Honestly, one of the coolest things about training parkour is that your entire perception of the world changes. Handrails, benches, jersey barriers, walls, lines on the sidewalk… they all become opportunities. Every morning when I walk to the metro, I balance on the curb and make the jump when there’s an opening for a walkway. Yes, I do this wearing sneakers, boots, Sperry’s or whatever I happen to be wearing that day and with my backpack full of books, etc.
When I’m on the metro wondering why everyone looks so miserable all the time, I think about how much fun it would be to swing around on those bars. If there’s not a lot of people on the train, then I’ll hang on the bar above my head in between stops—the goal is to hang on as long as possible. This gets really exciting when you have a crazy train driver and your body starts swinging around. Best not to do this during rush hour. I also like to “metro surf” (balancing in the middle without holding onto anything). People give me strange looks but it keeps me entertained while I commute.
In the summer I like to walk to the gym instead of metro-ing which means even more opportunities. It’s great because I’m already in gym clothes and I only have a small backpack on so it’s easier to jump around.
On my way to class the other day, I saw a handrail coming up on my right that looked perfect for a safety vault. I swerved my path a little to the right, vaulted the first rail, then the next one then casually started walking along the sidewalk again. I kept going, balancing on the curb and jumping around on the lines of the sidewalk. Next up, two jersey barriers going right where I needed to cross the street. How convenient. I ran up to them and jumped up on one foot, ran/balanced my way across them, then kept going.
I’ve also started training during my breaks in class this summer. I’m taking statistics which basically sucks all of the life out of me so when we get a 10-minute break (class is 2.5 hours), I run outside and start jumping around. My classmates think I’m on crack, especially when I come back to class sweating and covered in dirt or blood (this only happened once, I swear) but it keeps me awake for the second half of class.
Am I conscious of the looks people give me? Of course. But I’m having more fun than they are. Life is better through parkour goggles. It doesn’t matter what is around you, what you’re wearing or how much time you have. It’s just movement. Precision jumps on a curb. Balance on a rail. Cartwheels and handstands in the grass. I promise you no matter where you are, there is something you can do to move.
This post originally appeared on Adrienne Toumayan’s blog. Check it out here!