I have wanted to write this post for a long time because it is about one of my favourite ever things. I really love going on long walks but the things that hold me back usually are that they take so much time, and my love of living in cities means that to go and walk somewhere actually nice means you have to A) plan your walk in advance and B) you usually have to go somewhere first to be able to do the walk and without having a car, this is often quite hard as public transport doesn’t usually venture as far as remote, picturesque woodland areas.
In July I moved to South Wimbledon.
Two things happened.
One was I said “I know it’s out in the suburbs but it’s actually really not far out of town, and our stop is on the Northern line, so you don’t even have to change to get to uni, it takes barely any time at all!” about 3 times a day, and the other thing was I discovered Wimbledon Common.
Truth be told, I got a little bit obsessed with it. It made good use of my FitBit because a walk up to and around the common usually clocks in at about 6 miles. One week I think I must have done it every day. I’d get up early, grab a big bottle of water in Waitrose and walk up Wimbledon Hill (the worst part by far) until it levelled out onto the village and then round the corner is the common.
If you have ever lived in London, you will know that the fact that it sometimes feels a bit overwhelming is a gross understatement. Wimbledon Common takes all of this away for me. The first time I got out into the woods there I breathed in huge lungfuls of air, genuinely marvelling at how clean it felt, only minutes from the road. The feeling of my legs stomping over leaves and mud, the act of carefully avoiding puddles and the feeling of coming across a clearing of tall grass and moving swiftly through it is like something else. It’s like being completely alone and so close to everything at the same time. It’s one of the best feelings I have ever experienced. If I could just spend every day writing, reading, walking on Wimbledon Common and buying an overpriced coffee on my way home I think I would probably be quite happy.
While I’m up there I love to take in the scenery and take loads of pictures of particularly interesting parts or nice bits of light or other people’s dogs. There are a lot of dogs up there which I like because you don’t see enough animals roaming freely in London and nothing beats the looks on their faces, because I know they feel exactly the same as I do just being up there, with so much space to run. I also like to listen to audiobooks while I walk because I find that they are distracting in a nice kind of way and being absorbed in a story makes you forget how far you are walking. Also it makes me feel like I am multitasking because if being a writer is a constant learning process then reading, or listening to a story being read, is sort of like revision. Everything you read is just extra working knowledge that you can use to create your own writing.
Lately I have been really missing these walks and I’d like to be able to get back up to the Common one day soon, because it’s really one of my favourite places. I think at some point in my life, maybe if I’m working on a writing project at some point during the future, I’d like to move somewhere again where I can do this walk every day.