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Who walks for fun?

Pictures by Garth Johnstone

So I was walking up the road the other day… it was a beautiful morning, about 7.30am, clear sky, clean country air, view of the mountains in the distance. Just another country road in the Midlands on a fine Sunday morning with views to die for.

As there was little shoulder to speak of at that point, when a car started approaching from behind, I stepped off the road into the short grass to make sure I was out of the way. Common sense, a safety-first approach.

The vehicle approaching me was a small bakkie, a Ford Bantam I think, and the driver slowed down, I think because he assumed that, being out in the middle of nowhere, I might want a lift.

Telltale signs

I thought with the trail shoes, a walking stick, cap and a water backpack on, he would have recognised that I was out there for recreation, but apparently not.

So the friendly okie leans over, across the passenger seat, and asks me, “Do you want a lift”?

“No,” I said. “I’m taking a walk – for fun.”

A look of utter confusion, nay, dismay, crossed his face, before he quipped, “But who walks for fun?”

I smiled at him, he smiled at me, he shook his head and took off with a wave.

Bye. Sien jou later. Tot siens.

So exactly who walks for fun?

It was quite warm out, he seemed to think the heat had got to my brain.

Perfect sense

Now to me, taking a walk to nowhere on a beautiful Sunday morning makes perfect sense. But maybe what I think is normal is not so normal, maybe “my people” ARE just a bit strange.

My “tribe”, let’s call it that, is people who want to get back to basics, to commune with nature and do simple things: walk, run, ride a bike, ride a horse, climb a mountain, swim, read a book. To me there’s something unnatural about wasting a good day stuck inside, watching TV, playing computer games, going to a mall.

And if you’re going to take a walk in the Midlands, particularly early in the morning or in the evening, there’s a good chance you could see some wildlife, maybe a duiker, reedbuck, bushbuck or serval, and a better chance you’ll see an eagle or buzzard. Pretty cool.

A walk on the wild side, in the Berg’s remote treasure

But I got to thinking, maybe what I think is the “right” way, the “natural” way, is just one way. Time to get down off the high horse.

And if I think about it, if more people are spending the day in the pub, on the couch, in front of a machine, it means there’s less people I need to share all that glorious nature with.

So back to the question, “Who walks for fun?”

I do, and people like me.

I wish I’d asked him, “What do you do for fun?”

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