We’re Luke and Nell from What If We Walked?, a travel couple dedicated to slowly wandering our way around the world. For us we mean that literally, as most of our adventures are on foot. We’ve taken a walking trip all over Europe, including a trail from the UK all the way to Rome.
We started traveling years ago by going backpacking, and walking is a bit like that. You’re moving around all the time, roughing it now and then, and living out of your rucksack. While there are also big differences—with a walking trip, you have to be focused and determined to push yourself—the physical and mental challenge of walking travel is worth it. The abilities to walk from place to place, take everything in at your own pace, and make vivid memories together far outstrip any problems you might experience along the way.
Here are our top 6 reasons to take a walking trip as a couple:
1. Have fun planning it together
Once you start looking into walking trips, you’ll find that there are trails all over the world. As a couple, it’s fun to get the map out, find where you are going, and trace the route from “here” all the way down to “there.” After that you can start working out what to take, buy, and book ahead together. It’s an activity to do on long Sunday afternoons; you can write out lists after going for practice walks together.
2. Slow down and enjoy the sights
You don’t have to be “outdoorsy” to take a walking trip. For us, walking is about seeing places slowly, and finding unexpected things. However, that doesn’t have to mean trekking hundreds of miles. We’ve often found that the less distance you travel, the more you see.
A walking trip also doesn’t have to mean hiking or roughing it. We like to pick trails that stop in different places. That way, we get to experience the local culture and mix up our accommodations, from camping all the way to hotels. Of course, if you are “outdoorsy,” you’ll love it. A walking trip is surprisingly adaptable.
3. Embark on unexpected adventures
We’ve realized that there are a lot of places that you can only see on foot. While walking, you’ll end up in all kinds of secret, amazing experiences.
Like when we…
- Wandered into the vineyard of Veuve Clicquot in Champagne, France…
- Were the only people exploring derelict castles dotted high above the Aosta Valley in Northern Italy…
- Or met a Dutch guy on the road who invited us to stay in his huge pink chateau!
Hiking up, down and around together, you will find unique experiences and memories to last forever.
4. Spend quality time together
You’ll spend every day in each other’s company, and sometimes only in each other’s company. Don’t worry if that sounds intense. It doesn’t actually feel that way. Walking gives you time to chat or think. We do a bit of both, and more often than not, we end up in bizarre conversations about celebrities or food. At this point, we’ve developed so many in-jokes with each other; it might sound to a passerby like we’re speaking in code.
5. Become a team
Walking trips are navigating a new place with new maps, new landscapes and maybe a new language. Sections of it can be hard, and you’ll need the other person for help and support. Becoming that for each other is an awesome experience.
We’ve been together for eight years and there were still things we didn’t know about each other until we started walking. (Who knew that Luke is basically part mountain goat and able to hop effortlessly down a sheer cliff face? Or that Nell is basically the opposite, and can more accurately be compared to Bambi?)
6. Gain a new perspective on each other and the world
We found that slowing down to walking at the same pace together is one of the best things we’ve done to appreciate each other and all of the places that we have visited. We certainly appreciate each other’s sense of humor more now (it’s gotten us out of many sticky spots!) and are becoming quite gifted at both spotting and hiking up to hidden viewpoints.
Taking a walking trip as a couple gives you the chance to stop, take a deep breath, and be thankful for the world before you. Don’t we all need reminding of that from time to time?