(The sun came out in time for lunch, I was about 4 hours into the walk and it felt good to talk off my hiking boots for a bit. That salmon sandwich tasted extra good and I was able to enjoy the view and watch the birds soaring below me!)

I made a commitment in my final post of 2023 and this week I made good on it; I did a 12.5-hour, unplugged walk. That means my phone was on airplane mode, no calls, podcasts, music, audiobooks, nothing but me, myself and I trodding along, alone - alllll day. ‍

For months leading up to the walk, as we often do with new/frightening things, I built it up in my head as such a hard challenge, telling myself stories about the perceived difficulties. It wasn't so much the walking for so many hours that scared me, it was the 'being with myselfing' that had me worried.

If you want to skip my experience and scroll down to Now...your life, your version, your plan...feel free, otherwise here is the gist of my day.

(By 3 pm, the wind had picked up and it was chilly. Luckily I had lots of layers and I found a little shelter to have my snack in! I put my feet in the ocean here ! #revitalize)

I chose April so that I would be in daylight the entire time (that was a good call). I left at 6:45 am with a loose idea of where I would go and a plan that The Hub would pick me up, instead of me trying to time a circular route. I just wanted to walk without having to be somewhere at a certain time.

I am almost always listening to something on my walks and this felt strange (but wonderful) from the get-go. My 25-minute walk to town took me an hour. My usual 1-hour walk took me 3 - I dilly-dallied like a toddler, stopping to admire the flowers and every other little thing that caught my attention. There were so many things I'd walked by dozens of times but had never noticed - was I always in a rush; must every walk be for 'exercise'?

I allowed myself to look at my phone occasionally for the time, forecast, and tides; to my surprise every time I looked at the phone, the time was later than I imagined. I also took pictures and put thoughts in the notes app, I brought my journal and used that on my meal breaks.

I'd packed food but treated myself to a tea and a scone (and bathrooms) at cafes during the day.

Some say to set an intention for your walk, mine was just to welcome what comes although I was secretly hoping for some sort of 'epiphany' of sorts. What surprised me most was that I was not bored at all. I was so full of gratitude and wonder and awe with the amazing places I was walking - I didn't really get into some deep zen place as I'd read that others before me had. Perhaps my 'epiphany' was a deep, deep appreciation for where I live.

Here on Vancouver Island, I was able to walk the beaches and put my feet in the ocean, explore new trails in the forests, summit a wee mountain, pass farmer's fields with freshly planted crops, walk through both privileged and underprivileged neighborhoods, enjoy the wild spring flowers in all their glory. I saw eagles, deer, horses, sheep, squirrels and rabbits. Every sound seemed louder, crisper, sweeter.

What I loved about this challenge was giving myself permission; a gift of time to just explore. I also loved...

Being alone.
Making all the decisions and doing exactly what I wanted to do.
Not being in a hurry.
Not having a destination or a certain amount of mileage to get in.
Not being worried about the clock.
Freedom to stop completely and/or stop to rest anytime.

I was picked up 12.5 hours and, according to the app, 27 miles, after I began and I felt grateful to my body for allowing me to do this, appreciation for where I live and the beauty that surrounds me every day and proud of myself for completing this goal.

AND... a renewed appreciation for people who work on their feet 12 hours a day!

Will I do it again - you bet; it was a win all around!

Now...your life, your version, your plan...

• Check out a copy of the 12-Hour Walk book - there are lots of cool ideas you can implement into your life in other ways.
• If 12 hours seems too daunting, make up your own version, with your own rules.
• Conceptually, think about how you can incorporate moving your body, being outside, alone, unplugged, unhurried, turning inward and not bound by a destination. It's so freeing!!

Commit to a date, put it in your calendar - you can always move it, but if you don't put it there in the first place it probably won't get done.

The Unplugged Walk, it's just one more way to live Your Life, Unlimited! Steph ‍

Do you know the The Rule of Three (< 2 minutes)?

Choosing Wellness Podcast - take a 10-minute listen if you are tired!

Stephanie  Staples

Stephanie Staples

Your Revitalization Specialist

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