Michael Kingsbury

One day while riding my bike along the San Diego Creek Trail, I wondered how long it would take to actually walk to work. I contemplated for a bit and then decided to try it. It took two hours and twenty minutes to walk 6.4 miles each way. That was several months and twenty-four pounds ago.

So why would anyone who owns a car choose to walk over half a marathon to and from work, and be corny enough to call it “Walking Wednesday’s”?

It began as part of changing my lifestyle so I could lose weight (which was inspired by Sigal’s Pilates class here at OTA every Tuesday and Thursday evening). But walking to work has become more than about weight loss. It is a commitment. It is a lifestyle change. It is about growing older gracefully. It is about my emotional health, and it makes me happy.

Once a week, I leave my door at 6:20 am when the “June Gloom” fog is still hovering near the ground. To me, there is a peaceful eeriness that time of day. During the first two miles or so, I don't listen to music or audio books. I simply focus on the day and think about my goals, and the things I want to happen in my life. At the same time, I give thanks for the things that I've been blessed with over the years. I am so grateful especially for the things that have recently happened.

At mile marker 1.8, I stop at Del Taco. I am not completely blowing it. I have an egg boiled with green sauce and cheese. No tortilla, no fried potatoes. It's just eggs, cheese and Verde Sauce. People know me there. When I go up to the register, they don't even have to ask me what I want. Depending on the day, I may sit on the patio and eat my breakfast, mosey through the Woodbridge Center which gives me a chance to see people who are awake, having coffee and enjoying themselves, or  go right back to the trail. From there, I've got about another hour or so of walking, before I hit the main streets. This is when I review my ETF position in my trading accounts, read emails, and occasionally text message with a few friends who are up early as well.

Then I hit my favorite part of the San Diego Creek Trail. Isolated enough from the roadways, I get a chance to hear the birds sing, pass by some schools, and hear children playing, or marching bands rehearsing. When you walk, you see, hear, and smell so many things that are impossible to notice while driving a car. As the early morning turns into late morning, more people appear on the trail; walking, running, and biking.

The last part of the trail goes through a nice little park right across the indoor hockey rink where the San Diego Creek Trail bends around by Harvard. This is when I hit the streets. I don't like to walk on the city streets nearly as much as the trail, so I'll tune into an audio book for the last leg. When I finally arrive at the office, it almost feels like I’ve traveled to another city. Like boarding an airplane early on a foggy morning, before it is completely light and landing in another city with lots of sunshine. Once at the office, I take off the sneakers, put on the dress shoes and find at least two or three people to greet and share my morning journey.

I'm committed to doing one round trip a week but sometimes depending on my schedule, my girlfriend picks me up from work, or I take the bus home. I weighed 208 pounds when I first started my lifestyle overhaul. I am now down to 184. Walking one day a week also saves me $200 over the course of a year. For me, that’s a weekend getaway at a modest hotel in a beautiful place like Ojai or Julian.  And by walking to work one day a week, we use less oil, have cleaner air in our cities, and help the USA continue to be an exporter of oil. It’s not only a win for the environment, it’s a win for humanity.