Walking to the Dentist

The girl (my fond reference to my daughter) has entered a new stage; she now drives.  In addition to this, she has a summer internship and several random commitments such as caring for children and driving an elderly woman to Bingo. With two cars in our house, two working adults, and two busy teens, scheduling is of the utmost importance.

As I looked at the schedules for last Friday, I noticed that I could alleviate the stress of too much scheduling if I chose to make my day a walking day.  I was thrilled about this.

  • With a late start to my first destination – a friend’s house for breakfast – I was happy to have the huz drive me part way and drop me off at a convenient spot that still gave me about a half mile of walking.

  • I left my friend’s house with Cub Foods as my next stop to pick up a wedding card and gift card (our standard gift – sorry to ruin it for anyone getting married in the future!) as our family attended a wedding on Saturday.

  • Interruption here that I will detail in a minute…

  • The final destination, of course, was to be the dentist’s office.

  • The huz then picked me up from the dentist’s office on his way home from his errands that day.

The total walking distance for this trip was about three miles which is just shy of the 5K that I am constantly hoping to conquer.  I would love to do a 5K every day.

“A 5K a day keeps the doctor away!”

As I walked on a busy street from my friend’s house to the Cub Foods, another friend (driving) saw me and stopped on the side of the road to offer me a ride.  I insisted that this was the plan and that I was fine.  The friend went on, turned around, and came back to make sure that I was sure of what I was doing.  I was sure, but I was also sure this friend would not take “no” for answer in response to her offer of a ride.

I crawled in and said,”My next stop is Cub Foods.”  As you can see by the Google map below, my friend’s kindness shaved off an entire half mile from my trip!  She offered to be my chauffeur for the day, but that really was not the point.


Eleven years ago, our family headed off on the adventure of a lifetime; we moved to Scotland for a year.  For many reasons, mostly financial, we saw no reason to purchase a car while we were there for that short amount of time.  We lived in the heart of Edinburgh – almost dead center between the kids’ school and the huz’s school.

Thus, we walked almost everywhere.

From time to time, we would take the bus (for long distances or if we were loaded down with groceries); however, most of that year was spent on our feet.  Our walk to church each Sunday was nearly the same distance that my friend save me on Friday.


I fear that we have become far too dependent upon our automobiles.  In doing so, we have lost many things, and I learned some of those things on my walk on Friday.

Our health is one thing that we are losing.  So many of us have gym memberships, and we drive to them.  If I would walk a 5K a day, I would not need a gym membership.  In addition, the endorphines released as I walk help balance the rest of my emotional self.  I work off anger, frustration, hurt, and sadness.  I sleep better when I walk because I have done something that day.

We lose sight of the people and places around us.  When I drive past an area or through an area, I spend very little time there.  I get through it and on to the destination.  When I walk, I engage in the area.  I pay attention to the people, the places, and the little things – like flowers in bloom.  I see things when I walk.  I get places when I drive.

Driving places allows our lives’ paces to get faster and faster while walking requires that the pace is only as fast as our feet.  When we lived in Scotland, we had far less going on than we do now that we are in the US.  In part, this was due to the limitations of making commitments within our travel distance.  When I took a job at the zoo and eventually at a school on the outskirts of the city, I had to factor in bus travel time and bus changes because the distance was too great to walk.

Even a trip to the grocery store required planning!

Our family does not regret living in Scotland and walking that year, nor do we regret having the ability to drive here in the US.  It is not that one way is better than the other; however, we need to count the cost in both situations and see what we could learn.

As I walked to the dentist on Friday, I was reminded again of the pace of our time in Scotland.  Much of my day required careful planning with distance and time accounted for in order to ensure that my feet could accomplish all that I needed them to do that day.  It is possible, and it is good to do it now and then to remember that three or four miles is not unconquerable for most of us.

Where will your feet take you today?

Please note: maps provided by Google Maps (maps.google.com).


Filed under Thoughts

6 responses to “Walking to the Dentist

  1. Bex

    Automobiles pretty much replaced the horse/buggy. Does that mean that we were too dependent upon horses and buggys also? I think too dependent depends on the reason for which they are using their auto…example: going to the neighbors house a block or two away…maybe too dependent. However, walking almost 2 5K’s one way to the grocery store is most likely out of the question, even for a stay-at-home-mom like me.

    For me, an automobile means freedom. Freedom to choose which gym I will attend (if I attended a gym that is) because maybe the one by my home has creepy or too many people there (because it is within walking distance for all of them, too), freedom to choose where I live (in the country with fields where cows moo behind my house) because with my auto, I don’t have to live close to the places I go, freedom to choose to give rides to those who are unable to walk the two blocks to the grocery store or to deliver meals to those wo can’t get out at all, freedom to hop in the auto for an unexpected, spontaneous road trip or freedom to choose to attend a church 22 miles away, and many more examples.

    Driving places doesn’t make our lives busier. The automobile owners are the ones responsible for making the decisions that make their lives busier and, for some, more stressful (stress…also bad for our health).

    I also remember not having a car. That restricted the opportunities that we could sieze and sometimes put the burden on someone else to help us grab hold of an opportunity since not having an auto was the only thing in the way.

    Sometimes I wish I lived in a little town, just down the block from the grocery store, post office and bank. Then I could walk to do errands. Or if I were too busy, I could send the boys 🙂

    I love that you decided to walk. Maybe one day I will do a 5K with you. Not for the t-shirt, tho. Just to spend some time with you 🙂

    Now, my feet have to take me to the basement to bring up a load of laundry to fold. Then they will repeat that process about 8 more times today. Maybe I’ve already started training for that 5K? 🙂

    Love you Stacy! Keep up the great blogging 🙂


    • You have great points, Becky! I probably overstated what I meant, and a little correction is good. 🙂

      For an extremist like myself, the lack of a car in a city that supported walking forced me to slow down in a way that I would not choose for myself here in the sprawl of the metro area with a car. That being said – when it was sticking gross yesterday with humidity, I was glad to have a car to drive the 1.5 miles to the video store to return my videos. I had initially planned to walk, but about 2 blocks in changed my mind – because I could.


      • Bex

        Stacy, I’m so sorry you took my comment for a correction 😦 It wasn’t meant that way at all. It was just some thoughts and memories that I had while reading your post. Too bad one can’t record the laughs and smiles while typing :/ This blog post came on the heels of recent thoughts I had about selling a vehicle and more recently thoughts about moving closer to the center of town here or to a different small town within walking distance of the amenities which would mean that we could most likely get along without two vehicles.

        Goofy thought of yesterday: As I was making dinner I wondered how much more ground Paul could have covered in his missionary journeys if he had a car! 🙂

        P.S. I am guilty of driving a block to the neighbors…twice. Once when it was blistering cold in the middle of winter. Once when I knew we would be there late and I didn’t want to walk home by myself in the dark 🙂 Yep, I love my car!

        Love you Stace!!


  2. Diane Busiahn

    you make me smile friend!


  3. I have a car in Japan, but I walk or ride the train as much as possible. It does require a bit more planning, but I experience the pluses you wrote about! When I am in the US and walk places, I often receive the same reaction you do, are you sure you don’t want a ride somewhere?! And that is in my little town where it only takes a half an hour to walk from west to east! Keep walking 🙂


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