The Walk of Life

Milan, Italy
I’m a huge fan of walking tours. 

When I travel, I think it's the best way to explore the tucked away corners and hidden pockets of a city.

And if it's a foodie walking tour with a sampling of snacks along the way, then I'm ready to walk for miles.

{Just so you know, I like to walk but I do not like to wear shoes that are comfortable for walking. 

This refusal to give up my stylish shoe wear causes a myriad of fashion dilemmas for me. 

Along with packing predicaments since I can't decide which shoes to take and a need for an abundance of band-aids for blisters.}

The hillsides of Bellagio, Italy

It's taken some experimental tour excursions but I eventually figured things out.

In Paris, I got off the plane after flying all night and embarked on a five-hour city tour that included travel on foot, by boat and by bus. 

I thought riding in an air-conditioned motor coach would give me the first look at this enchanting city while I relaxed in comfort. Instead I felt nauseous from staying awake all night and somewhere around the Arc de Triomphe I fell asleep on the bus. 

I ended up with one wobbly photo of the Eiffel Tower taken from my seat {complete with the window reflection} and very little recollection of my first drive around Paris. 

I realized bus touring wasn't really my style. 

On a visit to New York City a few years ago I wanted to walk everywhere, but my hostess laughed at me and told me it wasn't possible. 

I gave in and rode the subway but took a foodie tour of the East Village. That's where I learned it's not so easy to walk, eat, listen to the guide and take photos all at the same time.

I juggled my camera while I ate compost cookies and ice cream made from green peas at Milk Bar Bakery. 

And I learned that what may appear to be destined for the rubbish heap can often be repurposed for something unexpectedly delicious.

It’s when I'm walking that I always notice more. 

My pace is slower and my attention is drawn to a surprising sight or a different perspective that I might not have noticed if I were moving at a faster clip.

And I guess that’s how this walk of life is too, sometimes.

New York City


I'm not sure if you're racing or waiting during this season of your life. 

Maybe you've got the sun in your face, enjoying the ride and adventure. Or maybe you find yourself stalled temporarily or facing a dead end, wondering how to get started again, holding a suitcase full of questions.

All I know is eventually you just have step off the curb, keep an eye on the traffic and keep walking.

Until one day you'll look back and see just how far you've traveled.

So when my sister asked me what I wanted to do for my birthday next week, I told her I’d found a local foodie walking tour and wondered if she was game.

She said sure, her boots were made for walking.

I have no idea what shoes I'll wear though. 

I know I won't be wearing the funky-blue-flats-quasi-tennis-shoes I took to Italy {and never wore again}, and I'm sure I won't be wearing the too-high wedge heels I wore around Paris.

But whatever I decide to wear, I’m sure hoping the tour will be a cakewalk. Literally.

{I'm in the pink shirt, in case you can't tell by the shoes, taking photos in Italy.}

A little note on the photos: thanks to my mother for always walking behind me and snapping photos when I least expect it.

I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. Click the image if you want to read more posts from my blogger friends!


  1. Valerie, this is so well written. I was captivated from start to finish. I hear ya on the shoes. I found some bandaids that are really good for blisters. Send me a note and I can look at the name for you. (Can't remember it off the top of my head.) What a blessing it must be to see all of these areas. Love seeing your pictures (pictures are as close as I'll ever get to most places outside the US.) Beautiful post, thanks for sharing. ((hug))

    1. Brenda,
      Thank you for these kind words! Oh -- trying to wear the same shoes after walking in them all day is the worst -- your super-find for first aid for blisters sounds like a winner! :)

  2. What a fun post! I'd do a foodie walk tour with you any day of the week!

    And your shoes! So very gorgeous!

    Seriously, since I've been doing more walking this summer, my feet have HURT! I've adjusted my sneakers accordingly. But still, I do best in bare feet, and if that's not good enough, my Tevas. In the winter, it's my fake Crocs with fluffy slipper socks.

    I scared you off with those fake Crocs, didn't I! Now you won't want to walk with me.


    1. Linda,
      Well actually the fluffy slipper socks did it! :) And foodie tours are so much fun -- I'd love to have you accompany me some day! xo

  3. You are so brave, Valerie. :) Ice cream made with peas?! I never knew there were so many unique foods out there until I started reading your blog. :) I love this - "Even though I still don’t have it all figured out, I don’t think I have to." I need to take that to heart. I'm one who over-analyzes and likes to figure out the why in everything, but I often have to tell myself I don't need to. As long as we're holding Jesus' hand, we're fine, right? Blessings and hugs to you!

    1. Trudy,
      I'm laughing at your words because our definitions of brave for each other are so different! I would never in a million years touch a frog --to even look it in the eye is brave for me :) and you think I'm brave to eat ice cream made from peas! :) I'll tell you -- I'm not sure I'd eat it again but I'll try just about anything once! I always look forward to sharing my food adventures with you! xo

  4. I feel like I just got to take a tour! Okay I am sure it is not near the same looking at photos as it is actually being there, but it feels rather close and very exciting to me. I love how your mom cares to snap photos with you actually in them, being a mom of 3 I usually always behind the camera but never appear anywhere so I think that is super sweet! I am a foodie too, a lover of little shops and old buildings with character so I think I understand your pull towards the little backways and stretches on foot. I love seeing your adventures and can't wait to see more, Val!

    1. Meg,
      I'm not a fan of posing for photos so my mother will take them surreptitiously and then when I use them, she tells me she told me so and I should thank her for being so insistent! I hope you have better luck with your kids! :) Food and history tours -- I don't think there's a better combination!

  5. Hi Valerie,
    Somehow your words always strike something buried deep in my heart! That Scripture verse from Isaiah 26 has been an important one in my life through the years. But together with these words: "Maybe you've got the sun in your face, enjoying the ride and adventure. Or maybe you find yourself stalled temporarily or facing a dead end," I remembered when God whispered words to me about living out His Adventure. And I realized that so often my perspective is what determines whether I see my path as a dead-end, or as an adventure-road. Thank you for your encouraging thoughts that remind me it's all about HIM, and HIS way of walking is the best!

    1. Hi Bettie,
      Oh I'm so glad you mentioned that verse! I hadn't noticed it much before I included it here! Our perspectives are so difficult to keep on track when so many things in our lives are beyond our control. Somehow I don't think God sees any of our lives as a dead end, don't you think?! xo

  6. Hi Valerie! I have never taken a foodie walking tour- That sounds fun! what a great thing to do for your birthday!! -I hope there is lots of cake!! I like walking too! Thats what I loved about Japan when I was there. You walked all the time everywhere- I would much rather walk than drive. I have been sensing the Lord slowing me down some too. I have said no to more things than normal this fall and it is strange though it seems right I have felt terribly guilty about it. It feels unnatural to my people pleasing self!! Anyway it has caused me to slow down and to also be able to say yes to other types of things like ice-cream treats and walks etc. I do feel your pain about the shoe dilemma though I can’t wear high heels without tripping. It is hard to sacrifice the outfit for comfortable shoes!!hahaha anyway! So glad you have something fun planned for your day!! sending birthday hugs and blessings! (wish I could bring you flowers to!!)

    1. Hi Susie,
      I wish I could hear some of your stories about Japan -- I'm sure they must be fascinating -- and I bet you've tasted plenty of interesting food there, too! Having to decline projects or invitations that you want to or make you feel like you're missing out or feel guilty about are so difficult, but sometimes we find something of greater worth, don't we? Thank you for the sweet birthday wishes -- I can't bear to sacrifice fashion to comfort either! :) xoxo

  7. It is so true that sometimes what were walking for but get stalled in the process ends up coming off our radar. I always admire women who wear such gorgeous shoes and I often feel under dressed in my Crocks, most comfortable for walking! Sometimes the season demands more of a hearty boot when the terrain gets rough but thankfully we know He's got it routed to prosper us. Lovely photos and words Valerie! Thank you!

    1. Hi Lynn,
      Yes, I am so glad God's got us routed where we should be and sometimes it just takes us a little while to discover that where we are on the map is more than we thought it was at first. It is such a dilemma to combine a hint of fashion with shoes that can take the rigors of walking but sometimes only boots can survive rocky terrain!

  8. I love to walk! Walking alone is my thinking time and walking with a friend leads to great conversation. Walking and eating....I could do that....

    1. Sarah,
      There's so much great time to think while walking -- I'm with you on that! :)

  9. Beautiful travel pics! Knowing when to walk and when to run and when to just take a nap on the bus is one of the hardest parts of this faith-life.

  10. Valerie! I had to come over here before the week ended! Got the head cold yesterday but that's not an excuse not to come over to visit. : )

    This post is right on for my life right now. Carrying that suitcase of questions is exactly right. The other day though I read another blogger who talked about running the race too but talked about how the Holy Spirit is our pacer. Kinda cool. Maybe I need to give my suitcase over to Him.

    I love all the pictures! I would be the opposite with my style of shoes. When I go on trips, I love putting on the t shirt and shorts and comfortable tennis shoes (pants for the winter with a hoodie of course and my awesome comfortable and slightly stylish boots lol). Do you know where you are going for your birthday yet?
    have a good weekend

    1. Hi Kristina,
      I do love that -- the Holy Spirit guiding our pace! I love what you said about slightly stylish boots -- I imagine if you actually need them for snow or rain that would cause me a problem, too! :) I'm looking forward to a foodie tour for my birthday next weekend! :)

  11. I love reading your blog. Such good thoughts. Thanks!

  12. I like your commitment to fashion. Even on a walking tour of European cities. I agree that walking is so much better than a noisy bus tour. I love these lines : And now I don't think I even want what I so desperately set my heart on.
    It's funny how that happens and somethings just always stick to us. The dreams I suppose the real fabric of our hearts that God places there
    Always a joy to read !

    1. Thank you Somer! I'm afraid sometimes my commitment to fashion is silly but if I don't feel happy about what I'm wearing, it tends to color my mood and enjoyment of what I'm doing. Even though that's a bit shallow, a girl's gotta have cute shoes! :)

  13. Walking around places is definitely the best way to discover their secrets! We did a "ghost tour" of Sydney and I discovered things I didn't know about it even after living there for almost 2 years! We also always make the greatest food discoveries when we are just walking around NYC and accidentally find a place we love....

  14. Hi Amy! Now I'd love to hear about a tour of Sydney! And if only I could be in your shoes, seeing NYC all the time and experiencing the delicious food!


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