Virtual walks are not a new computer age idea but have existed for centuries. You still have to do actual walks but you simply imagine you are somewhere else. They may encourage you to go out and do your twenty minutes on occasions when you’re not sure you want to make the effort.
First, a bit of history. Believers of many faiths feel the need to make a pilgrimage to somewhere special to their religion, for instance Santiago de Compostela, Mecca or Jerusalem. Many who may wish to do so cannot afford the expense or the time to make the actual journey but find an alternative way to complete the distance without really leaving home. One way of doing this is to follow a route of a known length over and over again. Some labyrinths, especially those in or near religious buildings may have been created for the purpose and pilgrims would be told how many times they needed to walk the labyrinth to complete the distance to their chosen shrine. The time spent walking could be used for contemplation and sometimes prayers or holy verses would be recited. The picture shows one of the oldest known labyrinth patterns. Notice there are no dead ends. Mazes have dead ends but there is only one way to go in a labyrinth. Until, of course, you reach the middle and turn round to start the route out. Perhaps that’s the reason why the middles of some labyrinths are called Jerusalem.
You can get the idea of s labyrinth by following the arrows round a branch of IKEA. In fact, places such as IKEA become have places of a different sort of pilgrimage in their own right. A pilgrimage in a car will not help to gain the health benefits gained by walking though.
We have created strip maps of the journey between our home town and various surrounding landmarks with marks at mile intervals. The marathon distance has proved popular. Each time walkers complete a walk they colour the distance they have walked on the map until they have reached their target. Some even ‘virtually’ turn around and colour it again walking back. We hope to add more on this theme.