By Robyn Gault, Fleet Feet Sports Co-owner
Finally, it's summer time and I know the first thing I think about when the weather starts to heat up is vacation! One of my absolute favorite things to do is travel. I look forward to summer all year long, knowing that it means I get to go explore somewhere new, exciting and different. I love seeing many of the incredible cultures, architectural styles and people that I've learned about in school and seen on the news and in movies.
What I don't like doing is seeing all of these amazing cultures and monuments behind the windows of a car or bus. I would much rather be up close and personal; feeling, smelling, experiencing firsthand the environment around me.
In order to see the world unimpeded by dirty glass or a hot, smelly bus, I choose to experience my travels on foot, running and walking or by bike. One of my number one must-haves when traveling is a good pair of shoes for walking and running. Wherever I go - my running shoes are in tow. Yes, I know it is not the coolest pair of shoes to wear when taking to the fashion conscious streets of Europe, but guess what - I really don't care! I want to be comfortable when walking 8+ hours a day, living and engaging in a new culture.
Once, a few years back, I spent an entire day on a bike traveling through the in's and out's of Rome, Italy. Talk about an incredible, up close and personal experience! Although the traffic was insane, and made me rethink my choice for a brief second during the trip, once we got out of the city, it was the most fantastic day trip I have ever taken. Riding on the cobblestone streets of the Old Appian Way is truly something I will never forget, as well as something I would have never experienced from the backseat of a car.
Imagine running through the streets of St. Petersburg, Russia, and seeing a pack of wild dogs roaming the streets. During a run through Russia, this very thing happened to me, and despite it being a bit alarming, it was an irreplaceable experience that only running or riding would have allowed me to enjoy.
Plus, it's great exercise too! It's easy, and rewarding, to stay active while traveling and it's a great way to see the sights. Now-a-days, many hotels have running and walking routes available, plus the benefits of run mapping programs, such as Map My Run are great tools for setting a course and exploring in-depth the culture.
With school ending and many families and individuals heading out on the road on vacation, don't miss any of the sites and sounds, grab a pair of running shoes or rent a bike and get moving!
Safe travels, everyone!