Walking and Talking


I’ve long loved the concept of walking meetings, and recently I stumbled into one. I say stumbled because during my internal “should I put on flip-flops for the five blocks to the coffee shop, or keep the heels on and look professional?” debate, it never once occurred to me that we wouldn’t actually be staying at the coffee shop for the meeting.

I decided that five blocks was nothing because these are my “comfy” heels.

Or I should say were my comfy heels. I know them now for what they truly are: instruments of torture.

I arrived at the meeting, one minute late, sweaty because of the sunshine and rushing to get there, worried about starting off on the wrong foot (haha, couldn’t help myself) with Pat Flynn, the Assemblyman for downtown Anchorage. We were meeting to discuss Anchorage’s libraries, and Pat was instrumental in achieving the libraries “B+ Budget” last year instead of something much more dire. Fortunately, I was the first one there. Hooray for fast walk-trotting!

Then I realized that Side Street Espresso, although a very charming coffee shop, doesn’t take cards and that was all I had with me. An embarrassing moment, but my library counterpart spotted me a cup of drip coffee. Despite the sweatiness, almost lateness (if you’re late, but everyone else is later, are you still late?) and mooching for caffeine, at least I was wearing my cute, professional heels, right?


As soon as Pat suggested we enjoy the sunshine and walk on the coastal trail instead of sitting inside, I inwardly cringed.

Don’t get me wrong; I wanted to walk.

It was nice out, and like I said, I love the concept of walking meetings. But these shoes were NOT made for walking.

Despite my inappropriate footwear, I refused to be the person keeping us from enjoying the fine summer sun (seriously, how embarrassing would it be to decline the walk simply because I picked the wrong occasion to wear heels?), so I kept my mouth shut and we set out.

My feet soon lost all feeling, which was good because I could relax and enjoy the conversation, which was pretty great – basically talking about something you care about with interested people who care about it too, and want to make it even better for everyone.

Plus, it was fun to walk through downtown with a “neighborhood kid” who seemed to know everyone and had a nice little loop mapped out for us. We walked and talked and sipped our coffee. (Impressively, Pat carried his in a ceramic mug and didn’t spill a drop.)

You may be wondering if the blisters and raw patches on my feet were worth it?


But I did learn some lessons:

  1. Always, ALWAYS have back-up truly comfy shoes (read: heels will never really be comfy).
  2. If you can, take a stroll through downtown with Pat.
  3. Try a walking meeting. You get a bit of exercise, the fresh air and activity increases brain function, and it’s fun. I plan to have more in my future.

Have you ever held or been to a walking meeting? Will you do it again?

Author: Gretchen Fauske

I love Anchorage. I love what it is, what it's been, and what I dream it will be. I share my adventures with DJ (my husband), my fabulous family and friends, two frenchies named Grover and Teddy, and now, all of you. If you love Anchorage too, get in touch - guest posts are welcome!