Destination-less Walking: mini mission

Writing about my recent visit to San Francisco inspired today’s mini-mission. Usually we walk to get somewhere. We walk to arrive at a destination. We walk to get healthier, or skinnier or faster. What do we miss when we are walking for another purpose?

Like many things, sometimes when you try to make walking productive, you actually miss the walk.

What if you just went for a walk?

Destination-less walking is your mini-mission. Slow down, look around and walk. Schedule a block of time so you aren’t rushed and you can just walk and have time to take in your surroundings; up, down and all around. Notice what may have passed you by on your regular walking route or go somewhere new. Be surprised by what happens around you and inside you. Be aware of what you see, but not consumed by it.

When I was in San Francisco, I found great joy in walking around without a destination. In our day to day routines, we are so consumed with going through the motions, that we often forget to look around. The world continues to move above us, below us and all around us, even if we don’t notice.

For this mini-mission it doesn’t matter if you walk alone or with someone you love. Your speed or lack of it is not important. Walk wearing sneakers or flip flops or no shoes at all. Walk on the road, a trail, the beach or wherever you want. This walk has no rules, no specific distance, and no pressure. This walk is not a competition. This walk is just for you.

For more experiments to simplify your life, read Mini-missions for Simplicity. It’s available on the Amazon Kindle store, but you don’t need a Kindle to read it. Kindle books can also be read using the Free Kindle Reader App for your Web Browser, PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android.


  1. says

    I enjoy walking very much with my fiancé Thanh Ngoc. Each night we have the same walking route and it is usually late at night, when not many people around.

    This is our time for a break from work (we have a home business).

    I know that going for walks makes us healthy, but it really isn’t the reason for doing it. It’s time for us to connect and talk to each other, without any distractions. Also, we’re in the middle of spring and everything looks beautiful at the moment.

    • Courtney Carver says

      Peter I love that. Taking that time to connect or re-connect is so important. We are not in the middle of Spring in Utah. In fact, it is snowing now and ski resorts are opening this weekend!

  2. Meg B. says

    This is a lovely thought! I suffer from “hurry up syndrome”, also known as “just get where you’re going syndrome”. This is such a good reminder that I am missing out. Thank you.

  3. says

    Lovely post, Courtney. I take destination-less walks all the time, and they are wonderful.

    I really like the new look. The header is absolutely gorgeous.

  4. says

    My favorite walk is with my grandchildren, or my dog. They help me see and experience things, without them I wouldn’t have noticed are there. A rock that is perfectly round, or a hermit crab that has chosen the most elaborate shell to be its home. The “walk” is what counts–not where we are going.

  5. Leah Rhodes says

    I often walk with no destination. It’s one of life’s best pleasures. Thanks for the lovely post.

  6. says

    One of my favorite things to do is walk, but sometimes I find myself quite distracted – I’ll think about the exercise I’m getting, or get a call (that I choose to answer) on my mobile phone.

    But other times I just go for the sake of the walk, and those are often the times that I have my best, deepest thoughts about life.

  7. The Barking Unicorn says

    For a pure, aimless walk, just follow a stray dog. It has no intention of getting anywhere and it’s interested in everything.

  8. says

    Thanks for this post! You inspired me to leave work ON TIME for a change, then head home for a walk with my brother before winter is scheduled to set in tomorrow. We walked through the neighborhood we grew up in, just noticing what’s changed and what’s stayed the same. It’s amazing the shared memories that come up.

  9. says

    Brenda Ueland suggests walking 4+ miles daily in her book,”If you want to write”,published 1938.

    “…and how do these creative thoughts come? They come in a slow way.It is the little bomb of revelation bursting inside you.I found I never took a long , solitary walk,without some of these silent,little inward bombs bursting quietly:’I see,I understand that now’and a feeling of happiness.”

  10. says


    My favorite type of destination-less walking is through the woods. It’s fun to just pick a path as it comes up (as long as you don’t get lost!). There’s something about meandering through the trees that is just so magical.

    Btw, I love the new look. It reminds me of fresh linen. :)

  11. says

    I walk several times a week on my own or with my daughter or a friend for exercise and to calm my mind. I love it. This wonderful post made me realize that I really only walk without a destination when I’m on vacation. I think I’ll change that. Thanks for the suggestion.

  12. says

    One of my favorite memories growing up was going on “meanders” with my Dad (and sister). We’d just walk and see where we ended up. It was fun to just be together, the destination didn’t matter.

  13. says

    This is too funny! Last Friday, after having a lovely cup of coffee with Tammy at RowdyKittens, I started walking in search of a place to write. I didn’t want one of my usual haunts, so I just kept walking.

    Of all things, I took a street I don’t normally, and a frozen yogurt shop had just opened. They were giving away free yogurt the first day! Yum! I couldn’t believe my luck. I ended up just wandering more afterwards, and it was so beautiful. The feeling of wandering just can’t be beat. It satisfies my wanderlust in a way nothing else does.

    Unknown reward may lurk just beyond the next corner, if you are willing to take a peek.

  14. manish says

    hello Courtney,

    I am Manish, from india and a new comer to your blog with reference to Zen habits. after reading your interesting n meaningful this post gave me a new dimension to my walks. thx for this wonderful helping blog.

    heartfelt regards

  15. says

    A group of us in Brooklyn have started a collective for setting up a kind of learning coop, or “unschool,” We were tossing around subject areas for open-ended learning activities, and talked about doing a group that walks together without a destination. I Googled, and found your blog! Sometimes I walk very slowly, so as not to miss anything. If you REALLY SEE what you’re looking at, it’s all fascinating.