Going through a pregnancy can change your perspective. I’m not going to talk about the obvious things today, though. Nothing too deep and meaningful here about our place in the world, or getting acquainted with the idea of caring for something completely helpless for a substantial period of time. I’m going to talk about walking: specifically, walking around with a pregnant woman. I’m sure you can believe that this topic ties in nicely with ‘slow travel.’
To get right to the point: I’m a decently fit individual and walk around at a reasonably quick pace. DW* ambles about at a much slower pace at the very best of times. She’s not quite as athletic as I am, in addition to having much shorter legs. You will surely understand that being pregnant has somewhat exacerbated the difference between our movement speeds.
I confess that in the past I’ve been impatient with DW’s habitual easygoing stride, but now that she has a genuine excuse for it I’ve begun to adapt. I made particular plans to accommodate this on our recent travels. One of those travels (this was fairly early in the pregnancy, admittedly) was an all-day hike in the Gruyères region. Another was sightseeing in Spain. These plans meant making sure to leave enough time for rest periods. While sightseeing, it meant deliberately avoiding trying to see everything across any given city with a giant, day-long walk, but rather to focus on a smaller region and leave out the cross-city march. I intentionally reminded myself that we were not in a hurry, and that the experience of travel could be worth just as much as the destination. This last part is admittedly considerably easier when hiking to a cheese factory than it is while commuting to one’s job.
Gradually getting used to a slower pace of movement is doing me good. Not that I need to argue from authority, but slower walking has an advocate in a certain author who is widely influential on the topic of robustness. I’ve found it helpful to remind myself that rarely do I have anything so pressing that it necessitates walking quickly. Walking fast has its place, but I don’t need to do it all the time. A slower pace seems to make quite a difference to the way I feel about myself and the world: when I’m consciously moving slower, I feel more contented and relaxed than when I’m moving quickly.
All of this has nothing, specifically, to do with a pregnant wife, as I’m sure you’ve noticed. I’m just observing that, for me, this was the trigger for my recognition that slowing down a little has benefits in multiple areas. Walking is something most of us do frequently, so consider being mindful of your pace and thoughts while you do it.