I can block the comments sent by the troll, by not publishing them. That's what I normally do. I thought I would let this one through because they said they wouldn't be visiting my boring blog again. Couldn't keep away eh! You won't see any more from them as they will get dumped as soon as they arrive. Don't know why they bother really.

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  10. We walk to get out and enjoy the countryside, to keep fit and for the pleasure of seeing our dog have a great day out!

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  11. Hi Ilona,
    My first time posting. I have enjoyed reading blog about living well on less and not feeling deprived. I am facing that myself these days, after losing another job (the second in 7 years) and being close to retirement age (in the US). I also love walking and have thought about doing walking tours. I live in New Hampshire which is still very rural but there are so many other places here in the US that I would like to visit. Just wondered how you stay safe. I know the crime in England is much less than here in the states but there are still bad people everywhere. Have you encountered any problems and if so, how have you handled them? Would be helpful to know what safety precautions you take.

    Thanks for your blog,
    Gail

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    1. Hi Gail. Picked out an old post for you and re posted. Saves me writing it out all again. Get your boots on girl and get out there.

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