The Art of Walking – the people you meet…

Lady in Blcock Street Market with inflated balloons around her in the shape of a horse.
People we meet in Bulcock Street Market, Caloundra

Banx and I got chatting on the back deck the other morning after our respective “different paths” walks up here on the stunning Sunny Coast.. it’s not just beautiful Mother Nature, birds, animals, trees, flowers we come across and observe with interest on our walks… its those other funny things we walk past called PEOPLE! πŸ™‚

“I changed my walking route. The people on the Caloundra section after Shelly Headland aren’t as friendly as on the Currimundi track” said Banx.

“Really?” I queried “but surely you don’t go on walks to make friends?”

“Of course not, quite the opposite, we’re all in our own worlds on the track but it’s nice to be able to look up nod and say good morning to a fellow passer-by and get a friendly response – to be momentarily all part of this community” he replied politely.

It got me thinking and really observing and noticing on my subsequent walks after that! And he’s right – there’s categories of walkers on both tracks … some really make me giggle:

The avoider

…these are the walkers who avoid eye contact at all costs, or maybe if you’re lucky you get a cursory very fast sideways glance, but mainly heads down and the job of walking to be getting on with focus and purpose (sometimes with posh branded gym T-shirts and headphones on – gotta block out those waves and bird noises at all costs!)

The over-friendly

You accidentally make eye contact with the friendly old fella who waves you over, thinking its an emergency you briskly follow his hand gestures, only to find out he’s griping about the Council’s rubbish bin collection and before you know it you’re trying to extricate yourself from a political discussion πŸ™‚

The path hoggers

Usually the whole family of seven plus bikes and dogs stop in the middle of the walking path to discuss what everyone wants for breakfast – it’s just easier to walk the one kilometre around themΒ  – Banx threads his way through them and my darling 95 year old Mum stops altogether and they part like the Red Sea for her to stroll through.

The Speed Racer

These are the walkers that loom up behind you, then pace walk with you side by side breathing heavily then overtake and pass you and win the gold medal on the podium afterwards

The best one of all: The serendipitous no-names-exchanged friendship

One of the loveliest experiences I had last week was finishing my late arvo walk along the Shelly Beach – Kings Beach headland route and I excitedly spotted the P&O Aria cruise ship majestically floating past in the distance. I meandered off the path to allow myself the meditative time to watch it and a lady silently came and stood beside me in a very gentle nonintrusive way:

Pacific Dawn off Caloundra in the evening with golden sun shining off her side
Pacific Dawn off Caloundra

“My son and his family are on that ship” the lovely stranger gently murmurs very aware to allow me my space on the planet too.

The conversation naturally then went back and forth about the virtues of a cruise ship holiday and general pleasurable chit-chat. We eventually walked a little way back up the hill together – she to her car, me on my way home along the path, never exchanging names or any other personal information and yet finding comfort in human contact and conversation that afternoon.

“See you on the next cruise” she called out as we waved goodbye. Something tells me stranger things have happened and I just might bump into her on a cruise ship one day, I hope so.

A sign above a door in the Shakespeare Bookshop in Paris, "Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise"
Shakespeare Bookshop in Paris, Be not inhospitable to strangers lest they be angels in disguise

The funniest thing of all is recognising all of these walkers in myself! I have been every single one of these walkers depending what day you find me walking the various beautiful Sunny Coast routes… if you pass me though, I’d really appreciate a nod and a friendly hello, or a simple ‘Morning’ – it gets me to my destination cafe faster somehow ha! The simple pleasurable exchanges that you may give to someone on a low day or the pleases, thank you’s, excuse me’s and a big smile can really make someone’s day. Just try it. I’m going to.

Currimundi Walk