If You Want Adventure, Take a Walk

Bruce Bochy will eventually be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He only hit 26 homers as a major league catcher. Clearly, that’s not his ticket to Cooperstown. After his playing career ended, Bruce became a manager…first with the San Diego Padres and then with the San Francisco Giants. He led his teams to the World Series four times, winning three of them. Only nine other managers have ever done that. And, they are all in the Hall of Fame. When Bruce retired at the end of the 2019 season he was only the 11th manager with 2,000 wins. The other ten are in the Hall of Fame.

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I suspect Bruce will start that special day, when it eventually comes, with a long walk around the Village of Cooperstown along Lake Otsego. 

Bruce Bochy loves to take long walks. That passion probably saved his life. In 2015 he had two stents placed near his heart to improve blood flow. Bruce’s heart was 90% blocked. Doctors told him that without his regular walks he might not still be alive.

Playing, or managing, baseball gives you a lot of time when your team is on the road. For a night game you don’t need to be at the stadium until mid-afternoon. Bruce liked to use that free time every day to walk. 

In 2015 he wrote, “A Book of Walks.” Bruce tells the story of eight different walks. There’s the walk in Milwaukee from the stadium back to the hotel after a night game. That four mile walk felt much longer as Bruce found himself going through some “interesting” neighborhoods.

Bruce and his wife Kim enjoy walking together. One of their favorite routes is walking from their condo across from the Giants stadium to Coit Tower and back. Bruce describes different restaurants along the way where he and Kim have eaten and then gives us some history about Lillian Hitchcock Coit whose money paid for the tower after she died in 1929.

Chicago and New York are great cities to explore by foot and, of course, Bruce has put a lot of miles on his shoes in those two places. In Chicago he loves walking along Lake Michigan. His favorite part of Manhattan is Central Park.

Bruce also tells us about the walk where he twisted his ankle. That happened while he was climbing Camelback Mountain in Arizona during one spring training. Thankfully, he wasn’t walking solo when this happened. In fact, the Giant’s orthopedic surgeon was part of the group. 

The final chapter in “The Book of Walks” is what Bruce calls his Mount Everest moment. He says sometimes he just wants to walk a familiar route at a comfortable speed to clear his head and unwind. And, then there are times when he wants his walk to feel like an accomplishment.

That’s what this walk became for Bruce. It happened not long after he arrived in San Francisco to manage the Giants. When you think of San Francisco, what’s the first landmark that comes to mind? 

George Mallory was part of the first three British expeditions up Mount Everest. When asked why he climbed the mountain, Mallory responded, “Because it’s there.” Bruce Bochy felt the same way about the Golden Gate Bridge. It was there and he wanted to see if he could walk from his house to the bridge and back. Bruce could and he did, describing in that final chapter of “The Book of Walks” what he saw and how he felt along the way. Bruce recommends we do the same, if given the opportunity. He says, “Make an adventure out of it.”

And, there it is. If you want adventure…take a walk. 

As I read through this short book I was reminded of the adventures I’ve been on while walking. There was the evening I spent in Venice, Italy trying to navigate from one side of the island to the other and back again before the last train left. I remembered the walk I took through a part of Manhattan I’d never seen before and was stopped three times by tourists asking for directions. And, then there was the walk with my daughter in Washington DC that we will both never forget.

Whenever I’m in a new place I make time for a walk. It’s a perfect opportunity for adventure. What can I see? What can I learn? What’s it like to live here?

But, it’s not just new places that can provide adventure. Even familiar routes are filled with possibilities. We humans have a knack for taking things for granted. And, sometimes it’s even worse than that. You’ve heard the saying, “Familiarity breeds contempt?” How about trying to discover something new every time you walk through your neighborhood, that park you always go to, or even that functional walk at lunchtime to pick up something to eat?

Here are a few things I’ve done to turn my everyday, familiar routes into a mini-adventure.

Walks at sunrise and sunset can be filled with beauty. Sunlight from a different angle can turn even the most familiar scene into something dramatic. Maybe for you waking up before the sun rises can be an adventure unto itself.

Walking in bad weather is always an adventure. I used to limit my walks to when the weather was comfortable or near comfortable. My 20k One Year Step Challenge quickly cured me of this and opened up a whole world of adventure within the familiar.

I invested in gear that allowed me to walk when it was raining, snowing, cold, or hot. Some of my most adventuresome walks were through pouring rain or heavy snow. I will confess, though, I still haven’t wrapped my brain around walking outside when it’s really windy. I’m sure that’s also an adventure, but I’ll let someone else find the love in that.

Lastly, while I enjoy listening to podcasts while I walk, sometimes I’ll leave the iPhone and earphones at home and simply enjoy the sounds of the environment I’m walking through. 

On one of my final walks through our Maryland neighborhood before we moved I enjoyed a “quiet” walk. I loved hearing the sounds of the birds that were still there, especially a boisterous woodpecker that was doing its thing. I also love walking through a city without headphones and simply soaking in all that’s happening around me. I’m caught up in the adventure of others in that moment. 

How can you turn your next walk into an adventure? Embrace the opportunities. And, if you need a little inspiration read a chapter in Bruce Bochy’s, “A Book of Walks” before you head out.

If establishing a fitness routine has been an “adventure” for you that you haven’t conquered yet, let me recommend The 30 Day Fitness Challenge. This free guide will help you establish a fitness habit which is the most important part of getting started.

The 30 Day Fitness Challenge will help you transform your walking into exercise. This guide also includes resources to help you stay motivated after that initial burst of excitement fades.

If you don’t have a Fitbit I recommend the brand new Fitbit Inspire 2! The Inspire 2 has double the battery life, and also tracks your heart rate and sleep so you get an even wider picture of your fitness progress.

(By the way…if you use the link above to buy either a Fitbit Inspire 2 or The Book of Walks this blog will receive a small commission. It won’t add anything to what you pay, but letting you know is the right thing to do)

I also recommend subscribing to this blog for weekly encouragement and motivation. Establishing and maintaining a fitness habit is not easy. Receiving a regular article to help you keep moving forward might be the difference maker you need. To subscribe simply click FOLLOW (to the right if you’re reading on a computer or below if you’re on your phone)