I think I was always looking to live in a place that meant I walked more.

Ever since starting to think about moving out of Jacksonville, over two years ago, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be out in the country or in the city. Maybe I’d live in the mountains and spend more time hiking. Maybe I’d get a place where I could walk out my back door and walk up a hill — a topographical feature sorely missing in the Florida swamp.

As I spent some time in east coast cities to get a feel for them, I realized I wanted the city more — people around me, things going on, the ability to live without a car. Today walking around Brooklyn, where I’ve finally settled, I realized it’s just this: I need to be in a place where I have to move my body to get through the day.

I started tracking my “steps” back in August for the fun of it. What struck me (probably not as much as it should have) is how little I’d walk around on certain days. A month would go by with barely any daily steps until… I walked around a city. Maybe it was visiting a friend in DC on weekend or going to Mexico City for a week. It could even be going out with friends in Jacksonville one night. But I just didn’t spend that much time moving around otherwise.

Back in college, if I was tracking my steps, I would’ve seen plenty every day. I had to go to class, go home, meet friends, go eat, go study. I’d walk basically everywhere, or ride my bike. I was always moving; there wasn’t as much sitting in one place for so long. It became so natural that I’d do it for fun, riding my bike to nowhere in particular or just taking a stroll. It was certainly a compact little town there, but it was also a more distributed life — not everything you need in one big house; activities and people spread out around the area.

It’s funny that I didn’t see this sooner, but I’m glad I’ll have it now. It’s not the mountains, but I get the same effect I was going for: to have to walk.