Finding Our Footing

The revealing journey in “A Walking Life”, a book by Antonia Malchik

B. Lorraine Smith
6 min readAug 15, 2022


The urban path I walked this morning where I thought about writing this piece.

A walk in the park: more than a walk in the park

I thought Antonia Malchik’s book, A Walking Life would be a nice light read — a walk in the park, if you will. I was wrong. Or rather, I was reminded that a walk in the park is actually a profound, important, and often overlooked element of our humanity.

Walking merits deep reflection. Not only is it critical to our shared past, it offers signposts to better pathways ahead.

Our abilities and possibilities related to walking connect to so many of the major challenges we face as a society today — from addressing climate change to healing intergenerational trauma, from human health and wellness to crime reduction and safety.

Walk alongside

Reading this book, I felt as if the author was speaking directly to me, clarifying what I’ve been sensing for a while. Her research, data and anecdotes explained my own habit of wandering — carless — through urban landscapes near and far. And it helped me understand why I feel so uneasy traveling along roads in a motorized vehicle.

I’ve written about my dreams of better roads and paths before. I’ve also shared a bit about my long distance wandering habit, both in written story and video. And one of these days I’ll share more about the five-day urban run I went on last year, accompanied by cycling and pedestrian advocate (and Toronto mayoral candidate no less!) Sarah Climenhaga.

All to say, I am a long-time believer in getting around on foot.

Exfoliating our minds

What I hadn’t done before reading A Walking Life was grasp the degree to which walking, in all its myriad forms, has been designed out of our lives through policy, strongly influenced by industry. The fact that this evolution hasn’t made good sense for humans isn’t a question of “modernization” or “progress”. It’s a question of industry-centered policy and design, versus human-, or even life-centered design.

And the data underscores how imperative it is that we change this.



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B. Lorraine Smith

Recovering ESG "expert"; yarn spinner; distance runner; magical realist. Sensing a path to an economy serving life. also at