Whenever I return home from traveling, I usually compare a lot, reflect on what made me like where I visited and how I could apply it to my everyday life. On my recent LONDON>PARIS>NEW YORK adventure, I walked, a lot. My calves were constantly burning, my feet were always sore but my iPhone pedometer had never tracked that many steps (apart from Carnival Monday and Tuesday). So to me, this walking was a good thing.
Side note: I recently put on a lot of extra weight due to my love affair with carbs and all unhealthy foods, so any form of regular exercise, that doesn’t involve going to the gym is more than welcome.
For some ungodly reason, I woke up really early on Monday morning (post travels) and decided to treat Trinidad as if I was still away. There are enough places of interest within the same walking distance I would’ve covered in London. It was a beautiful morning so I got dressed, put on comfortable shoes, hit shuffle on iTunes and was off.
Problem #1: There was no sidewalk. In Diego Martin (La Puerta to be precise) there isn’t any pavement or designated pedestrian area until you reach the main road. This did not bother me at the time, as there were no cars on the street when I left home. Tunes blasting, I pressed on.
Problem #2: uneven, dirty pavements. *cue Adele* “Should I give up or should I just keep chasing pavements, even if they lead no where?” When I finally got to a pavement, there were random holes, extra slabs of concrete, and lots of debris, making what was meant to be a simple walk, a sort of zigzag, “watch out for your life” adventure. Which takes me to #3: There was no cross walk for me to cross a four way intersection without risking getting bounce. (Happy to report, I crossed safely on my own).
Problem #4: The Odor. The various smells, stenches and nauseating whiffs my nose endured on this walk was enough to make me run back home and give up on my journey for coffee. I persevered, but it was such a discouraging experience that I naturally answered my own question as to why we do not having a walking culture on an island.
See, that was the question that I battled that morning when I couldn’t understand how I went away to large cities and walked everywhere, everyday (without a music truck and alcohol for motivation) and yet didn’t walk on an island where everything is “5 minutes away”. Please note, I did not mention the sun in my problems. While yes I was completely dripping by the time I returned home, how can I complain about hot sun on an island? I was guarded with my SPF 100 before my journey and a little sweat never hurt nobody.
I can’t help but think that we’ve made our country, one with such a large pedestrian percentage mind you, very unfriendly for pedestrians, forcing commuters to jump into air conditioned vehicles, causing mind numbing traffic, perpetuating a system that just doesn’t seem to work.
I would love to be able to walk and bike on my island. On roads that have sidewalks and crosswalks at every intersection. In a clean environment. Without risking twisting my ankle, getting knocked down or smelling yesterday’s trash. I would love to live on an island that respects and cares about its citizens.