For the first time after 16 years of living here, my country mouse aunt came to visit me in London last summer. To my aunt, London is a big, scary, exciting city full of traffic, landmarks and tourists. This was an opportunity to show her the London that I live in. The beautiful, occasionally peaceful, surprising London I walk and work in. The place I use as a nourishing landscape for walking coaching, team walks, mindful wanders and sites of discovery.
We met at Kings Cross and started with an exploration of the nearby Camley Street Natural Park – a wild oasis and community centre. We walked through the fountains of Granary Square and along the canal. The route took in a whole variety of architecture and street art as well as the bustling Camden Street market. We left the canal at Regents Park and climbed up Primrose Hill. From here we enjoyed the iconic London skyline. After a wonderful summery lunch we wandered back through Regents Park with its lush greenery and tall trees.
It was life affirming to see my London through my aunt’s eyes. How London connects up with many fascinating walking routes, how much nature and access to green space there is in this big city, the variety and hidden secrets. As we walked we talked. It is a practice that gives energy, fosters openness and enables a new quality of conversation. At last my aunt felt that she understood why I’m here and how I live. She won’t be waiting 16 years to come back.
We don’t have to live in the countryside to gain the benefits of nature and walking. Anyone can walk anywhere. Walking is the perfect location for a coaching conversation. Walking is also ideal for thinking, talking and feeling good. How close are you to a green or nurturing place to walk? What can you discover where you live or work? And who will you walk with?