On Foot You Miss Nothing / by Helen Zouvelekis

It's no secret to those who know me that I prefer to be in constant motion. This has always been the case as long as I can remember.  My kindergarten teacher told my parents that I was a "two coke lunch", translation; the teacher needed two cans of Coca Cola during her lunch break to keep up with my energy.  

I finally found an outlet in sports growing up and ultimately realized a profound connection to running and the form of exploration it brought me to savor my curiosity of the world.

With running came a silver lining. I was able to experience new places through a whole new medium. The speed and frequency at which I was covering cities and neighborhoods, parks and coastline, allowed me an extra tool set in my creative cog.  

Running altered my concept of adjacency and proximity of the built environment. It gave me an entirely new way (and rate) of digesting a place, community, and the fabric of a new environment.

Every time I arrive at a new place, the first thing I do is go for a run. 

This became especially frequent when I was living in Europe and traveling every weekend. It's the best and least expensive way to get familiar with your new temporary digs. You can wind and weave and get lost all by choice of your next turn. It's a way of discovery or exploration, at a digestible rate.

The pace at which we perceive our world can give us new meaning, new memory. 

Personal landmarks define our commutes and trips to the grocery store, they are the way we dictate directions. Turn right at the "corner building with the green awnings".  

It becomes mindless to "go up three steps" before entering the office, something you now do while playing candy crush with your eyes never leaving the screen of your phone.

I'll never forget the bends and curves of the running paths in Schenley Park in Pittsburgh Pa. It became a route of mental images I memorized by distance and time, not by miles and minutes.

These become our landmarks, our mile markers, whether it's on our commute or our walk to church on Sunday. They begin to define our routine; our perception of our surroundings that makes up our daily life. And all this changes by the rate at which we experience it. I am always astounded at the new things I notice while on a daily route running vs. walking vs. driving. 

I get excited about the fact that you can change your entire experience and perception of a new place by changing the rate at which you perceive it. We're not talking about rocket science here; it's a small detail that gets overlooked.

Recently I read a social media post that stated, "In a car you miss so much. On a bike you miss a little. On foot, you miss nothing." 

Change your pace; you just might discover something new about something ordinary.

 

Drew Miller, Designer, Project Manager