This is a guest blog post by Duncan Galbraith, founder of World Walking.
On December 30, 2019, an inspirational group from Oceanside, Long Island, New York, led by Assistant Superintendent, Diane Provvido, became the first school district in the USA to walk all 48 contiguous US states; an epic virtual journey of 13,400 miles made possible by our tiny, Scottish charity’s fun, free and easy to use website/app called World Walking.
We are delighted to have this opportunity to celebrate their achievement with you and to share with you how you too can explore our amazing world as you walk to work, walk with friends or walk to health.
Our simple idea
The idea behind World Walking is simple; you use the steps (miles or kilometers) you walk each day to complete virtual walks to some of the best places on Earth.
We’re thrilled that our community of online walkers has clocked up over 29 billion steps (12 million miles) and completed more than 19,300 virtual walks since we launched World Walking in late 2013.
Getting started is as simple as a walk in the park. Just join the website, or download our app on your smartphone, choose your virtual walk… and go!
What is World Walking?
World Walking is a free, bespoke, online resource created simply to motivate people to walk more.
It can be used by anyone, anytime, anywhere, comes complete with two integrated GPS apps for iPhone and Android smartphones, and can be used in conjunction with Fitbit and Apple Health Kit.
And everyone is welcome. You can use it on your own or create a group for your family, friends, and colleagues to join.
How does it work?
Once you registered and created your free account you are ready to choose where in the world you would like to walk, allowing you to ‘visit’ the places you’ve always wanted to go to and learn about the world we live in.
So far, we have curated more than 280 virtual walks, varying in lengths to suit all abilities. Our library includes a number of US options available ranging through cities, States, a national park, and walking across the country north to south and east to west. For the adventurous there is our 13,446 mile USA walk from Washington State to Washington.
Each virtual walk features an interactive map showing your chosen route and a number of milestones along the way, each with a quality image and information about the place allowing you to find out more about our world as you walk.
As you add the steps or distance you have walked the map of your journey and your progress chart updates so you can tell where you are at any point in time, know how far you have walked, and see how far you have to go. Thanks to Google Street View you can also see what the world looks like at the point you’ve reached on your walk.
World Walking in the USA
We’re delighted to have had users in each of the USA’s 50 States!
Our links with the USA stretch back to 2015 when we were invited to:
- Support the “Health and Fitness Challenge” organized by Jim Tulley, the visionary Mayor of Titusville, Florida; and
- To replicate the route of the Race Across USA, a 3,000 mile footrace in support of The 100 Mile Club, founded by the inspirational Kara Lubin with the goal of preventing childhood inactivity and obesity, one child, school and community at a time.
Since then, we’ve had a lot of fun supporting a range of varied walking ideas, including:
- Military spouses of the service personnel from the US Marine Corps;
- The residents of the Madison Meadows Retirement Complex in Phoenix, Arizona, led by a lovely man named Allan Forth, who recently completed Route 66 and are now ‘away’ on the other side of the world walking New Zealand; and, of course,
- The inspirational group from Oceanside, which is now deciding on their next World Walking challenge.
The past couple of months have been unprecedented as the world struggles to contain and defeat COVID-19. The pandemic has led to many more people than normal signing up to use World Walking as they search for ways to stay active safely, stay connected while adhering to social distancing rules.
Since April 1st, over 8,500 new World Walking accounts have been created; equivalent to 70% of 2019/20’s new registrations in just 6 weeks. And lots of miles have been clocked up during the same period; over 816,000 miles – 32 times around the world in just 40 days!
We hope something in our story fires up your imagination and that we’ll bump into you somewhere along the way.
- Join World Walking
- Choose where in the world you would like to walk
- Find out more about World Walking
- Contact World Walking if you have a question or a suggestion for a new virtual walk