On walking, and creativity

There are two reasons I like to walk.

The first is that if something is bothering me, I usually find it impossible to be annoyed about it once I have been walking for about half an hour.

You might think that's just because the irritating person or thing is now half an hour away from me.

And that's true. But I think it's something deeper than that, too.

There's something about movement, and being outside, that forces my brain to think about things differently.



was in the wrong?

Or maybe they


being unreasonable, but there's nothing I can do about that, and that's ok?

Everything seems better after a half hour walk.

The second reason I like to walk is that's when inspiration seems to strike.

Or to put it another way, I find it almost impossible to be creative while sitting at my desk.

The idea of a

Survival Japanese

course had been rumbling around in my head for a while, but it formed itself into something concrete when I was in Shikoku in April.

I was surrounded by all these

Japanese signs

, and reading constantly. It made me think back to the first time I visited Japan, in 2008. I couldn't read


then, and it was so frustrating.

By the end of the day, I had a clear idea in my head of what I wanted the Survival Japanese course to look like - a practical class, all about getting around.

No textbook, no grammar.

And an explicit invitation to students to be pro-active and selective about what they need to learn, and what they don't.

I wasn't trying to plan a course on my walk. I was on holiday! I was supposed to be resting my brain, and definitely not working...

But don't you ever find that ideas pop up when you're relaxed, physically away from your work space, and thinking about something else?

This can be annoying. My office isn't at the beach, and I can't take my computer with me on a walk. (You could get out your smartphone, I suppose, and start making notes. But that's not really in the spirit of the thing.)

The writing-things-down part has to happen at my desk. But the thinking part - that usually happens on a walk.

I suspect I'm not the only one. Am I?