About me + the Born to Walk project

dan_bestMy name is Dan Rubinstein. I like to walk. And I like to write. So I decided to combine my two passions. The result was my first book, Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act, published in 2015 by ECW Press, and available for purchase at bookstores (bricks-and-mortar and online) throughout Canada, the U.S., the U.K., Australia and New Zealand, with French and Portuguese editions also available. Here’s how the publisher describes it:

“The humble act of putting one foot in front of the other transcends age, geography, culture, and class, and is one of the most economical and environmentally responsible modes of transit. Yet with our modern fixation on speed, this healthy pedestrian activity has been largely left behind. At a personal and professional crossroads, writer, editor, and obsessive walker Dan Rubinstein travelled throughout the U.S., U.K., and Canada to walk with people who saw the act not only as a form of transportation and recreation, but also as a path to a better world. There are no magic-bullet solutions to modern epidemics like obesity, anxiety, alienation, and climate change. But what if there is a simple way to take a step in the right direction? Combining fascinating reportage, eye-opening research, and Rubinstein’s own discoveries, Born to Walk explores how far this ancient habit can take us, how much repair is within range, and guarantees that you’ll never again take walking for granted.”

My articles about walking have appeared in publications such as The WalrusThe Economist, the Globe and Mail, enRoute, SpacingCottage Life, Canadian Business, Ottawa Magazineexplore and Canadian Geographic, where I worked as the managing editor/acting editor. As part of the Born to Walk project, I’m also pursuing collaborations with storytellers who work in other fields, including film, visual art, music, radio and digital design. Because everybody walks … sometimes.

But I don’t have a one-track mind. Over the past couple years, I’ve become increasingly obsessed with standup paddleboarding — which is kind of like walking on water. Paddleboarding, on rivers, lakes and oceans, is a unique way to interact with both natural and human aquatic ecosystems; it can help connect us to this vital natural resource that we often ignore or neglect. Standing upright on the water, moving with or against the flow, you see yourself and your surroundings in a new way. Paddleboarding is taking up a lot of my free time these days, and it has become a focus for my journalistic and literary pursuits, with several magazine stories completed, others under way, and a non-fiction book project in the early stages of development.

I currently work as a writer at Carleton University — my office overlooks a gorgeous set of rapids on Ottawa’s Rideau River — and my past includes stints at the helm of several magazines (unlimitedAlberta Views), rabble-rousing in the alternative press (Vue Weekly, alternet.org), daily newspaper reporting in Atlantic Canada, and about a decade as a wire service sports writer, covering the Toronto Blue Jays and Edmonton Oilers for Associated Press and Canadian Press. Today, my freelance writing and editing takes me throughout North America, Europe and beyond, and when I’m not walking or paddling, I follow my generalist’s curiosity: luxury airplanes, trendy neighbourhoods, media criticism, adventure travel and more.

danrubin at sympatico.ca


For additional rights inquiries about Born to Walk, please contact Martha Magor Webb at Anne McDermid & Associates: martha at mcdermidagency.com.

18 thoughts on “About me + the Born to Walk project

  1. Pingback: Fall issue out now | Mountain Life Magazine | Georgian Bay

  2. Pingback: Audiocast #2: Walking with Dan Rubinstein | slow ottawa

  3. Pingback: Technologies of Experience | Dial M for Musicology

  4. Pingback: EnRoute to a whole wide world of deliciousness! | THE CRAFTSMAN RESTAURANT BLOG

  5. Pingback: Canadian feature writers to pay attention to

  6. Pingback: WINTER 2014 ISSUE: Why Eat Out? « Ottawa Magazine

  7. Pingback: Born To Walk by Dan Rubinstein | 52 books or bust

  8. Dan, I started your book on a flight from Toronto to Vancouver last week and was instantly hooked. Inspired and energized – and fighting jet lag – I set off on a soothing stroll along Vancouver’s sea wall early Tues morning. Just me, the runners, dog walkers and seagulls. Bliss. On a practical level it was the perfect way to prepare for a challenging few days with my aging parents.

    My husband and I are lucky to live in a very walkable ‘hood in Toronto. Your book is reminding me why we can’t take that for granted. In fact that walkability factor will be key to our own health and well being as we transition to our senior years. As Bruce Jenner once said, “feet don’t fail me now.”

  9. Hi Dan, congratulation on “Born to Walk”. I purchased it today and look forward to reading it.
    You ask for favorite walking songs? Here’s my submission.

    25 Miles by Edwin Starr

    C’mon feet, start movin’
    Got to get me there, owww

    Hey hey, uh huh, huh, huh, huh, oh
    Uh huh, huh, huh, huh, huh, yeah, oh

    Twenty-five miles from home, girl
    My feet are hurtin’ mighty bad
    Now I’ve been walkin’ for three days
    And two lonely nights
    You know that I’m mighty mad, huh

    But I got a woman waitin’ for me
    That’s gonna make this trip worthwhile
    You see she’s got the kind
    Of lovin’ and a kissin’
    A make a man go stone wild

    So I got to keep on walkin’, mmm hmm, huh
    I got to walk on, oh ho ho
    I-I-I-I-I’m so tired
    But I just can’t lose my stride

    I got fifteen miles to go now
    And I can hear my baby callin’ my name
    It’s as if as though I’m standin’ at her front door
    I can hear her that doggone plain

    Now I’ll be so glad to see my baby
    And hold her in my arms one more time, huh
    Now when I kiss her lips
    I’ll turn a back over flip
    And I’ll forget about these feet of mine

    I got to keep on walkin’, hey
    I got to walk on, let me tell ya y’all
    I-I-I-I-I’m so tired, huh
    But I just can’t lose my stride


    C’mon feet don’t fail me now
    I got ten more miles to go
    I got nine, eight, seven, six, six, six
    I got five more miles to go now
    Over the hill just around the bend, huh

    Although my feet are tired
    I can’t lose my stride
    I got to get to my baby again
    I got to keep on walkin’, mmm hmm, hey
    I got to walk on

    Wait, let me tell ya y’all

    I-I-I-I-I’m so tired, huh
    But I just can’t lose my stride

    Walkin’ yeah, huh
    I got to walk on
    Let me tell ya y’all
    I see my baby just across the fence…

    Or listen here:

    All the best.


  10. Pingback: Bridges: Heron Road Bridge, Ottawa | Eighteen Bridges

  11. Pingback: Through Thick or Thin(ner): Dedication | The Zombies Ate My Brains

  12. Pingback: Walktober-fest | Talkin' Trash With UHN

  13. Hi Dan, here’s some info from The Canadian Mental Health Association on a program they have launched called “Mood Walks”. I thought you might find this interesting. All the best, John Vernon


  14. Hi Dan, found your book June 2016. Great! My husband and I retired 2013 and moved to Minneapolis (son & family part of the reason; wished to walk our talk on climate change & fossil fuel a main reason), and began walking. We did give up driving, started taking mass transit and walk 98% of our days. We love it!

    Walking daily provides healthy doses of Vit D without taking synthetic supplementals. We’re both much healthier, both lost weight, feel calm and happy. Neither of us take pharmaceuticals. We came from a mostly suburban environment with no transit and no access to natural surroundings. Minneapolis has 5 lakes right in the city!! Plus daily walking allows us to see friends and new acquaintances…impossible to do driving.

    I tell friends that not once since we quit driving have either of us missed driving. Making that change takes imagination, curiosity and courage but it is not at all impossible. We took a year off to settle into our new community then went back to work part time. We take transit and walk.

    Thanks for your wonderful book. It is critical to making a transition to a sustainable future.

  15. Pingback: Peaking in the East: Hiking the Adirondacks - Mountain Life

  16. Hey Dan, thanks for the beautiful pictures of Scotland. And a terrific musical interlude on hump day courtesy the Proclaimers to boot!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s