Would You Pay Someone to Take a Walk With You?

Many of us start the day by taking the dog on a walk. After all, caring for Fifi can help us feel 10 years younger—fitter, happier and with lower blood pressure—particularly for those who are over 65. 

But what about those times you don’t have a dog? Maybe you’re walking home alone at night, or don’t even own a dog, or can’t find anyone willing or able to take a stroll with you but you would like companionship.

After all, a lot of folks jam-pack their schedules with work, family and other obligations, which can be very hard to coordinate. And there’s always that friend who cancels at the last minute.

Los Angeles actor Chuck McCarthy has a solution for you: people walking. Turns out, many of the same benefits that come from walking a dog still happen when you’re walking with someone else.

McCarthy originally thought of it as a joke, where he’d start a business where people would pay him to walk with them. Then he thought a little longer. He realized people walking actually made sense.

Charging $7 a mile, he now has regular clients including a child he takes to a bus stop every day and people who just need to talk.

McCarthy’s work strikes a nerve. The internet has exploded with stories about him. He tells the Guardian that he spends much more time listening than talking. Even if the conversations are inane, about the weather maybe, people are getting that human contact most of us crave but don’t get enough of.

After all, our friendships tend to erode as we age. Half of us don’t have close platonic relationships outside of our families, according to the National Science Foundation.

Furthermore, social media is deceptively unsocial. Scrolling through profiles without actually interacting can be draining and leave us more depressed than we started.

It doesn’t help that loneliness is highly stigmatized. We’re taught to blame ourselves for feeling that way (even though it’s actually an evolutionary adaptation).

To be sure, most of us need practice appreciating being alone as well.

The trick is most likely balance, which operations like The People Walker help with. Online groups like Meetup also help you connect with people similarly, but for free.

We need to give ourselves more opportunities to seek companionship without shame. After all, as activists, we need to help ourselves before we help the world.

For more tips on self-care, check out Danielle Corcione’s Care2 piece on how to recharge after a national tragedy or Ann Pietrangelo’s piece on advocating for your health.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

111 comments

Jack Y
Jack Y7 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y7 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J7 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J7 months ago

thanks for sharing

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William C.
William C2 years ago

Thank you.

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Philippa Powers
Philippa P2 years ago

I love walking alone.

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Jillian B.
Jillian B2 years ago

Thank you for sharing

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Marie W.
Marie W2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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LIZZIE T.
Past Member 2 years ago

I would as I have no friends, family or neighbors that bother with me, however 7 bucks a mile is way way out of my price range as I used to walk 10-15 miles every time I went out, I am not a semi recluse, so to have someone drag me out would be great, but not at that price

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Joanne p.
Joanne p2 years ago

ty

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