This is an excerpt from a well-written and some what humorous article on Skills Every Young Man Should Know. I am compiling a list for my own boys and I found many of the things in this article useful to incorporate. The list of skills comes from the work of Robert Littell in 1933. There is way too much in the article to share here, but these two paragraphs on learning how to 'take a walk' interested me.
Walking is a noble but neglected sport. Americans “hike” once in a long while but seldom walk. And hiking easily becomes hitch-hiking. The automobile, organized athletics, and the fact that American cities and American suburbs are dismal places to walk in have caused American feet to abandon the roads. For every climber in an American national park–some of which are quite as beautiful as any Alps–there are ten “hikers,” fifty who “pack” on horses, and ten thousand who survey the wonders of nature from the windows of a sedan.
Walking in this country is a lost cause, yet walking is one of the habits I should wish my son to acquire. No other exercise, if indulged in several days at a time in pleasant, moderately wild country, has greater power to remake a man, to iron out his creases, to produce deep health and spiritual calm. The first steps in this elementary course had best be taken in Europe, where the natives do not look upon people with heavy shoes and knapsacks as slightly cracked.