Walking Is Freedom, Inside and Out

Antonia Malchik
4 min readFeb 6, 2022
Three women on a rocky hilltop looking out over a sunlit ocean bay
Photo: Tron Le / Unsplash

I grew up hiking and walking in the National Forest lands around Montana’s Gallatin Valley, and camping and fishing in Yellowstone National Park. Roaming up mountains, along creeks, and through the woods didn’t prepare me for an adult life of living in cities, but it did prepare me for a life on foot.

It also taught me to think in complex ways about the importance of connected, walkable communities to our well-being, and what happens to our psyches when we’re subjected to isolation and loneliness. When I first started writing about walking, it was while living in an exurban area of upstate New York where nothing was accessible except by car. No matter where I wanted to go, I had to drive, and this fact eroded my health, made every errand an arduous chore — especially once I had children — and led me to question what kind of freedom we have when every aspect of our lives is dependent on the road and highway networks and the automobiles that are required to traverse them.

How, I wondered, did we lose the right to walk?

And more importantly, how can we get it back?

Those two questions carried me throughout researching and writing A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom One Step at a Time. I delved into evolutionary biology and paleoanthropology to find out what it is about bipedalism that makes…



Antonia Malchik

Antonia Malchik is the author of A Walking Life: Reclaiming Our Health and Our Freedom One Step at a Time; walking, tech, community, and embodiment.