Ways of Walking

Essays on the gifts and discoveries of walking in a new anthology

Antonia Malchik
5 min readJul 6, 2022
Woman in gray coat and jeans with a purple backpack walking on a forested path with her arm around a child in a blue coat. In the background, three other children walking and running ahead.
Photo: Juliane Liebermann / Unsplash

Walking gives us health, both mental and physical. It reduces depression and improves blood cholesterol. It gives us joy and connection to others. It reminds us that we are free, even when some people try to persuade us we’re not. It shows us who benefits from the world that humans make, and who doesn’t; it reminds us that we’re evolved bipedal creatures on a spinning planet. Walking is how we relate to the life all around us.

I was reminded of many of these realities while reading Ways of Walking, a collection of essays edited by Ann de Forest. Ways of Walking is about more than walks; it’s about what we discover when we’re walking, both about the world and inside ourselves. “Is walking a subversive act?” asks the book’s introduction. “For the authors of this book, it can be.”

De Forest’s own contribution, “Aberrant Angeleno,” pushes back on the notion of Los Angeles being a city hostile to walkers. Her childhood was full of walks — explorations and wanderings that defined her sense of self and freedom. When a wild patch of land near her school was mowed down, flattened, and covered with sod, the blow of losing that wild place to wander hit hard:

“In high school, I too felt like I was being flattened and tamed. Was it because that



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.