The sun is shining brightly here in Ibiza today – there’s barely a cloud in the sky and while there’s a light breeze, it’s akin to a warm late spring day. As always in March, the smell of fresh paint is in the air and the sounds of drills, hammers, buzzsaws and sanding machines fill the air, inviting a sense of anticipation for the season ahead. It’s also amazing to see the terraces of Ibiza’s year-round bars, cafés and restaurants finally open again – after 10 weeks spent locked up (not in!) – and filled with the smiling happy faces of island folk reconnecting with one another over long lunches (before they swiftly close at the ungodly hour of 5pm). One step at a time…
Speaking of steps, something I’ve become remarkably aware of in the past few weeks is my step counter. Something regular readers of this blog may not know about me is that I am not a big fan of walking. I like my journey from A to B to be as swift and as smooth as possible, preferably with air-conditioning or heating depending on the time of year. If it takes more than 15 minutes to walk somewhere, I am highly likely to drive or take a cab (being very responsible when I know alcohol might be involved, of course!). The idea of walking ‘because it’s a nice day’ is totally lost on me. It’s nothing new, I’ve always been this way – perhaps it stems from the fact I had to walk to school and was regularly swooped by magpies, rained or hailed on or sunburnt as a child. Later on, I loved zipping about New York, because it was totally normal to catch a cab to go only four blocks. Walking is not my favourite pastime to say the least.
Over the past year – as you’ve no doubt experienced, no matter where you live in the world – humans have become obsessed with getting their steps in, especially as gyms and yoga studios were forced to close their doors and working remotely meant your only incidental walking throughout the day was from the living room to the kitchen or bathroom and back again. I get it. None of us want to unveil those pandemic pounds when the time comes to hit the beaches again. But as someone who is not a fan of walking, I have been relishing the fact that meetings are over Zoom and that I can go two or three days without leaving the comfort of my own home… but I’m starting to feel that I am an anomaly.
In recent months, almost all – and seriously, I mean EVERY SINGLE ONE – of my friends has developed a keen interest in walking. FOR FUN. Not just for exercise, not to get from A to B. For pleasure. And for a sense of connection, I suppose – not just to good old Mother Nature, but to other people too. Walking has become a social activity – in fact, it’s been the only (semi) approved activity for people from different households to partake in together, safely and socially distanced, in the great outdoors. And so, people from Ibiza come together AND THEY JUST WALK. They walk and they talk, and they take spectacular photos of their journeys and then the next day, they get up and do it all over again somewhere else. They use apps that track their progress, going up and down mountains, around perilously pretty coastline, through the heart of the campo and along the soft sand of the beaches. And still, I have no desire to partake…
Is there something wrong with me that I don’t feel the urge to wear (ugh) trainers, have the sun beating down on my sensitive skin and traverse uneven terrain that’s miles away from the nearest icy cold beer? Is it rude that I’d rather catch up on the telephone than try and catch my breath to hold a conversation? Am I snobby in that I’d prefer to take a car or a boat (hello Atlantis) to my destination than get there all sweaty and messy on foot? Is my carbon footprint going to be the one that brings down civilisation just because I don’t want to spend an hour on my feet when I could sit comfortably in another form of transport for only 20 minutes? Or am I just missing the walking gene?
With this in mind, I started to pay attention to the step counter that is oh-so-conveniently built into my trusty little iPhone. I remembered reading somewhere that we should get at least 10,000 steps in per day. I consoled myself with the fact that while my steps were (considerably) lower than 10,000, I made up for it with 90 minutes of yoga practice each day. And then my yoga studio closed. And as much as I love the idea, I am not very self-disciplined when it comes to a home practice. So, I decided I would take the opportunity to jump on the walking bandwagon and try and get my step count up to 10,000 – especially when many of my friends were clocking between 20 and 50,000 per day.
Oh, if only there was a wagon I could latch onto instead of walking. I traipsed to the top of Dalt Vila at sunset – my most revered place in the world – with Taylor Swift on the headphones and (ugh) trainers on my feet. It’s a walk I’m accustomed to, as my home is in the middle of the fortress and I can’t drive directly to my front door (yes, I am aware that I’ve chosen a bizarrely located place to live for someone who doesn’t like walking). I took the long way home, meandering down the winding road through Los Molinos and back up to my house. 2,650 steps – seriously? The next day, I went downhill and made the loop around the lovely little red lighthouse in the port and back. 3,948 steps more or less. Are you kidding me? Then, on the weekend, I did three trips into town for shopping, a lap of the lighthouse, and about 30 flights of stairs to find that I’d finally clocked… only 7984 steps. The following day, my aching muscles confirmed it was the most energy I’d expended in a while. WTAF? How is a normal human being, going about their normal, everyday life supposed to reach the hallowed 10,000 steps without having to climb mountains?
I have come to the logical conclusion that to attempt this feat, I need one (or a combination of) of four things to make this happen – before my pre-pandemic clothes start to stretch at the seams. 1. Stylish new trainers that do not make me go ‘ugh’ every time I look at them. 2. A dog, who I clearly would NEVER neglect and would therefore get me out of the house. 3. A personal trainer or 4. The Ibiza clubs to reopen so I can get my steps in the good old fashioned Ibiza way! I pray for 4 although I won’t hold my breath in 2021, my budget doesn’t stretch to 3, and as much as I’d love 2, I think my cats would protest, so it looks like (UGH) I’ll be shopping for trainers this weekend. One step at a time, literally – how times have changed!