Seattle can be an amazingly quirky place. As the city quickly changes (for the good and bad), there are more interesting things happening every day - but many of us rush by them, unnoticed. Seattle’s best Instagram @seattlewalkreport, however, captures all the wonder of Seattle with hand-drawn accounts of the artist’s encounters on her urban treks (she likes to stay anonymous). Seattle Refined recently reached out to find out why the Seattle Walk Report was born and what drives the two or so “reports” a week.
Why did you start the Seattle Walk Report? What was your inspiration?
I started Seattle Walk Report last year to document my long walks through the city, like a sort of travelogue for the everyday encounters of life. In early 2017 I discovered the joy of walking without a destination and the desire to walk was quickly taking over all my free time, but after a while all of the walks were blending together in my head. On one of my walks I got the idea to take notes about the things and places I was seeing as a way to remember my walking adventures. At the time, I wasn’t thinking that I would share it with anyone else. But after creating the first one, I kept feeling this overwhelming urge to put it out there for other people to find, even if no one ever did. I had never used Instagram before but it seemed like an easy way to toss things out into the universe, so that’s what I did. I’ve been walking, creating and sharing my walks ever since.
What is your favorite part of doing the Seattle Walk Report?
I love to walk and I love to draw, so every part of creating Seattle Walk Report is my favorite part! My absolute favorite thing though is hearing from people that Seattle Walk Report has caused them to start walking or to slow down and have a new appreciation for things that they might have otherwise overlooked. The response has been so incredible.
Why do the Seattle Walk Report? What have you learned from your experiences?
When I got into walking, I felt like I had tapped into this secret side of Seattle even though I had been living in the Seattle area for my entire life. The city just kept revealing itself in new ways that I had never taken the time to appreciate or explore. I would encounter these parks or staircases or unusual things even within a mile of my apartment and think to myself, “How has this been here this whole time? How haven’t I seen this before?” I wanted to share that sense of every day awe and wonder with other people.
It sounds so corny, but through walking and creating Seattle Walk Report, the old trope that it’s about the journey and not the destination has rung so true for me. Walking alone, slowing down, being open to possibility, and stopping to smell the roses – or the waft of Dick’s French fries on Broadway – has changed my life.
How many miles do you walk a day? (Seattle Refined is impressed by all the walking) Have you always walked a lot?
Walking is my main mode of transportation as well as my primary hobby, so there’s the walking I do because I need to go to the grocery store or get to work and then the more leisurely walking that I do for the fun of it. On any given day I walk at least five miles but when I have a day off or more time I usually walk 10-12 miles. I’m in to walking the way some people are in to model trains or making fancy cakes, so I spend my free time on it accordingly.
For much of my life, walking was nothing more than a means to an end and a consequence of not owning a car. I would walk but I wouldn’t get any particular enjoyment out of it. I’m not sure what caused the shift in my attitude and sparked the path I’m currently on, but I’m glad for whatever it was!
What has been the most eye-opening experience of doing the Seattle Walk Report?
I have been amazed by all the beauty and wonderful strangeness that Seattle has to offer right under our noses. I’ve had some of the best adventures and discoveries of my life in the past year and it’s been here in my hometown and cost me nothing but time. People often ask me where the best walks in Seattle are, and the truth is, the best walk is from right outside your front door to anywhere. Take the time to go down the side street you’ve overlooked or the block next to yours that you’ve never thought to explore. Think to yourself, “There’s no way I could get to (some slightly far off place) from here!” and then go and see if you can find your way.
When do you usually walk and where?
I live in the Central District, so many of my walks begin or end there. I walk everywhere and I walk everyday! I’ve walked from Woodinville to the University District, Shoreline to the Seattle Center, Broadview to the Central District, Beacon Hill to West Seattle. If I have the time to walk somewhere, I’ll do it. The “walk report” walks typically take place on my days off, but I’m walking one way or another every single day.
Why stay anonymous? Who is behind the Seattle Walk Report?
I didn’t really plan on being anonymous when I started Seattle Walk Report, but as time has gone on, I’ve realized that keeping some details about myself out of the equation makes it easier and more fun to do what I do and share my observations of Seattle. For now, I’m mostly anonymous, but if you’re a regular reader of Seattle Walk Report you probably know more about me than I’d tell you if we were sharing a table together. Seattle Walk Report is such a genuine reflection of what I love and what’s important to me. To know it is to know me pretty darn well!