On UK TV during September 2011 was a really enjoyable and fascinating programme involving two UK comedians Rhod Gilbert and Greg Davies. Their task was to travel across Tibet by car from India to China, a feat that at first thought might not seem very challenging but the programme highlighted the chaos rife on Tibetan roads, from cattle on main highways to a landslide causing the road to literally slide away underneath them as they drove over it.
The programme highlighted the tensions surrounding opposing views on opening up the more remote areas held by tourists and locals but what really grabbed my attention was a quip by Rhod which was “what’s the difference between a walk and a trek – people over 40 go for a walk, if you are under 40 it’s a trek”.
This made me want to think about the terms we use for exploring the countryside on foot; walking rambling, trekking, hiking, strolling. So I tried searching in Wikipedia for walking:
“Walking (also known as ambulation) is one of the main gaits of locomotion among legged animals, and is typically slower than running and other gaits. Walking is defined by an ‘inverted pendulum’ gait in which the body vaults over the stiff limb or limbs with each step. This applies regardless of the number of limbs – even arthropods with six, eight or more limbs.”
That did not seem to capture it so I tried Hiking.
“Hiking is an outdoor activity which consists of walking in natural environments, often in mountainous or other scenic terrain.”
Now I felt I was getting closer. Wikipedia then helped further by informing me that
“Trekking is a long journey undertaken on foot in areas where common means of transport is generally not available. Trekking is not mountaineering; it is days of walking, along with adventure.”
However, I got confused again when I read
“Walking in the countryside is also called rambling, and walking in mountainous areas is called hillwalking.”
So I have decided to stick to strolling –
“Strolling is walking along or through at a leisurely pace”.
Strolling captures everything that I like about putting one leg in front of the other whilst outdoors. Enjoying the beautiful countryside that we are blessed with, looking and listening for wildlife, breathing the clean fresh air and, of course, it’s also good exercise
So as a confirmed stroller I’ll just leave the walking to other over 40’s and the trekking to the under 40’s.
Here’s a well deserved shout out:
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All those terms are usable in English. I find that the most common term varies regionally. In Japan, for example, they tend to use “hiking”.