At SmallBox, we're pro-walking. For meetings, breaks, or a field trip to get a Nicey Treat – walking is a great way to clear our minds, to think through a big problem or just have fun.
For me, walking has become the most grounding part of my day – to the point I feel disconnected without it. It all started when I traveled to Italy back in 2007. I fell in love with their tradition of La Passeggiata, to stroll through the city.
Our itinerary kept us moving at a clip: we had started in Athens, then Milan, Rome, Florence, San Gimignano, Siena. And yet when we weren't traveling between places, and were planted in a city for a night or two, the practice of leisurely walking slowed everything down.
The view from Piazzale Michelangelo in Florence.
We drifted from an espresso counter, to gelato shop, to ____________ (fill in the blank with incredible piazzas and fountains. Piazza del Campo at the center of Siena. Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti, (The Spanish Steps) and the Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat) in Rome. The Piazza della Signoria and it's David replica. Or, my favorite (and the site where my husband and I got engaged) – Piazzale Michelangelo with its panoramic views of Florence.
This practice of strolling may seem aimless, but it is a very intentional practice of relaxing and connecting. Italians actually dress up for it – I remember being in awe of how local women managed stilettos, cobblestone and all, with total grace (Meanwhile, tourists with their tennis shoes stick out like a sore thumb...).
It's been nearly a decade since my visit, but the custom of strolling has stayed with me. When I got back to the States, I craved walkable squares and esplanades. I sated this craving with long dog walks, which have become the grounding moments of my day, keeping my little family connected.
Prompt: "It's Customary. It's a small world after all! What custom from another culture do you wish you could transplant into your own? Maybe you want siestas (Hola, Spain!) or Hygge from Denmark. Or maybe you want to create a new custom altogether?"