Somebody asked a while back, “Why do you like hiking?” Even though there are a lot of fun benefits to hiking, it didn’t take me too long to come up with my top answer.
I like hiking because that is the speed at which human mind interacts best with the universe.
We spend a lot of time online, where our bodies are still but our mind is all over the place. People are terrible at learning under those conditions – we are just not very good at absorbing knowledge passively.
We ride in cars – again, the body is passive as the mind tries to take in things passing by. Many folks get absolutely insane when they are forced to drive slowly even though that’s still too fast to take anything in. Route 66 dried up and died when Interstate 40 came about, straightening and speeding up (and further pacifying) that travel corridor.
Ever notice a difference between kids who ride everywhere in the back of Mom’s car watching a movie on their phone and kids who walk or ride their bikes everywhere? The bike riders and walkers have a much better direction sense. There is an absolute epidemic of kids with no sense of geography or direction. Someone even came up with a name for it – dysgeographica.
We are concerned about Nature Deficit Disorder and we bemoan the idea that kids nowadays don’t have a good sense of direction – but we still rush in vehicles on roads where nature is excluded and navigation is simplified.
Trains are even faster and more constrained than cars on the road. At least on the interstate, you have the possibility of steering or stopping. On a train, you are confined to the tracks, someone else is driving, the train is moving even faster than a car, and there is no stopping when you want to.
Planes are even worse than that! Packed in like sardines and moving at 500 miles per hour five miles up in the air, how are we supposed to learn anything except that we hate flying?
Experience the universe with your whole body at the speed that your mind works best.
When you become concerned with moving from A to B faster than you can ambulate then you begin losing details and you become unable to make connections.
That’s why I like hiking.