If you’re on TikTok often, you’ve probably come across a bunch of walking “trends” recently, like soft hiking (hiking, but without the stress), weird walks (walking, but with some weirdness), and hot girl walks (walking, but while feeling hot?).
We’ve got a new one for you: Analog walking. And it’s this summer’s hottest trend.
If you haven’t heard of it, it’s easy. All you have to do is take out your phone, turn it off, and put it on your kitchen counter. Then, you walk away, open your front door, and leave the house. If you pick up that phone and put it back in your pocket, game over—you lose. This trend is all about not putting it on social media.
We’ll level with you here: We completely made this up. Analog walking is just… walking. But instead of walking while looking at a screen in the palm of your hand, you walk while engaging with everything around you. When you analog walk, you put away your headphones and listen to the sounds of birds and dogs and, if you’re truly lucky and you live in the mountains of Alaska or Wyoming, maybe some big game like elk, moose, or bears. If you’re in an urban environment, don’t worry—you can have fun, too. Just eavesdrop on the human-wildlife in your neighborhood and listen for some excellently out-of-context quotes to report back to your friends later.
Here are five easy ways to make analog walking your favorite new summer activity.
1. Poke around Google Maps and print out your route with turn-by-turn directions.
If you always drive everywhere, it’s totally natural that you’ll feel out of your element if you head out on foot instead. So, to minimize the risk of getting lost, you can print out directions and a map ahead of time and make notes of landmarks you recognize. You don’t have to go far—even just walking around the block without your phone, if you’ve never done it before, can be massively freeing. The more you do this, the easier it will get.
2. Bring a film or digital camera instead of your phone.
If you want to take pictures, consider bringing a camera that doesn’t also check your email. Shooting film, if you’ve never done it before, can also have the added bonus of helping you learn how to frame your shots better. When you only have a handful of images to shoot, you have to think about them more carefully, and you start to see the world a little differently. This can have great benefits for your iPhone photography, too. If you don’t have a film camera and you want to give it a try, you can usually find models in a range of budgets at flea markets, antique stores, Etsy, and Ebay.
3. Bring a pair of binoculars.
If you’re lucky enough to live in a place with lots of greenery around you, you might find great opportunities to go birdwatching close to home. If you’re new to birdwatching, treat yourself to a pair of inexpensive starter binoculars so you can get a closer look at any species who fly within sight.
4. Bring a notebook or art supplies and record what you see.
You don’t have to consider yourself to be an artist to be moved by your surroundings. If you find a good spot on your walk to sit and observe the goings-on around you, challenge yourself to sit still for five to 10 minutes and just watch and listen. This can feel incredibly strange and even hard if you’re used to killing time by scrolling on your phone whenever you have a few spare minutes. Lean into that discomfort—this is an exercise worth doing.
5. Level up: Go somewhere new.
Once you feel like you’ve explored your own surroundings adequately, try bringing your analog walking game somewhere completely new. If you live in a city and it’s not easy to get out to the woods, consider taking public transit to a different neighborhood. As before, you can print out a map with directions and pinpoint areas where you can check in for directional advice if needed, such as a visitor’s center, museum, shop, or gas station.
Are you here for this trend? Let us know in the comments below (once you complete your analog walk and get back to your phone, of course).