Frugal Hound on the brick sidewalks of Cambridge
Frugal Hound & the brick sidewalks of Cambridge

The humble walk–is it even worthy of a woot? I believe so. Arguably the best part of my day is the evening stroll I take with Mr. Frugalwoods and Frugal Hound.

On a typical weekday, one of the humans arrives home from work before the other and sweet Frugal Hound works herself into a frenzy of excited greyhound rooing in anticipation of the other human’s arrival. We jump around, hug, kiss (not the dog, don’t worry), and roo as soon as we’re all home together (look, you’ve been forewarned that we’re weirdos). Then, we set off on our family walk.

For us, a walk at the end of each day is much more than a smidgen of physical exercise, it’s an expression of our love of togetherness. It’s a time to clear our minds of the day’s troubles and recalibrate the frantic pace of the workday into the peaceful tone of our evening at home. These walks are only about 30 minutes long, but they’re just the right amount of time to decompress from our days spent apart working at jobs we plan to leave.

Frugal Hound's favorite part of walks: plant sniffin'
Frugal Hound’s favorite part of walks: plant sniffin’

Walks, if I might venture, are an under-appreciated form of relaxation. There’s something quite primal and anciently correct-seeming about walking and stretching oneself out, especially after being unnaturally cooped in an office all day. Humans are meant to walk about and explore their surroundings. There’s nothing about the human body that’s designed to sit in a chair (which is why I have a standing desk at work, but still! I’m stuck in one place!). Something about moving the limbs loosens the brain and relieves tension. Mr. FW and I have productive, easy, stream-of-consciousness conversations while walking.

Hark! A great trash find!
Hark! A great trash find!

Walking is also a hidden perk of frugality. Since we don’t pay for entertainment and we try not to drive too often, we frequently find ourselves walking for entertainment and transportation. Peace of mind + free transportation + free entertainment = pretty ideal in my frugal book (not an actual book, but it could be). Added bonus: walks around the city are an excellent way to scout great trash finds.

While hiking in the woods is certainly my favorite mode of ambulatory entertainment, walks are a decent analogue for our city-confined weekdays. Since we haven’t decamped to our rural homestead just yet, walks facilitate an enjoyment of our urban environment.

In related content, Broke Millennial recently had this delightful post on taking a walk that resonated deeply with me.


This week’s grumble is brought to you by our lack of a summer vacation this year. This is a minor grumble, because I feel extremely fortunate that we’re able to vacation–from both a financial and a health perspective–but, we are a little glum that we don’t have any trips on the horizon. This dearth of travel is due to our work schedules/demands rather than a lack of funds and I’m very grateful that this is the reason.

Still, I’d like a vacation! Aldo at Million Dollar Ninja recently posted 9 Signs You Need A Vacation and I exhibit almost all of the signs! Ahhh, vacation. Maybe next summer I’ll know thee.

Mr. FW and Frugal Hound creating their own obstacle course
Mr. FW and Frugal Hound creating their own obstacle course

Vacations are like extended walks for us. We incorporate walking, hiking, and being outdoors as much as possible. Our vacations are spent exploring, absorbing the beauty of the culture we’re immersed in, and enjoying each other. That being said, the simplest things can bring the greatest joy and Mr. FW and I are low-key, easily entertained people. So we’ve been occupying our summer with home improvement, contentedness about our march towards financial independence, and well, walks!

Have you vacationed anywhere amazing recently? Did you walk or hike? Mr. FW wants to know if there was craft beer. I want to know if there was good coffee. Frugal Hound wants to know if hounds were allowed.

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  1. We go on a lot of walks with the kids. We pull them behind us in a wagon and it serves as our adult “quiet time.” We usually walk to the park, let the kids play, then walk home!

  2. I love going for walks. I live near a few very nice parks, and they’re just great to stroll around in. I wish I had a dog to take for a walk rather than me plunking around by myself. I don’t think the cats would be up for harnesses and walks 🙂

    1. So, get this, we have a friend that does walk their cat! They put it in a harness and it loves walks! The cats we had when I was growing up would NOT abide by the harness, but apparently it’s a thing. You could start a trend.

  3. I agree that walks are very much worth the woot. I wrote a post about walking a while ago as well. It’s one of the best free activities, and walking gives us the same peace and feeling of being connected as it does for you. It’s nice just being able to get away from everything and decompress. Luckily we’re also easily entertained – I don’t even have an entertainment category in our budget.

    1. Yes! Completely agree. I’ll have to check out your walk post! Yeah, we don’t have an entertainment category either–saves tons and forces us to be creative.

  4. I have to admit I don’t walk that much, even though I do get up from my computer and move around quite a lot, mostly so my muscles and neck don’t get tight. I’d love to hike more, but I get lazy about wanting to drive anywhere in LA. lol! I do run on the beach though so there’s my nature, and craft beer is not very far from that. mmmm! Sorry hounds, you are not allowed on the beach, but plenty of people walk your kind on the strand next to the beach. 🙂

    1. Running on the beach sounds very glamorous! I tried it once while we were on vacation a few years ago and I looked like a fool–kept tripping over bits of sand and kelp. It was a very brief run :). So, I’m impressed you do it on a regular basis! Frugal Hound has never been to a beach, or any body of water for that matter. We should really take her at some point and see if she enjoys it.

  5. Having just moved cross-country in this last year, my vacation this summer will be mostly showing my new city (actually, your city–we’re neighbors in Cambridge!) to visiting friends and family. Not quite my idea of a “vacation”, but it will let me see loved ones and we’ll all have a frugal time.

    Walking is great! I gave up my car when I moved here, and now I’m guaranteed a 15-20 minute walk to bookend my T time to and from work. Agree it is a great way to transition out of the work day.

    1. Welcome to Cambridge! We should get together for a walk sometime! So glad you stopped by to say hi 🙂

  6. We love walking with the dogs! It’s cheap, enjoyable, helps us stay in shape, and that in turn helps keep the medical bills down. Can’t beat it for free fun.

    And I think when you’re working towards FI and freedom, vacations are worth their weight in gold… if you don’t spend too much on them!

  7. Love your woot! I can really relate to your appreciation of seeing each other when you come home and then doing the ‘family’ walk together to decompress. We walk but not as often since we lost Fergus. We’ve been trying to bike a bit more, but not as much as I’d like. The last time we biked over to my grandson’s we had a woot and grumble experience. The woot was seeing a brown standard poodle just like Fergus and we stopped to talk to him and the owners and basically told them we would babysit him, even though we never met these people before LOL. The grumble was about 200 metres more down the path my husband got a blowout on his bike tire. LOL x 2.

    1. Oh no, Deb! That’s definitely a Woot & Grumble situation! It’s sweet how dog owners are generally very kind people–we’ve made more friends at the dog park.

  8. We take our walks after dinner and it is by far the best part of my day. Our girl dog isn’t a huge fan and gets carried part of the way, but everyone else enjoys them.

    And we really love vacation walks. It is the best way to see a new place. That’s how you find the awesome coffee shops off the beaten path!

    1. Yes coffee shops! We joke (but it’s kinda true) that our vacations are just us walking around a city from coffee shop to wine/beer shop to coffee shop to cheese shop… 🙂

  9. I’m not a fan of walks, really, but if I had a dog I’m sure I’d enjoy them. If I go on a walk I just think about how it would be more efficient to run/work out instead. I’m weird.

    My last trip was Spring of 2013 when we went on a cruise. Our next trip is Hawaii this winter. We don’t take many trips but when we do we try to go some place great.

  10. African Safari in T-minus 10 days. First away-from-home vacation of 5+ days long in over 5 years. I’m getting pretty excited.

    Oh, and walks? Daily, with none other than our own GreyT girl. They are WONDERFUL!

    1. So jealous of your Safari! Looking forward to seeing the photos and getting the debrief! I’m sure Belle loves walks just as much as Frugal Hound does. We love how her neck bobs side to side when she walks–I think it’s a greyhound thing 🙂

  11. We went to Switzerland most recently and, of course, went hiking in the mountains, but also did tons of walking in the cities. I love city walking, but I’ll take the Alps any day. I had a beer called Schwarzer Kristall which was like a really, really great stout. One of our hotels had a Nescafe machine which made perfect coffee. And yes, hounds are allowed! I saw two greyhounds in Zurich. Not sure how they got there. I think they have greyhound racing in other countries in Europe.

    1. Sounds like our ideal type of vacation: gorgeous foreign locale, hiking in mountains, a city to stroll around, greyhounds, and beer! Switzerland is definitely on our list for some point in the future. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Haha, Frugal Hound has bunny-like ears in the third picture! 🙂

    Walking is fun, I enjoy my walk from the train station after a long day at work. It clears my mind and feels good to stretch my legs after sitting at a desk all day.
    My last real vacation I went backpacking in Wales for ten days about three years ago. Great landscape for long hikes and very friendly people. The never-ending rain was the only downside. And the beer wasn’t too great, except for Guinness.

    My roommate is currently doing a 100km walk… I told him he was crazy (it’s called March of the Dead for a reason!), but he enjoys it tremendously. Maybe you guys should try something like that?
    I hope you get to go on a proper vacation soon!

    Have a great weekend,

    1. Haha–she was actually looking at a bunny when I took that photo! I’ve always wanted to go to Wales. Been to England but not Scotland or Wales–must remedy that. 100km is a long walk! Hope you’re having a good weekend too 🙂

  13. We went Montreal for four days last week. There were a lot of shops having sales and I was tempted to spend. Instead, we hiked up Mont Royal. We almost got to the top! And I was sore for days afterwards, but it was worth it.

    1. Nice job on avoiding the shop temptations! I’ve heard wonderful things about Montreal and we could actually drive there from Boston, so it’s definitely on our list. I like the sound of Mount Royal–thanks for sharing!

    1. You’re right! Frugal Hound is 100% greyhound–she’s a retired racing dog. Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂

  14. My wife and I walk our dog every night. It is a great time to connect and unwind. Like you mentioned hiking is also a great way to clear your mind. I do quite a bit of hiking and foraging. Foraging is a good way to clear your mind. Because all you are focused on is forging for wild edibles. Not to mention the money you save picking free food. I forage for all kinds of berries like blueberries, cranberries and blackberries. In the spring I forage for wild asparagus. Thanks for the great posts!

    1. I’d love to learn more about foraging–it’s not something we’ve done much of, but I think it’s a great idea. It’s certainly a skill I’ll want to develop after we buy our land. Thank you so much for stopping by!

    2. financial forager: Funny about foraging food. I don’t recall which blog I read this one, but one woman stated that her hubby goes for runs while she prepares dinner. Often times when he returns, he’s no longer hungry as he’s foraged tons of food while out running. I thought that was hilarious.

  15. I agree with you regarding walks, and our impish Retriever does, too! There is nothing like a walk to sort out what’s bothering you–it just clears your mind. Have you ever had the chance to do a labyrinth walking meditation? Very centering.

    1. I have not tried labyrinth walking meditation before… I’m intrigued! I’ll have to look into that. Thank you for sharing!

  16. We took a multi-week vacation to Canada (from North Carolina!). It was tiring, so we headed back home a little early (1 reason why road trips rule: you can turn around and go home).

    We love the lazy evening walks. Free entertainment, and we usually bump into a fun friend or neighbor on our strolls through the neighborhood. Or we’ll walk up to the store and grab a much-needed grocery item. I can’t think of a single time I’ve regretted going out for an evening walk.

    1. That is absolutely a plus of road trips! There’s just nothing quite like making your own schedule. We often see friends (or make new doggie friends) on our walks, which is a great way to connect with our community.

  17. There had a dog show earlier in our City Hall and we bring our dog, but we didn’t enter the contest. After that, we went to take a walk with my family, my dog really loved it since it’s very often that we allowed him to take a walk.

  18. I proposed to my (now) fiancee in West Virginia this past May! We’re from Wisconsin so we took a nice 10-hour car ride (split up into two days) along the beautiful Ohio River Scenic byway to get there. Minimal interstate traveling is a must for me on any road trip vacation. I prefer to always take US highways or state highways unless we just want to quickly get through a big metropolis (i.e. Chicago in our case).

    The Frugalwoods family would love West Virginia. It’s called “The Mountain State” for a reason. Beautiful lush green hills and mountains cover the landscape. We hiked to and around their famous “New River Gorge Bridge” (as seen on their state quarter). It offers a great laid back lifestyle. I enjoy my daily urban environs but I also love getting away to the quiet wilderness often. I think West Virginia is an oft-overlooked vacation destination so I felt I needed to pay it its due and create a memory there that my fiancee and I will never forget :). It provides a very laid back, easy going life. I know a lot of folks there are poorer but everyone we spoke to was very friendly, content, and simply happy with who they were and what they had.

    And Mr. Frugalwoods will be happy to know that I ALWAYS research local/regional craft breweries on any trip I go on. West Virginia doesn’t have many micro breweries but they did have two whose beers we both enjoyed. Fayeteville, WV is home to Bridge Brew Works Brewing Company” and Thomas, WV is home to Mountain State Brewing Company. We didn’t get a chance to visit the breweries but their beers are served in places across the state. I’m an IPA guy so my favorite of the two was “Momma Rye IPA” by Bridge Brew Works and Mountain State’s “Seneca Indian Pale Ale.”

    Hiking and exploring is a must on any trip I go on, whether it’s just a routine weekend trip or my engagement!

    Cheers and happy traveling!

    PS: If Mr. Frugalwoods is interested, here are the two breweries I mentioned above:

    1. WoooHooo craft beer! I’ve never had either of those so I’ll keep an eye out. I’m an IPA fiend as well, so your recommendations are very apt!

      WV is quite beautiful. We had the pleasure of doing some hiking there while we lived in DC. A favorite hike of ours is in the Tibbet Knob area, which is right on the WV/VA border. I too feel like WV gets a bum reputation!

      Thanks for the awesome trip report!

      1. You’re quite welcome, Mr. F! I don’t believe those beers can be bought any place outside of WV and maybe neighboring Ohio, Maryland, and Virginia. But definitely worth picking some up if you’re ever through that area again. And yep, my goal when I visit the liquor store, go to a restaurant, or travel to new restaurants is to make sure that when I buy beer, I try one I never had before. I’m a big fan of buying a “build your own” 6 pack of bottles. That way, if you try a beer and don’t like it, you’re only stuck with one bottle, not committed to the entire pack of beer you don’t like.

        And very cool. We didn’t have quite enough time on our trip to go as far east as the VA/WV border. I would love to get back there and explore over that way a bit more and even go further into Virginia to visit Shenandoah National Park.

        Thanks for the reply!

  19. I walk extensively on almost every vacation; I make it a point to try to not take cabs etc to see a city so I can actually enjoy it. I don’t enjoy walks like you do – I get bored – but if I have a destination while travelling then I think they are great.

  20. Sometimes my husband and I push the kids out of the house after dinner and we all walk to the park or the local high school and let them run around the track, climb on the steps and just get their ya-yas out. One of our neighbors saw us leave the house the other day and said, “Wow, you guys are always going for a walk,” like she didn’t get it. We chose our house because of the sidewalks and proximity to everything! When school starts again I’ll be clocking three miles a day just getting the kids to and from school.

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