freewalk, freewalker, freewalking

A path makes decisions for us. Walking off path forces us to us make decisions (strengthening our decision-making powers).

Freewalk: to walk off path, without (feeling anxiety about) getting lost or hurt, or being disrupted.

Freewalkers use whole terrains as paths, creating the path most interesting and delightful, without being destructive (by crushing delicate lives) or getting exhausted.

(Freewalking allows us to experience the earth and our bodies the way our ancestors did, hunting and gathering, roaming in seasonal migrations. It awakens the “animal” senses: acuity in hearing, vision, touch. We walk off path, find the paths of other creatures and learn to read them. We become knowers of many paths and prescient.)

A freewalker tunes to the world as it presents itself. Walks in the present and senses the presence of the bios, the large shared life of the place (that is the subject of ecology). Notes the world as it is re-presented (via signs, stories, roads, trails), and returns focus to walk in, with and as the place. A wonderful Roman concept suggests the ultimate freewalker: genius loci.

We can’t always freewalk. Yet we must.

About the author

Subscribe to Biocitizen Banter

Biocitizen Blogs

RSS Westhampton, MA

  • The River and the Machine: A Biocultural History of Holyoke Dam February 11, 2021
    WHAT IS BIOCITIZEN? The word “biocitizen” is a contraction of “biotic citizen,” a term and idea conceived by Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) who is widely celebrated for conceiving the “land ethic.” A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. A […]
  • Biocitizen MA Welcomes Charlie Schine, FEP teacher! December 31, 2020
    Charlie is a recent graduate from Wesleyan University who is just beginning to get his footing in the big wide world and figure out where he’s going. Although he majored in music, his studies always seemed to circle around environmentalism and the more-than-human world, a cross pollination which began the summer after his freshman year […]

RSS Los Angeles, CA

  • Fear, Growth, and Success! A story of overcoming challenges with Biocitizen LA October 24, 2021
    Lead Teacher Azucena shares her journey reclaiming her narrative through her  field notes recap emails By: Azucena Quinones When I first began working at Biocitizen I was super excited for all of the amazing experiences I would have, from camping, exploring new trails, to working with amazing kids. I knew there would be challenges that […]
  • Mt. Baldy CLAWS – Reflections from our Program Director October 20, 2021
    Mt. Baldy – The Highest Peak in Los Angeles  Day 1 – Friday  Everyone arrived on time with their big packs and smiles to match. We loaded up our gear and said goodbye to our families. After sharing our names, pronouns, one thing we were feeling excited for, and the plan for the day, everyone […]

RSS New York, NY

  • Biocitizen welcomes Yubitza Bermudez, Field Environmental Philosophy Teacher September 25, 2021
    Biocitizen NY is pleased to welcome Yubitza Bermudez as a Field Environmental Philosophy teacher! She’ll be co-leading Free Ranger walks starting mid October! Yubitza enjoys  Chilean and US citizenship and trained in Ecotourism Studies at the Universidad Andres Bello with Vicente Aguirre Diez, the executive director of Biocitizen Chile. We are very excited, because she […]
  • Biocitizen welcomes Tamar Cox Rubien, Field Environmental Philosophy Assistant Teacher !! June 16, 2021
    Biocitizen is so pleased to welcome Tamar Cox Rubien as an assistant Our Place Summerschool teacher! Tamar is a seeker of wisdom, cultural and ecological, and is looking forward to exploring New York City with students with our special focus on how it is placed in the Hudson River estuary biome! Personal Statement My name […]

RSS Concon, Chile

  • Ciudadanos bióticos, coronavirus, Gaia March 30, 2020
    En la sabiduría antigua, tanto en sociedades orientales, occidentales e indígenas, existe como concepción compartida la importancia del vivir el día a día, y de como esta práctica da forma […]