Walking Slowly, Without Purpose

Walking Slowly, Without Purpose.

Last week they had a movie festival in Playa del Carmen, movies were free and as such I got to see a few films I probably would not have bothered with otherwise. One was a French animated film about a suicide shop (happy stuff) which wasn’t bad but was bizarre. The second film we saw was also a French film called “The Big Night”.

“The Big Night” is about two brothers, one a hobo in the French suburbs, the other a man struggling in his relationship and shit job. In short the brother loses his job, goes nuts, and becomes a hobo with his already homeless brethren.

I bring this movie up because one of the things the hobo taught his newly homeless brother, was how to walk without purpose. How to amble with the least amount of energy possible, because, well they are hobos and really they have nowhere to be and nothing which needs to be done.

Walking Slowly, Without Purpose

I love this idea, and aside from the hobo part it is very much an opportunity I have in my life now. There are things I make myself do and there are things I tell myself need to be done. But in reality, I don’t have to do a damn thing if I don’t want to.

So it was I set off for lunch on a sunny Sunday afternoon in Playa. I threw on a pair of sneakers, opened the front door, and with a loose plan to have lunch somewhere, I started walking without purpose. This is harder than it sounds, to walk so slowly, with so little energy that you are a flexed fiber away from standing still. To move forward with no purpose other than to keep moving.

I loved it. It took me about half an hour to walk what should have taken ten minutes. During that time my mind wandered between the pointless and absolutely nothing. The afternoon sun bathed my skin yet I remained cool. The few people who were around flowed past me as though sprinting. My eyes roamed and saw things which normally I would not have registered in the short time they were in my vision. I felt more relaxed walking than I do sitting down.

Without Purpose

Eventually I ended up at El Fogon, and had a large burrito type thing for lunch. I paid the bill, stood up, and then walked away so slowly that people actually watched me, no doubt questioning my mental stability or physical agility. What other reason could someone have for walking so slowly?

Walking without purpose

Mexico without purpose

It took about an hour to get home. Walking down roads at random with only a general idea of where I was going. I snapped the occasional picture with my phone, but other than that, I just floated.

It was delightfully freeing, to know that this is all that is really required of me. That my built in need to be here, then to be there, as quickly as I can, is mostly unnecessary. I have no need to be anywhere if I don’t want to, and now I can choose to walk in a way which suits my lifestyle. Slowly, and without purpose.

19 Comments
  • Carmel
    Posted at 14:50h, 07 May Reply

    That is surely a luxury few people can enjoy…or recognize as a luxury.
    Carmel recently posted…TENTATIVE ITINERARYMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 15:48h, 07 May Reply

      Who would have thought ambling could be so zen πŸ™‚

  • Jimmy Dau
    Posted at 15:22h, 07 May Reply

    I’m picturing a silhouette of you walking off into a sunset horizon
    Jimmy Dau recently posted…How may hostels have this view?My Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 15:49h, 07 May Reply

      Picture the silhouette barely moving, and you’re pretty much spot on.

  • Sarah Somewhere
    Posted at 17:58h, 07 May Reply

    I loved that part of the movie too…Obviously I need a LOT of practice at the art of moving slowly!!!
    Sarah Somewhere recently posted…On FreedomMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 21:06h, 07 May Reply

      No not at all, I love walking 5 meters behind you when we go out πŸ˜‰

  • Patricia Hamilton
    Posted at 19:59h, 07 May Reply

    Love this Tryhone…most of my walks are slow as that’s my speed now ! πŸ™‚ Very therapudic to get out of the ‘rushing-hurry up’ mode.Poking around the streets of Playa,also slowly checking out the wares in little shops here.This is an excellent blog,love the photos !Patty.

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 21:08h, 07 May Reply

      Thanks Patricia. It really makes me aware of how much of our time we spend rushing from one place to the next, no wonder I feel tired / lazy all the time. Nice to have you along Patty πŸ™‚

  • Bruv
    Posted at 23:28h, 07 May Reply

    You walked so slow that actual Mexicans watched you because it was so slow? Maximum respect!!

    PS: I have questioned your mental stability for years…..the answers still elude me.

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 13:10h, 08 May Reply

      It takes effort to slow down to the point of near stoppage, but if anyone can do it I can. I am well versed in the practice of minimal effort.

  • Steph (@ 20 Years Hence)
    Posted at 02:31h, 08 May Reply

    When we first started our trip, my husband and I always remarked on how annoying it was that people in Asia seemed to walk without any kind of purpose! They moved so slowly and just seemed to drift about, we were constantly stomping our feet in frustration, because we. had. somewhere. to. be.

    While I doubt I have it in me to ever walk so slowly that people stop and take note, I have definitely chilled out over the past 9 months and I definitely agree that walking without a plan can lead to some great discoveries. Some of our favorite cities that we have visited were ones where we just stepped out in the morning with only a general sense of the direction we wanted to walk in, and then just did it. We discovered so many things that we never would have known about if we had been staring at a map and scurrying from one circled tourist sight to the next.
    Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) recently posted…Where (& What) to Eat in El NidoMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 13:15h, 08 May Reply

      Het Steph, definitely been there with the slow walking crowds, it used to drive me crazy. Then you add in the crab walkers and the friends/family who take up the whole sidewalk and I was a walking, ticking time bomb. With the slow walk you just don’t care, and like you say you find and see things you would otherwise not have given a second thought to. Thanks for stopping by.

  • Aga @ a matter of taste
    Posted at 06:30h, 08 May Reply

    I like to walk in a new city without any map and slowly, just entering random streets. I also like to pretend that I live there and imagine where would I go, what would I do, if it was reality πŸ™‚
    Aga @ a matter of taste recently posted…Food in RawaiMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 13:19h, 08 May Reply

      The random streets often make for the most interesting sites I think, because you have no idea what your looking at or what’s gonna happen next. Its like you’re the first to discover something. I like the idea of pretending you live there. Thanks for saying hi.

  • Casey @ A Cruising Couple
    Posted at 12:36h, 12 May Reply

    What a great idea! I love to get lost and just see where my feet take me, but normally I’m out jogging when I do it. I’ll have to give slow walking a try, although I already know it will be a challenge for me as I”m extremely impatient. Sounds like it was quite rewarding for you though!

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 23:14h, 12 May Reply

      Hi Casey. It was very rewarding but equally difficult. I’m used to walking 5 meters behind Sarah and just trying to keep up with her naturally speedy gait.

  • Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap)
    Posted at 10:51h, 14 May Reply

    I loved this Tyrhone! I do the same now and again in London of all places. You can imagine the tuts and looks I get! ha ha. My motto is walk with an island vibe in the city!
    Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) recently posted…Life in Muang Ngoi Neua, LaosMy Profile

    • Tyrhone
      Posted at 13:47h, 14 May Reply

      I can imagine people in London being pretty annoyed at a slow walker. You would definitely be going against the grain πŸ™‚

  • holly sos
    Posted at 17:24h, 18 May Reply

    love this. an act of discipline, self awareness, and self control, fo sho.

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