Walking makes us inherently vulnerable; to the elements, our own weaknesses, and the whims of the road. But it also forces us to be open to everything. There’s no escaping every sight, sound and smell. It also encourages strangers to welcome you—for some reason, seeing someone on foot and carrying their life (in that moment, at least) on their back, seems to generate the most amazing acts of kindness.

So why do we walk? We go for fresh air, or to keep healthy, or simply to release endorphins and improve our mood. We walk to clear our heads, and take a break from home or the office. In some places, we might walk instead of taking a car but it’s rare, for most of us anyway, that we walk as an actual method of transportation.

Just look back to our human ancestors for both cause and effect; after all, they were the first long-distance walkers. Two million years ago, Homo Erectus began the first wave of human migration and by the Stone Age, Homo Sapiens had walked out of East Africa’s Rift Valley. Then, some 60,000 years ago, they continued across the planet, finishing up 20,000 miles later in Patagonia with no more land mass left to cover. But why did they do this?

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