Over the weekend, an old friend came to visit. Brittney is one of my most sporty friends, so when she visits I always try to plan something fun and active for us to do. I was disappointed that my recent ankle injury may slow us down, until I remembered the great joy she and I have while just walking.

I had just turned 20 when I moved to London. The hostel gave me my own room — an ideal situation for any budget traveler, but for me it was the worst-case scenario. I moved overseas with little more than a work visa and the hope that things would work out. I was painfully shy and insecure and I spent the first few lonely days crying in my room.

Marsh
Marsh

I finally met some girls who were living next door, and one night they asked if I wanted to go for a walk. We set out to find food, but instead we ended up walking and talking for hours. I slowly started to gain the confidence that comes when one has found his/her tribe.

We later moved in together into the attic of a house in northwest London — which at various times housed up to 19 people. As most of the roommates enjoyed spending free time at the pub, Brittney and I spent our time walking. We walked nearly every night around our neighborhood, often so engrossed in conversation that we found ourselves lost. Hours later, after following the Tube tracks back to our stop, we would find our way home.


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On our walks, Brittney and I covered important topics: homesickness, potential careers, boys we had crushes on, to even fantasizing about the exotic places we would live someday. On those walks during our time in London, we learned so much about ourselves and how we would fit into the world.

Since then, we have traveled together and taken walks all over — from Jamaica, to Edinburg, to the top of Pikes Peak. But 10 years later our conversations have changed: Instead of fantasizing about what life will be like when we grow up, we talk about our current careers and the houses we own.

Through the years, as we are still learning about ourselves and how we fit into the world — my long walks with Brittney are still a significant in helping us to interpret life.

Liz Marsh's "Under the Influence" runs twice a month in the Colorado Daily.