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It often doesn’t take much longer than driving and it sure is more pleasant. Deborah Underwood has this perspective on the oldest mode of transportation.

I lay on the exam table grimacing as my physical therapist poked and prodded. Bulging disc, she concluded: probably caused by too much time in the car and a few hours sitting on a too-squishy couch.

Whatever the cause, I was in so much pain that I almost couldn’t get myself out of bed. Sitting was impossible; standing uncomfortable. The only times the pain subsided was when I was lying down or walking.

So…I walked.

I walk a few miles a day as a rule: to the post office and back, out again to get cat food or groceries. But until I was injured, it hadn’t occurred to me to walk to appointments way outside my neighborhood.


Walking the six miles to physical therapy and back turned out to be a joy. I went through Golden Gate Park and the Panhandle, so I was surrounded by nature for much of the trip. It took a little over an hour each way. But if I’d driven, I’d have allowed at least 45 minutes to walk to or find my own car, drive in clogged traffic, and park. Why not enjoy the greenery and get some exercise instead?

The other day I walked home from a writing group. I’ve lived in San Francisco for 36 years, but had never walked from the Mission to the Sunset I started off surrounded by taquerias and hipsters, wandered through the rainbow-strewn Castro, snagged cookies at the vegan bakery on Divisadero, and meandered through the Botanical Garden on the way home. Along the way I heard the music of different languages and noticed shops I’d never seen before. Plus no searching for parking on either end of the trip.

My back is healing, thankfully, but I’m grateful my injury opened my eyes to a new way of getting around this city I adore.

With a Perspective, I’m Deborah Underwood.

Deborah Underwood is a children’s book author.