There are a lot of urban hikers doing their things this week. In cities all across the country, people came together on Martin Luther King Jr Day to walk in unison. They walked in remembrance of a civil rights leader and to honor and commemorate past marches, such as Selma to Montgomery. They set out to celebrate the progress that has been made and to signify that we still have farther to go.

Just five days later, another series of walks were organized across the country to commemorate the second Anniversary of the Women’s March on Washington. The multitude of #metoo stories that are dominating the news and social media networks make it clear that women are not receiving the respect that they – or any human being – rightfully deserve.

There have also been other marches within the past twelve months that have made the news, such as the Unite the Right movement and rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

I am grateful that in our country – even if I disagree with the path – everyone has the right to walk in a direction of his or her own choosing. And, I think it’s fascinating that the simple act of walking, forward motion, can make such a strong statement. I have learned through experience that there is something very tangible and meaningful about using your physical body to express your emotions and beliefs.

In the hiking community, there are countless individuals who have walked long trails to raise awareness, funds, or support for a cause. For example, the first woman to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail was Mildred Norman, aka Peace Pilgrim. As a self-proclaimed mystic and pacifist, she walked the Appalachian Trail and over 20,000 additional miles to promote peace and unity

We live in a world that allows us to talk too much and hardly ever communicate. Often it is far more compelling to express an opinion with your actions as opposed to your mouth or keyboard. Sometimes the most effective way to express our viewpoint is to put our foot down, then the other, and head in the direction of our beliefs – without the promise of a finish line or results. Even if you’re not a hiker, you should ask yourself, “What will I walk towards?”

And just as important, ask yourself, “What will I walk away from?”

*Over the past two years, I interviewed six endurance hikers and runners (including David Horton, Heather Anderson, and Scott Jurek) to see what they were walking towards – and away from. If you want to read the answers then consider placing a pre-order for my new book The Pursuit of Endurance. You can place the order with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-a-Million or my favorite Asheville bookstore Malaprops!