The Saturday Walk

Plan Your Next #76

  
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👋 Good morning from Los Angeles! I'm Nate Kadlac, and this is #76 of Plan Your Next. A Sunday newsletter that connects design, creativity, and how you prepare for your next thing.


Good morning from Los Angeles!

Every week for almost 7 years, Alie and I have one priority besides arguing over how many snacks I steal from her stash of sweets.

The early morning Saturday walk.

It’s our routine that crosses state boundaries, time zones, pets, and now bebe’s.

Even though we’ve been walking *almost* every weekend, Alie will inevitably ask me every Friday night, “Do you want to walk tomorrow?”

I’ll pretend to give it a thought while I silently catalog Saturday’s to-do list, knowing that the walk revolves around changing dirty diapers and writing this here newsletter. The hesitation in my answer is a bad habit since we both know the answer is, “Yes, of course.” 

The real decision is which route we will decide to take. Are we going to get a solid workout in and walk east on Clayton up and over the closest hill to Hyperion and back? Or are we going to take it easy because we’re slightly hungover from the 3 glasses of wine last night, and head west towards Hollywood. That route would eventually decline 500ft in altitude straight into the Pacific Ocean if we were brave enough to trek 4 hours one way. We aren’t.

It doesn’t matter how tired we are, or how terrible we feel, the Saturday walk is going to happen. 

Moving means walking

Our walks started when we moved to San Francisco 7 years ago. We landed there in the middle of December, leaving the snow-filled trenches of Minnesota in the rear-view mirror of our 7-year-old Subaru. Walking outside in California—in December—felt like we just hacked Mother Nature.

We walked everywhere. We walked to explore a new city, to understand how to navigate the neighborhoods, and to think about where we wanted to settle. The vibes of a neighborhood change so quickly in SF that walking is the only way to not miss the sudden change. 

An elderly couple who lived 2 doors down from us in a house so old it was purchased with gold coins inspired our weekend walks. You might catch them arm-in-arm, inching step-by-step up a hill so steep that would make a snowboarder perk up.

“Maybe weekend walks are the glue to a healthy relationship?” I thought to myself. 

The starting points of our walks changed almost yearly. They first started in the Mission District, then the Casto, then the Upper Haight. When we moved to Los Angeles, we started walking from Silver Lake, then Los Feliz, and Echo Park in a few weeks. We know these neighborhoods incredibly well because of our walks. 

Swapping spots

When we started our Saturday walks, it was a way to take our dog, Lupe, out for a bit of exercise. Our first big walk was to Fort Funston, a large dog park nestled alongside the Pacific Ocean.

Lupe continued to give us a reason to maintain our walking habit, and she got us through periods of frustration by keeping an eye on what was important: Making sure the three of us figured it all out together. 

The hills of SF took years off her life, but they were some of the best years we had together.

By the time we arrived in Los Angeles, Lupe stayed home at times while Alie and I would take our long walks. We always could get a sense of how she felt by our long concrete walks in the sun. 

When she passed, we filled the void by ourselves by walking the steep hills of Silver Lake before welcoming our daughter Rowan into our life. 

Our walks have given us a consistent habit even as life changes around us. In some ways, it makes it easier to deal with the constant change in our lives.

Walking as therapy

If I could design the perfect walk, it would be to get up at 6:30 am, just as the sun is creepin’. We would postpone coffee and breakfast until after the walk, as a reward for getting our asses up early. Unfortunately, Alie is the complete opposite and we tend to briefly argue about this at the start of every walk.

“I just need 10 minutes,” says every 20-minute block of time. 

A half-opened eye argument at 7 am ensues, and Alie always wins. Of course, it’s more enjoyable to take it slow and enjoy some coffee before heading out. But I’ll always want to hit the gas on a day where you can pack in as much as possible. 6 am on a Saturday feels like an opportunity to do whatever you want. 

However, the walk starts out, within 5 minutes the disagreement fades away into either silence or a conversation about where we want to live next. 

By the end of many of our walks, we have agreed on many life decisions, like when should we have kids (we did), where should we live next (we moved), what do we want in life (we still don’t know), and our individual goals.

Today we just walked all over our neighborhood with our bestie, Heather, visiting us from NYC. Next week we’ll take our Saturday walk to Santa Barbara, and then Echo Park after that.

I can’t wait to check out these new neighborhoods and let the walking and the talking to the thinking for us.


⚡️ Two hits for next week

Beautiful branding by One Design Company for Wilder Fields. Also, a well-designed website that uses an eclectic serif typeface against a muted backdrop. I love the ligatures the most.

Street Views of New York City
Between 1939 and 1941, the Works Progress Administration collaborated with the New York City Tax Department to photograph most buildings in the five boroughs of NYC.


👋 See you next Sunday

If you’ve forgotten who I am, here’s a little bit about me. As always, my calendar is open to chat about your next adventure, crazy idea, or if you’re feeling creatively stuck.

Have a great week,

Twitter: @kadlac
Web: kadlac.com
Workshop: approachabledesign.co