The best walks are those that allow you to really make the most of each moment—to experience fullness of presence (Walking is a mindfulness practice). Gros says: “You don’t walk to kill time but to welcome it, to pick off its leaves and petals one by one, second by second.”

For a walk to allow you to do this, bring only what is “essential” in walks. Do not bring anything with you, physical or material, that derails you from living in the moment. Leave anything that reinforces social calculation (i.e., comfort or style).

But there is a deeper level of presence that can be achieved by leaving behind even what feels “necessary” (i.e., equiplments to cope with weather, etc.). When you let go of even the necessary, you start to commune with your primitive self. In this state, you are relieved of even the duty of self-preservation. You completely surrender to nature.


Gros, F. (2014). A Philosophy of Walking. Verso.

To walk without even the necessary is to abandon yourself to the elements. When you do that, nothing counts any more, plans, self-assurance, nothing. Nothing but a full and wholesale trust in the world’s generosity.

By abandoning ourselves to it we gain a previously unknown confidence which satisfies the heart, because it makes us totally dependent on an Other, relieving us even of the duty of self-preservation. The elemental is that to which we entrust ourselves, and which is given to us in its entirety. But to experience its texture we have to take a risk, the risk of going beyond the necessary.