When I was young, my father took a map of our hometown, Sault Ste. Marie, and pinned it up on our basement wall. It took him two years, but eventually he walked down every single road on the map.
Tired of taking the same routes over and over again to walk our dog, he started his own walking project, with a few basic rules:
1. You can walk, bike, snowshoe, or roller-blade. As long as you are moving with human power, it counts.
2. You can only mark off where you have been; if you didn’t finish a road, you’ll just have to go back.
3. Yes, cul-de-sacs and dead ends count.
4. A walk has to be a minimum of 30 minutes.
As a result, we discovered new parks and hiking trails, and made our daily dog walks a lot more interesting.
Then back in 2014 I moved to Ottawa for school. I was alone in a new city and knew nothing about where I was, and so I took a look at my own map. It was the first thing my father gave me to bring to Ottawa. I tacked it up on my wall, and started my own walking project. At first I stuck to the neighbourhood I was living in, but the more I discovered Ottawa’s beautiful neighbourhoods and walkways, the further out I explored.
Now in just a year of working on this project I’ve covered quite a bit of ground. Above is a picture of my map to date. Everywhere that is marked orange is where I have either walked or biked.
Whenever I have the time, I pick a new part of the map, grab my iPod and start walking. Last year, I had to write down the name of every street I walked down. This year, I’m using the Nike+ app to track my walks.
My walks can be as short as this:
Or full hiking days like this:
Come back and check in on how far I’ve progressed, and discover Ottawa with me.
Let me know in the comments below where your favourite place to walk in Ottawa is!
Holly Drew is a Professional Writing student at Algonquin College in Ottawa. Holly is originally from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, where she spent a lot of time hiking in the beautiful Algoma District and Upper U.P., Michigan. Holly’s other home is in Lima, Peru, where she lived for one year as a Rotary International Exchange Student. Holly enjoys adventure, photography, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and writing.
Twitter ~ Holly Road Blog