Take it easy. Walk slowly. Drift, loiter, meander and dilly-dally while taking a stroll today, World Sauntering Day. W. T. Rabe created this wacky holiday during the 1970s at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan as a campaign against jogging.
According to a recent informal survey, Salt Lake Community College students are not among those who observe World Sauntering Day, which is recognized every year on June 19; yet, students claim to be avid saunterers.
“I don’t plan to saunter; it just happens,” wrote one student in response to the survey.
Students are sauntering at home, at work and at school. They are sauntering alone, with their dogs and with their spouses. They are sauntering in parks, in the mountains and around town.
Although it seems sauntering can take place anywhere anytime, there are a few supposed rules to sauntering.
“You should wear comfortable clothing,” said John Rabe, son of W. T. Rabe, on National Public Radio. “You don’t care where you’re going, how you’re going or when you get there.”
Cam Misrasi, a student at SLCC, said that he saunters in his “pink Jerusalem cruisers, aka flip flops.” He claims that sauntering is a prerequisite for being a hippie.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to saunter is “to walk about in an idle or leisurely manner.” If this sounds pointless to you, then you might be interested to learn about the benefits of sauntering.
Sauntering helps “people with depression or anxiety. Walking literally does increase your mood. Makes you feel better, mentally, physically, emotionally,” said Tatiana Burton, the health promotion program manager for the Health and Wellness Department at SLCC.
If you didn’t make any plans to saunter today, don’t worry. There are plenty of opportunities this month to celebrate World Sauntering Day.
You can saunter in Murray Park during the Murray Arts in the Park on June 20 and then saunter to Library Square to experience the Utah Arts Festival, which is going on from June 20 through June 23.
Every Saturday morning until Oct. 19, you can saunter through Pioneer Park and absorb the Downtown Farmers Market or saunter through Liberty Park and check out the free Chase Home Museum of Folk Arts.
For higher altitudes, you can saunter around the Plaza Deck at Snowbird every Friday night before watching free and family friendly movies.
There are unlimited possibilities this summer. Whether or not you have work or family or both, the only thing holding you back is you. Get out there and “smell the roses,” as Rabe would say, “pay attention to the world around you.”