For many students at Miramonte, a five-mile walk home after a long day at school would be torture. But for senior James Nho, the long journey home is one of the highlights of his day.
Since junior year, Nho has taken to the pavement and loved every second of it. “I enjoy the time away from school and home, plus exercise is a wonderful way to get my mind off of things,” Nho said.
Being a senior, Nho no longer takes PE classes and feels that his trek home helps him stay fit. He walks as fast as he can in order to receive the maximum amount of exercise.
Not only does he enjoy the exercise, but Nho also likes the idea of helping the environment; he avidly prefers walking to driving.
“Being in a car has a way of making me feel really restrained by the atmosphere and cut off from embracing the outside world,” Nho said. “I prefer to feel the ground beneath my feet when I walk and the soft texture of the wind blowing against my face. It makes me feel free.”
Rain or shine, Nho can be found walking home everyday after sixth period along Moraga Way. His positivity allows him to embrace any and all weather he encounters.
“Rainy and cold days make me feel cooled and more relaxed than normal days. Hot days make me feel more energized and positive than usual,” Nho said. “There is no weather that I hate to walk in. I think of the weather and environment as a person that I keep in touch with all the time.”
At the beginning of every walk, Nho experiences a burning pain in his feet and legs due to the slanted terrain and weight of his backpack. Luckily, this pain subsides after about 30 minutes.
Throughout these walks, Nho encounters many interesting sights. An average day entails seeing (and often smelling) substantial amounts of roadkill. Every day he finds the streets littered with dead squirrels or skunks on the sides and in the middle of the road.
On average it takes Nho about an hour and a half to make his five and a half mile excursion home, but to him, “it only feels like half an hour.” While many students would find it difficult to pass the time, Nho is very patient and spends his time taking in the atmosphere.
“I just focus on integrating myself with the environment, which for me actually serves as a wonderful way to pass the time,” Nho said.
The only downfall of walking home is the unreasonable amount of traffic on the roads. Crossing streets tend to delay him a lot during his walks. “There are some really impatient and vicious drivers out there,” Nho said. With all the traffic delays, Nho usually arrives home by 3:35 p.m.
While many people would prefer listening to music to pass the time, Nho favors more organic and natural surroundings. “Music has a tendency to make my mind go dizzy and out of place during exercise,” Nho said.
Instead he embraces the environment and feels connected with his surroundings. He is comforted by the continuous presence of cars besides him and feels a connection to the construction workers he passes by everyday.
“For every moment that goes by, I feel like I’m a factor that has played an important role in this environment and it has given me almost everything I need in return,” Nho said. “The environment itself feels like it’s a part of me and by walking on the side of the streets everyday I can indirectly express my gratitude.”
Although dozens of people have offered Nho a ride home, he has refused every time. Preferring the feeling of his feet connected to the ground, Nho loves walking home. He plans on continuing to walk home every day for the rest of the year and hopes to find places to walk in college.