5 Questions with Erling Kagge

5 Questions with Erling Kagge

1. Why is walking essential to our well-being?

You live longer. Your memory sharpens. Your blood pressure falls. Your immune system gets stronger. But that’s only half of the truth. To walk is something much larger than a list of advantages you can read in an ad for vitamins. That is why I wanted to write a book about walking.

2. How does it correlate with the notion that we need to slow down?

A lot. So much in our lives is fast-paced. The world is about speed. Walking is a slow undertaking. It is among the most radical things you can do.

3. In what ways does it nourish our creativity?

Studies all over the world are conducted to find out how walking influences our creativity, mood, and health. In other words: how our feet have an effect on our brains (and not the other way around). They conclude that walking is a great tool for creativity. Only fifteen minutes can do wonders. That is why the world’s most creative people, from Socrates to Steve Jobs, kept on walking.

4. Do you consider walking a spiritual experience?

Yes. Walking can be almost everything. Something practical, which is free and doesn’t pollute. A way of physical training and also a spiritual journey. You move your body, and you are being moved. People walk on pilgrimages—no one drives. The longer, the better.

5. Walking can easily be romanticized, yet you shared a story about walking in the dark underbelly of New York City. What did you discover?

Yes, the urban explorer Steven and I walked through New York, from 242nd Street and Broadway in the Bronx through Harlem and down through Manhattan toward the Atlantic Ocean, partly via the city’s mystical system of underground tunnels. Steve and I wanted to see New York in a way no one else has, from the inside out, and from the tops of bridges.

While walking, we discovered a different world. If Manhattan could be rotated 180 degrees, literally upside down, the island would be the manmade wilderness that we slogged through. That is another beauty of walking: You can see the world, your fellow citizens, and yourself from a different angle.

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