I enjoy walking - cities, towns, villages, woods, fields, I don't care. I might feel different, no, would probably feel different if I was forced to walk to get food or water, or to find work, or if my life was miserable.
But my life isn't miserable, and hasn't been. Living down on the California coast, I walked every day after getting home for work, heading to the beach and walking along the bluffs. Weather - won't walk if the weather is too miserable. I was interviewed by the local news station last year. The temperature was in single digits. Snow and ice covered the ground. It was about eight in the morning. A woman was standing off to one side, by a vehicle. No one else was around and it was silent. I smiled at her and said, "Hi," and she identified herself and asked if she could interview me about why I was outside walking on such a cold, snowy, ice day.
Other weather would stop me, too, long hurricans, monsoons, typhoones, that sort of thing. I was thinking about that as I walked after having coffee and writing. It had been a great writing down, 2000 words, plus editing and revising, one of those days that lift you up and make you believe. I was taking the long way home, doing five miles, and I was pushing to walk faster. The sky was colored like old parking garage concrete. The clouds kept the sun out and capped the temperature at forty degrees. It brought to mind the many walks of the past, like when I used to file expense reports.
Expense reports were once a recurring facet of life. I traveled much then, down to Mountain View, San Mateo, and Redwood City in California to visit with my team, or having meetings with my brand at their headquarters in Atlanta, going to training at my campus up outside Portland, visiting a campus in New York for more training, going to conferences. Between them all, I traveled once a month or more on business. Each time required a travel expense report.
The expense report system is a bit odd, a hybrid of online and hardcopy. Every US employee has an American Express card for business. You're expected to put everything on your card. If expenses are less than seventy-five dollars, you're not required to submit an expense report. You didn't neeed to send in receipts for your rental care if you used the approved provider, Hertz, and you were't required to send in your airline receipts as long as you used the company's travel agency to make your reservations, but you had to send in your hotel receipts if you were over seventy-five dollars.
The timing of the expense reports were a bit odd. Although expense reports weren't required for everything, the systems had to synchronize and feed the electronic expense reports onto the online system. Hertz and the airline each had different sequences, and they had to be completed and received for your could file the expense report and mail in the hard copy.
We also were being reimbursed for our ISP costs if you were tagged as a remote/work at home employee. All that travel, and the reimbursement for your ISP, are gone. My team has been disbanded, and I've changed jobs, training has been cut back, and travel is reduced to customer facing situations. I don't face customers.
But it all meant filing reports. I would print them out and then walk down to the Rite Aid drugstore about a mile away, where the USPS has a contract post office, after I quit work for the day. I write a lot in my head as I walk and ponder the imponderables. The walks were through a residential neighborhood. The snow walks were best, meditative through the flurries and light snow. Life was good.
It still is.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com