You’ll never walk alone – trundl review

DALL·E 2

One eyed bloke

I walk, always have. School and back was four miles a day, rain or shine, in clothes made mainly of polyester (oh, the sweaty 70s). Buses were too random, and in any case were full of sharp-elbowed, tough old ladies. So I walked everywhere, and liked it. It was just me and the road and the sky, and we became firm friends.

But I never got into counting steps, I’ve never been tempted to wear a Fitbit and I’m a bit wary of people who do. Hell, I don’t even measure my waistline, except by seeing which pair of jeans fits (the elasticated ones). So, why am I trying out a walking app called trundl?

The short answers are, because trundl is not your typical walking app and my friend Rachel thought I’d like it. And she, I believe, would rather nail jelly to a wall than persuade me into something competitive.

It’s also a sad fact of life in the suburbs – where I and more than half of us live – that, after a few years, our motivation to go out and walk around our all-too-familiar home patch can dwindle, especially if there are no nearby green spaces big enough to get satisfyingly lost in. So, I was kind of in the market for a kick in the backside.

Not that trundl ever kicks; it prefers to nudge. The app sets up a triangular relationship
between charities, businesses (‘brand partners’) and you, the individual trundlr. You pay a
monthly subscription – currently £3.99 – and trundlr commits to giving at least 10 percent of that to the charities. But that’s not the main deal: at the heart of the app are Community
trundls, in which all trundls completed within a period of about a week count towards a
specific distance goal. Reaching the goal triggers extra donations, often given by a business, for a specific charity (they rotate). You don’t have to sign up to a Community trundl; your trundls are automatically counted towards them when one is happening, which is often.

trundl describe their app experience as ‘Go, Give, Get.’ ‘Go’ means recording your walks—trundls—in the app. ‘Give’ means selecting your preferred charities from a list, currently just five. ‘Get’ means getting rewards, which consist of Badges, i.e. markers of your progress, and Offers in the form of discount codes from trundl’s brand partners. There is also News: summaries of past and future Community trundls.

I asked my twentysomething kids if they’d use trundl. They’re digital natives and have a
sharp appreciation of what they see as the true nature of most internet commerce: when
there’s no discernible product or the product is free, you’re the product – or your data is.

So, no surprise when they were sceptical. “What are you getting for your money? You can
count your steps or track your walks for free on any smartphone, and if you want to give
money to a charity, give it direct; they’ll get 100 percent plus Gift Aid instead of just 10
percent. The app is just serving you up on a plate as a niche market to businesses.”

OK, thanks lads. And go easy on the cynicism, it costs, y’know. I don’t doubt the app has a commercial logic behind it. But come on, if the offers work, if they give you discounts on
stuff you actually want, what’s happening is, your subscription is supporting a platform that
promotes a net flow of money through the app from businesses to charities. That’s good,
right? That’s different from direct giving, and maybe better.

I’m a realist, I hope; I know I’m the product and this ideal scenario is likely to be realised for only a fraction of users at any one time, but I’m not just the product; I’m a walker who
believes small acts of kindness help the world to turn – and why let the perfect be the
enemy of the good? Its a great idea to link walking & giving, and I hope trundl succeeds. As the app grows, more users will attract more brand partners and more offers, so the fraction will grow too.

Ideally, I’d like more ways for trundlrs to interact; you can share your trundls on completion
and add a comment, but I feel inclined to share only really big or particularly lovely ones. A
way for Community trundls to connect trundlrs in actual communities would be good.

trundl is aimed at an underserved demographic, one I’m happy to fall slap in the middle of:
those who walk for pleasure as much as health. I believe there’s no niche anyone could cram us all into. We power-walk seldom, amble often; we’re amiable rather than ambitious. And at the end of the day, we want to be tired out by our walking, not our walking app.

Editor’s note: trundl is available from your favourite App Store, check out the app here.

Counting our blessings

DALL·E 2

“Do not dream of possession of what you do not have: rather reflect on the greatest blessings in what you do have, and on their account remind yourself how much they would have been missed if they were not there.

“But at the same time you must be careful not to let your pleasure in them habituate you to dependency, to avoid distress if they are sometimes absent.”

– Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, Book 7, Chapter 27

In this passage, Marcus Aurelius, the renowned Stoic philosopher, Roman emperor, and star of What Would Marcus Do, a much loved segment of Walk the Pod episodes of the past, highlights the importance of acknowledging and appreciating the abundance present in our lives.

It’s all too easy to become fixated on what we lack, and to believe that our happiness and fulfilment depends on obtaining these things. The reality is that once we get to our chosen rainbow uplands, we spot another rainbow upland! Just over the horizon with an extra unicorn!

And immediately, we adjust our happiness downwards to accommodate the JOY we will feel when we reach this new and shiny destination.

But Marcus reminds us that by taking stock of the blessings we already have and cultivating gratitude for them, we can come to appreciate the richness of our lives and find contentment in the present moment.

Perhaps we should scan the horizon only for genuine threat rather than opportunities, and instead pay attention to what’s directly in front of us.

This idea of inner independence is a central tenet in Taoist philosophy, as exemplified in the ancient Chinese text, the I Ching.

I Ching says that true fulfillment comes from within, and encourages detachment from the frustrations of life, alongside the cultivation of inner independence in order to find peace and contentment regardless of external circumstances.

As I explained in today’s episode, I don’t mind if my daily reminders of how to be a happy human in the world are based on a system that taps into the supernatural, IF the advice behind the tarot card, hexagram or tea leaves is sound.

I see these systems, rituals or games more like a trusted friend whose advice I can take or leave. An alternative way of looking at it is as a way to randomise snippets of good advice on subjects that I need reminding of regularly. Such as, for example, not to try to get too much out of a situation, to detach and remember not to strive too much for success.

Simply choose a sound direction, then keep turning up, doing the good work, fighting the good fight and be prepared to seize the moment when those fleeting opportunities come along. And crucially, be prepared to change course when needed, no matter the upheaval required to do so.

Both Stoicism and Taoism advocate for embracing abundance as a means of cultivating inner independence. This is not to say that we should ignore or downplay our struggles, but rather that we should recognise and be grateful for the myriad blessings in our lives, rather than fixating on what we lack.

By following this approach, we can learn to find fulfillment and contentment in the present moment, regardless of external circumstances.

So, how do we go about counting our blessings and cultivating gratitude? Here are a few ideas:

– Take part in GratiTuesday: Take some time once a week to write down a few things you’re grateful for, or voicenote a friend with your GratiTuesday thoughts. These can be as simple as noticing a beautiful sunset, a warm meal, or a good, tipsy laugh with a friend at the end of a long week. Reflecting on these things can help shift the focus to everything that’s provided a little light.

“No matter how vast the darkness, we must supply our own light.”

– Stanley Kubrick

– Practice mindfulness: Pay attention to the present moment and all the good things that are happening. Take a few minutes each day to simply be present and notice the beauty and blessings in your life. Ignore, just for a moment, the cereal strewn around the place or the clothes that have been piling up all week. When the news is bad, look for the helpers, and try to help them.

– Show gratitude: Expressing gratitude to others can not only make them feel good, but it can also help us appreciate the good things in life. Take the time to write a thank-you note, say thank you in person or rugby tackle them to the ground to cover their upturned face with a thousand kisses, if you have consent to do that kind of thing.

– Give back: Helping others can also help us appreciate what we have. Consider volunteering or donating to charity. This series, I’m encouraging everyone to download trundl, the walking app that converts your kms into donations for charities including Dogs for Autism and the Trussell Trust. We hope it will be available outside of the UK before too long.

We have one week to go until the end of Series 33, dear Poddies, and I look forward to completing our topic of abundance.

Of course, I will need regular reminders to flip myself out of scarcity mode, so I dare say we’ll come back to this regularly.

You are warmly invited to join me next Friday evening at 6pm for our end of series wrap party, from 6-7 GMT. Find me in the Discord voice channel, for which you’ll need to join the Walk the Pod lunch time walk club, via patreon.com/rachelwheeley

References

Aurelius, M. (180 AD) Meditations. (Gregory Hays, Trans.) Penguin Classics. (2006)

Phillips, G. D. (2007). Stanley Kubrick: Interviews. University Press of Mississippi.

The illusion of change: how to embrace abundance in the present moment

Hello Poddies,

As I continue to ponder the concept of abundance, something intriguing has come to my attention. And that is, nothing truly changes. We may think that in the future, things will be more manageable, that we’ll have a better grip on our to-do list, or that we’ll no longer be constantly rushing from one thing to the next.

But the reality is, if we’re the type of person who takes on more than is reasonable (guilty as charged), we’ll always find something to fill the void when we don’t feel we have enough to keep us busy.

I’ve certainly experienced this in my own life. I keep thinking that life will eventually slow down, but it never does because I take on more until I reach my limit.

Busyness is similar to the price differentiation marketing strategy of luxury coffee companies?!

They offer the same product at multiple price points to cater to different budgets. So, even if you’re perfectly content with a cheaper option, if you think you can afford the luxury, you’ll end up spending more.

Just like a cheap coffee vs an expensive flat white, there is a level of busyness that suits every person. We may think that having more will lead to greater satisfaction, but it’s important to recognise that it may not be the case. We might do better to appreciate the abundance manifest in what we have instead.

If abundance is the aura that we send out to the universe to say, I’m ready to receive more, then we should be careful what we wish for.

I’m off to have another bath.

Failure is not the opposite of success, just a regular ditch along the path

This weekend, I’ve come to a realisation that has made me see things in a different light.

Recently, I’ve been feeling like I’ve been failing a lot, and as I was reflecting on these failures, I realised that perhaps I shouldn’t feel bad about this. The fact that I’ve been failing a lot is probably because I’m doing new things, pushing myself into areas I haven’t explored before, and trying new creative projects.

It made me think about the concept of flow, which was first introduced by psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. According to Csikszentmihalyi, flow is the state in which a person is fully engaged and absorbed in an activity—when our skills are fully matched to the challenge at hand. When we’re in flow, we’re in the right place, and it’s here where we can experience optimal experience, joy and satisfaction.

It’s important to note that flow is not a destination, it’s a journey and it’s not always easy. Being in the flow often means pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and taking risks. It’s a zone where you will experience occasional anxiety and boredom and the zone where you’ll feel like you’re failing a lot. However the main feeling of flow is of being able to reach our goals, and of learning and growth.

So it’s important to remember that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s a natural and necessary step on the path towards it.

Instead of seeing failure as a negative thing, let’s reframe it as an opportunity to grow and learn. When we’re feeling like we’re failing a lot, it’s a sign that we’re pushing ourselves to the upper limit of the flow zone. It’s a sign that we’re on the right track and that we’re making progress. We should not hurriedly swipe our failure away, but look at it carefully. What happened here? What went wrong? What can we do to ensure the same thing doesn’t bite us in the bum next time?

One of the keys to thriving in the flow zone is to be prepared for failure. Expect it to happen and expect to learn from it.

When we’re prepared for failure, it doesn’t feel so overwhelming when it happens. We can take it in our stride and use it as an opportunity to grow and improve.

Expect others to see our flow path with all its uncertainty, vulnerability and failure, as a demonstration of our inability. Remember that people use this same judgement on themselves to keep themselves safe.

We may safely carry on, knowing that we’re learning, and that whilst we’ll keep failing regularly, we’ll be failing at new and interesting things, while the naysayers perform perfection slap bang in the middle of their comfort zones.

This carrying on, despite all the odds, is called grit or resilience. Resilience means being able to bounce back from failure and keep moving forward. It means being able to pick yourself up and try again, even when things feel tough. A key to resilience is to reconnect often with things which are not the project we’re working on at the moment. Take a step away to regain some perspective. Oh look, I’m failing regularly but the world is still turning, and nobody much seems to care that my latest project fell flat on its face. That’s alright then.

Resilience is an important quality to cultivate when we’re working in the flow zone because we will inevitably face challenges and obstacles.

In conclusion, flow can feel like an obstacle course. It can be challenging and a vulnerable place to be, but it’s also where we experience growth and progress.

So, next time you’re feeling like you’re failing a lot, remember that you’re probably in the flow zone, and practice gratitude for that.

Embrace failure, learn from it, and use it as a stepping stone to success. Above all, remember that you’re the only one who knows what the original plan was.

Introducing trundl, the UK’s leading non-competitive walking community

Walking is a simple and effective way to improve your physical and mental well-being, and podcasts are a great way to entertain and educate yourself while you walk. That’s why at Walk the Pod I’m thrilled to announce my partnership with trundl, the UK’s leading non-competitive walking community.

For anyone not familiar with trundl, it’s an app that connects walkers with like-minded people, so they can enjoy walking together. Unlike other walking apps, trundl is not focused on competition or ‘first over the line’, it’s all about building a supportive community of people who love to walk.

I first met the trundl team, Hil and Tess, in December and it was clear from the start that we shared a vision for creating a more walkable world. We believe that by working together, we can inspire more people to walk more often, and make walking a more social and enjoyable experience.

Through partnership with trundl, I’ll be building the walking ecosystem, introducing people who share a passion for walking to one another, and helping to build the non-competitive walking community.

I’m so excited to be working with trundl this series. Whether you’re walking in the city or out in the countryside, our episodes will provide you with information and inspiration to help you explore the world on foot.

This partnership with trundl is a great way to make walking even more fun and accessible. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to download the trundl app today and start connecting with other walkers in your area. Happy walking!

Series 33 of Walk the Pod is on the way – on abundance!

Photo by Vladimir Tomić on Unsplash

Are you ready to experience abundance on your daily walks? Join me on Walk the Pod as we embark on a new series all about abundance, and how to recognise and find abundance in our daily lives.

Starting on Monday, January 9th, I’ll be taking a daily stroll through nature and exploring the many facets of abundance – from gratitude and generosity to mindfulness and simplicity.

On each episode, we’ll explore practical tips and insights on how to cultivate more abundance in your life. Whether you’re looking to manifest more financial abundance, or simply want to feel more fulfilled and content in your everyday life, Series 33 has something for you.

I’ll be inviting listeners to send me their voicenotes about what abundance means to you. You can send me a message now, before the series even begins, so that I can share your thoughts from episode 1.

So grab your walking shoes, start your Trundl app and join us on the path to abundance. See you on Monday!

Two powerful principles to get you walking in 2023!

Photo by Sincerely Media on Unsplash

It’s accepted that walking is good for you, and unlike other sports, it needs very little by way of equipment. Just some trainers or boots, depending on the weather, perhaps some rainproof equipment and an umbrella. Although I have been amazed since I started recording a daily walking podcast to find that 95% of the time, I’m recording on the most beautiful day in the world, or an overcast day, but not in torrential rain. I can remember the number of rainy days on the fingers of two hands.

So when I recommend tools and tricks for walking more this year, it won’t involve a shopping trip. The greatest challenge is finding the time and embedding the habit. And it’s this principle on which I offer you the following walking principles:

No comparison

Social media is bad for the mental health because it gives us a raft of people to compare ourselves with, flipping ourselves into a scarcity mindset and making us crazy. OK, that might be me more than other people. But what I’ve found with everything, including walking, is that the more I am exposed to other people doing faster walking than me, the more demotivated I get. I do not enjoy logging onto an app to log my walk when the first thing it tells me is that my ex-girlfriend just won a medal for a 10K PB, when I like to travel at under 4 miles per hour.

Enter, Trundl. Trundle is a fantastic little app on which everyone is travelling slowly, and collaborating together to walk kms for charity and raise money for good causes. Trundl helps you give consistently to remarkable causes as well as access a platform for tracking your non-competitive steps. The non-competitive nature of Trundl is what makes it appeal to me. I’d highly recommend you download the app and give it a try. Plus, like other more competitive apps, it lets you record the pattern of your walk, so you can trace the shape of a kitten as you walk, should you be so inclined.

Don’t get bored

Walking can be boring and if there’s no awe-inspiring nature on your doorstep it’s hard to stay motivated, especially on gray and mis days. So my second principle is, don’t get bored. I would highly recommend making calls on your walks, or subscribing to book tape apps like audible, or podcasts, so that you have something stimulating to listen to while you walk. A Spotify playlist can also be a treat to listen to on a walk. If you’re really trying to pull some movement jujitsu on your brain, you could even make a rule that you’re only allowed to listen to your favourite podcast or playlist while you’re walking.

If one just keeps on walking, everything will be alright

Søren Kierkegaard

I can highly recommend the audiobook of Mort by Terry Pratchett, narrated by BAFTA award-winning actor Sian Clifford (FleabagVanity FairQuiz). BAFTA and Golden Globe award-winning actor Bill Nighy (Love ActuallyPirates of the CaribbeanHarry Potter and the Deathly Hallows) reads the footnotes, and Peter Serafinowicz (Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom MenaceShaun of the Dead) stars as the voice of Death. It’s truly excellent.

Very best of luck with your walking in 2023, and do share your own tips and principles in the comments.

The importance of balancing work and rest: why taking time off is essential for creative success

Balancing work and rest is essential for both productivity and creativity. First of all, it’s essential to put in the time and effort to do the work and pursue our creative projects.

Pablo Picasso said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” But then, on the other hand, it’s also important to take breaks and give ourselves time to relax and recharge. As Seneca wrote, “Consult with wisdom, it will advise you not to sit forever at your desk.” Does anyone remember Celebrity Death Match? I’d like to see a contest between Pablo Picasso and Seneca on the subject:

Seneca enters, with a sling, “Do not sit forever at your desk!” he yells, unleashing hell in the form of a few boulders at Picasso. Picasso shields himself with an easel, and in response chucks a volley of cubes at Seneca (I may be missing the point of cubism here). Seneca skids hopelessly on a thousand tiny dice, falls down and breaks his coccyx.

This idea of balance is particularly relevant when it comes to creativity. In a TED talk (thank you Helen, Maker of Things for recommending this to me), Elizabeth Gilbert discusses the idea of “genius” and how it has changed over time*.

In ancient Greece and Rome, citizens believed that genius would visit them rather than being something that they possessed themselves. Gilbert argues that this perspective can be helpful in reducing the pressure we put on ourselves to be “brilliant” or “genius.” By thinking of genius as something that visits us rather than something that we are, we can have a more realistic and healthy relationship with our own creativity.

Ultimately, it’s important to find a balance between putting in the work and taking breaks. If we work too hard and never take a break, we risk burnout and decreased productivity. On the other hand, if we take too many breaks and don’t put in the work, we won’t be able to take advantage of the opportunities for inspiration and creativity that come our way. By finding a balance between work and rest, we can produce our best work and maintain an ability to exist with contentment in the world.

What’s worked for you in terms of a balance between work and rest? Let me know in the comments. Thank you for reading.

*In the early 2000’s, I was lucky enough to appear on an episode of Dave Gorman’s Genius, a Radio 4 show in which Dave Gorman assessed various ideas to see whether they were “genius” or not. Stewart Lee was the guest judge on the programme, and decided that my idea (which wasn’t even mine, it was my then boyfriend’s, who didn’t want to speak on the radio) was not genius at all. The idea was, what if you invented a telephone that allowed you to hear what the person on the other end of the line said just after they hung up the phone. “Genius” it seems, is in any case, highly subjective.

Abundance

Series 33 of Walk the Pod will explore the topic of abundance.

An abundance mentality is the belief that there is enough for everyone and that there are unlimited resources and opportunities available. It is the opposite of a scarcity mentality, which is the belief that resources and opportunities are limited and must be fiercely guarded or competed for.

The ancient Greek philosopher, Zeno of Citium, who founded the school of philosophy known as Stoicism, believed that true abundance and prosperity come from within and cannot be gained through external means. He believed that living a simple, uncluttered life and focusing on one’s own personal development and virtue was the key to true happiness and contentment.

I my own life, I often fall into a scarcity mindset. I do not have enough money, time, biscuits… I have to flip myself into abundance. It needs doing repeatedly, and is difficult to achieve. I thought I’d kick off my thinking for the new series with a few ways to access abundance.

“Contentment is natural wealth, luxury is artificial poverty”

Socrates

Practice gratitude

Take time each day to reflect on the things you are grateful for. This can help shift your focus from what you lack to what you have. Share with friends or family on #Gratituesday.

I practiced this Gratituesday practice during lockdown with my sisters, and it helped. When you know you will be listing things you are grateful for every Tuesday, it does help you to notice them every day!

Focus on abundance, not scarcity

Pay attention to your thoughts and try to catch yourself when you start thinking in terms of scarcity. Instead, try to reframe your thoughts in terms of abundance.

Notice things which make you feel a sense of abundance in day to day life. A computer game with a vast array of quests to complete, a perfectly written first page to a thick book, a full fridge, a big ball of wool (!) all of these things can contribute to a sense of abundance.

Surround yourself with abundance-minded people

The people you spend time with can have a big influence on your mindset. Surround yourself with people who have an abundance mentality and who encourage and support your goals and dreams.

Practice generosity

Helping others and being generous with your time, resources, and support can help me to feel abundant. If I have enough to give something away, then I must have a great deal.

Wealth consists not in having great possessions, but in having few wants.

Epictetus

What does abundance mean to you? I’d love to kick off the new topic in the comments with you, so do add your thoughts to this post.

I look forward to starting the new series next Monday 9 January. And if you haven’t listened to Walk the Pod before, do give it a listen.

What is stress?

A brand new series of Walk the Pod starts today and we’re going to be talking about stress and pressure.

Walking is a daily practice that can relieve stress and give us a chance to think about the challenges we’re up against — let’s take a long hard stare at stress and see if we can’t find out a bit more about it.

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What is stress?

Stress occurs when environmental demands exceed the adaptive capabilities of the individual resulting in physiological or psychological changes – McCoy and Evans, 2005

Leaving aside the textbook definitions, let’s talk about what stress is when you’re a 41-year-old Mum of three with a full time job and a podcast.

Stress is caused by my world becoming too much for me. What I want, vs what I can do.

I want to earn enough to pay the bills, look after my children, keep the flat tidy enough to focus, put food on the table and maybe, occasionally, spend time with friends and family.

When I feel like I can’t do one or more of these tasks to the level I want to, I feel stressed. 

Sometimes the job becomes all consuming, and I neglect the flat. When I’m focusing on the housework, the kids complain that I’m not spending enough quality time with them.

Sometimes I need to dash to the shops because we’re out of milk. In these moments, I have allowed my environment to temporarily outpace my ability to adapt.

As humans, we’re good at adapting. Our ability to navigate the demands of the world is vast. We get good at working out what needs to be done for survival — not necessarily life or death survival, but survival in terms of meeting our obligations.

When the environment makes it impossible for me to adapt to survive, then I feel stressed. Yes, it’s only grabbing a couple of pints of milk, but it contributes to a feeling of being in over my head.

And what can be done about it? Besides not signing up for more than one person can reasonably fit into the day? That’s what I’m hoping to find out.

What does stress mean to you? I look forward to exploring the topic with you in more detail during this new series. If you haven’t listened regularly before, join me as we start exploring stress and pressure together.

Listen to Walk the Pod

Step Up September for the Trussell Trust

This September, I’m walking for 30 minutes a day for the Trussell Trust, who are working to make sure that nobody in the UK needs to use a food bank. If you could sponsor me, I’d appreciate it. 

Thank you

Sponsor me

Some things I’ve been watching and reading

Everything, Everywhere, All at Once

A brilliant film starring Michelle Yeah, written and directed by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert. If you enjoyed The Matrix and have an interest in multi-verse sci-fi dropped into a bucket of multi-coloured Dulux, see this immediately.

Galaxy Quest

A film that starts off gently mocking Sci-fi conventions and Star Trek, but then defies all expectations, becoming a brilliant and gripping film in its own right. Starring Alan Rickman

Four Thousand Weeks

Oliver Burkeman was a productivity guru for The Guardian for many years, then realised that productivity is a trap, and started writing a book about time management for mortals instead. Absolutely superb, may change your life.