Getting there, not just arriving {life as a pedestrian family}

We’re walking to church one Sunday morning and Stefan stops to point out a spider web he sees on a gate. We stop and notice the intricate detail and chat a few moments about everything from Charlotte’s Web to The Very Busy Spider to the bug that we notice is caught in the web. All this takes place in just a few brief moments and we’re back to walking. This isn’t a nature walk. We have somewhere to go.

(On the way to church)

Our lives have dramatically changed since becoming pedestrians. We now calculate our plans based on weather, distance, and the number of hills (at least if Dad is not with us and I am doing all the stroller pushing).

We’ve gone from making casual last minute runs to the library to having to carefully plan the number of outings in each week, because it will inevitably involve a lot of walking. We aren’t in the center of town. We live one mile from the city center. That isn’t much, until you factor in getting a family of 6 people (four of them 6 and under) there and back. (The coming home is inevitably the hardest part).

(Spotting a nest)

But there is one amazing part of this that I have begun to take note of. As pedestrians, the getting there is as much a part of our outing as the arriving. Let me explain. Last year at this time you might have invited me over for our kids to play together. I would have loaded my kids in the car, hopped in the driver seat and driven to your place to start our outing. Getting there was simply a needed activity to get to enjoy our friends and our play date.

(It was a rainy day and I had to walk into town by myself with all the kids for an appointment. These gorgeous blooms helped me persevere and change my outlook.)

Now, however, no matter where we go, the journey is just as important as the destination. Because it is a lot of walking we have to factor in a lot of extra time to get our family from point A to point B. We sometimes need to stop and give little legs a break. We need to stop and check on the growth of “our” ducklings. We notice new flowers that have bloomed from the last time we were here. We spot some swans and stop to look them. A dog walks by and the one brave one of my kids may stop and pet it. We try to catch some butterflies. We notice the bees on the flowers.

(Taking in a soccer game on the way home from church)

Yes, we are technically going somewhere, but in order to not get completely weary, the getting there is every bit a part of our outing.

Because we no longer have wheels to carry us everywhere, the slower walking lifestyle causes us to see things and enjoy things we never would have noticed before. The point is no longer simply arriving. We’re enjoying the getting there too.

(Feeding ducks on the way home from church)

I wonder how many other areas I need to learn this in?

Enjoy the reading, not just finishing the book.

Enjoy the tastes of your food, not just gulping down a meal.

Enjoy the process of decorating your home, not just hurriedly getting it done.

Yes, we have places to go. But the journey is just as important.

This is the beginning of a short series on life as a pedestrian family. I’m excited to share this part of our life with you. If you have any questions or are curious about any part of this lifestyle, please leave them in the comments or email me and I will do my best to answer them!



  1. I’m excited for this series and love the pictures! Have you found the kid’s endurance has improved with time?

    • Johanna says:

      I’ll share more in a post, but to answer your question: absolutely! (Also, thanks for the encouragement as I dip my fingers back into blogging. 😉 )

  2. Christi says:

    We love to go for walks… as a pleasurable activity! I am not sure that I would be quite so excited about them if walking with my little one was my only method of getting from Point A to Point B. I love the perspective that the journey is just as important as the destination. As I am expecting baby number 2 (and have been struggling with sickness for the last 17 weeks) I have found myself “living” for my due date. Reading your post challenged me to look for the joy in the journey too!

    • Johanna says:

      It is definitely not always easy, but keeping a healthy perspective is key. So excited to hear you are expecting again! Congratulations (and I’m sorry you are so sick :( )

  3. Priscilla says:

    I needed this today! Our American lifestyle forces us to do everything fast, fast, fast….I’m about to fall over in exhaustion! :-) It creeps it’s way in my daily Bible reading, church ministry, and family time too. Thanks for the reminder to enjoy the journey!

    • Johanna says:

      I think it is much easier to live slowly here than in the US. I’m already thinking about how we can maintain a slower lifestyle when we move back!

  4. I love this post! We were a pedestrian family until Emma was 9 months old, and while I love having a car in many ways there are things I miss. We can now walk all the kids to school, and that alone is ever so much nicer than driving (not so much when the weather is hot/cold/rainy, but I live in California!)

    • Johanna says:

      That’s so great the kids can walk to school! My brother just moved to CA and the kids are going to be able to walk to school as well!

  5. I MISS the European way of walking everywhere and somehow always having plenty of time to do it! Nevertheless, I’m sure it would take some adjusting at this point in my life with 5 kids! I’d be willing to try it though 😉

  6. Hi, we’re a family of Brits living in France without a car.
    We’re in a big city with excellent public transport so that makes it easier, of course.
    Also our kids are aged 19 and 17!
    Thanks for your blog and for sharing these things.

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