In the Outback, young Aboriginal Australians will trek out into the wilderness on a walkabout,* a deeply spiritual journey into manhood. Typically, they do this before the age of 16, and are out in the wilderness for sometimes up to half a year.
My walkabouts, on the other hand, last about 2 hours.
Ok, ok… I use the term walkabout very loosely here. I’m not going on a transitional journey into manhood (that took years and I call it high school). I’m not living out in the wilderness, and I make damn sure I get home by lunch. What I’m really talking about are my long runs.
Yes, I view my long runs as snack-sized walkabouts. Aboriginal Australians would probably laugh at my comparison, and I’d laugh with them, but frankly I’m not prepared to go on a multi-month journey into the wilderness at this point. So I try to capture some of the same spiritual benefits of a walkabout in small bites, whenever I can.
So here are a few guidelines for having a “walkabout mindset” on your long runs:
- Be curious. Explore, notice something you’ve never noticed before.
- Loosen your grip on goals, like trying to maintain a certain pace or cover a certain distance. Let it go…
- Celebrate the earth beneath your feet and the sky over your head. Regardless of the weather, what’s in front of you is beautiful in it’s own way.
- Leave the music at home. If your mind wants to hear a particular song, it’ll pop into your head naturally. Otherwise, enjoy the layers of sounds around you.
A walkabout mindset can lead you to gorgeous little neighborhood ravines you never knew existed.
And if you’re just not as good a ravine-jumper as you thought, you might go wading…
Then you might lope through a field or two, if you can get away with it…
The walkabout mindset will connect you to the larger life happening around you. Appreciate the presence of a universe bigger than yourself; allow the world to be as it is and you to be as you are. It’s OK. Having a walkabout mindset is a window to freedom. Open it up whenever you want, and enjoy the fresh air.
Happy trails, friends.
-The Running Llama
*if you are easily offended on behalf of other people’s cultures, just pretend I said “temporal mobility”.