Above is a mural I painted at Ubi’s coffee and tea house, the spice shop/cafe I interned at in Tacoma, WA.
It’s 1.8 miles from Music City Hostel to Downtown Nashville Hostel where I work the graveyard shift (1:00AM-7:00AM) Mondays and Tuesdays. All of the staff stays at MCH, the city’s only hostel before DNH existed, which is being expanded at the end of next week from 80 to 160 beds and, I’m told, will be the largest in the nation. Personally, I don’t like its false take on hosteling, which is to squeeze every cent possible from the guests instead of making it a temporary escape from our relentless hunt for chee$e. That’s the main reason I’m leaving, because this transparent theme is as clear as the non-existent murals, one expects to find on hostel walls. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a very nice place to save a couple of bucks and experience the country music capitol, but it leaves even the newest backpacker sighing at the missed opportunity. The staff is even scalped because the nominal pay of $7/hr is used to pay for the full price of a bed. Even the long term managers don’t get much of a deal and because they are always on call, literally work 24/7.
I have no car or bicycle now. For that reason, my calves get a workout along with quads. I’m surprised how a few miles a day will transform the shape of one’s legs. If you have functioning legs, it’s a pretty good idea to use them while you can, and instead of being bummed out that you have to walk somewhere, you can rejoice at the fact that you have functioning legs! I understand we are a nation primarily composed of gasoline-dependent, fast and often eating, couch-shaping, hard workers, who don’t think it’s reasonable to set aside an extra 30-60 minutes a day for transportation. But it’s awesome if you do. Birds can fly, fish can swim, and we can run! And it feels great. It really does.
So, by necessity of choice, I walk instead of buying a bike. The good news is everything in Nashville is within a couple of miles (30 min.), I’m getting comic book tone and definition (I was complimented by what might be a transvestite, which is quite a compliment), I’m sorting out thoughts and phone calls, and my physical pillar (google 4 pillars of the human foundation if you want to know) is taken care of daily. Gandhi speaks often about the benefits of walking and how it kept him healthy through harsh English winters on a vegetarian diet. Bruce Lee recommends parking a couple of blocks away and taking the stairs to help stay in shape. I’ve only known a couple of Americans who walk often, and guess what, they have phenomenal leg structure, very rarely get sick, and are the happiest people I know. I’m not going to paraphrase the hundreds of quotes by important historical figures and writers, but this does a good job: Hemingway, Thoreau, Jefferson, and the Virtues of a Good Long Walk
Solvitur ambulando is Latin for “it is solved by walking”. Try it. Take a nice little or long walk and see how it makes you feel.