If you could teach a child one thing to keep them safe from life’s greatest threats, what would it be?
Self-defense? Risk assessment? Internet security? How to spot a terrorist? Kill a zombie? Eat 5-a-day? I think it might be curiosity – about the world, about other people, about what’s possible, how things work, what’s round the corner, why we’re here and how things connect.
A zombie attack would be awful, don’t get me wrong – though I would try simply running as a first expedient; they don’t seem that quick. But curiosity’s the antidote to a threat more general and more insidious: that of growing up a berk, a bore and ultimately a blithering old fool. (I don’t say I’m winning this battle.)
That’s why this issue is dedicated to the curious – though I hope that’s something you could say of every issue of a magazine about walking, an activity itself so conducive to wondering, such a pumice to prejudice.
In your joints, walking spurs the production of something called ‘synovial fluid’ – a frictionless oil that helps you stay flexible and reduces the tendency to inflammation. It scarcely does less to our thoughts and our conversations. Because to walk is to stay curious, and to stay curious is to stay young. And being young – not least in knees and spirit – is the best life insurance you can have.
This month I’ve been... 3 2 1 1 Revelling in learning about our ancient woodland and the stainedglass beauty of its autumn canopy. 2 Bumping into reader and fellow #walk1000mile challenger Gill Murphy – both of us chuffed to bits! 3 Not eating this ‘Amethyst Deceiver’. Even though it turns out to be edible, the fact it can accumulate arsenic from the soil doesn’t particularly fifill me with regret.