In the ATP perspective, there is more to walking than meets the eye. A wealth of opportunities open up (for you) once you do find your feet on the road. And personally, ATP has given me a whole new meaning to commuting.
The greatest benefit I’ve reaped going on foot (bike and train included) to and from work is the chance to actually experience the city I live in. Walking allowed me to get to know the people in my neighborhood and discover establishments of interest in the vicinity. Seeing the city’s natural and architectural landscape against a scenic backdrop is inarguably awesome. And best of all, I have countless opportuned moments to reconnect with former students, and to bond with current ones I meet along the way and who walk with me.
These encounters are just priceless, as I get to chat with them outside the box. Although we often struggle to communicate with words (I know very little Japanese and they don’t speak English), we do level off with body language and manage to reach a point of understanding. I got to know them better in an informal setting where they are most free. This was especially true with my junior high school students, with whom I felt the need to invest more time and effort to reach out to. It is simply hard to deal with teenagers and their hormones, irregardless of race. And having this chance helped break the ice and loosened them up just a little bit.
So yes. Walking as an alternative means of traveling does have cause-worthy benefits. Not only does it make you physically healthy, but it also helps clean up the environment. And most importantly, it puts you in the framework of social engagement, thus opening avenues for cultural exchange within the community you are very much a part of.