Think you got your steps in today? You have nothing on Seattleite Peter Aberg. The former ski instructor + Wedgewood resident made headlines earlier this summer for walking every single neighborhood in Seattle. 🤯
The personal endeavor began during lockdown in 2020 as a way to get fresh air + check out houses as inspo for home painting projects. But it gradually expanded into a full-fledged odyssey that spanned 93 Seattle neighborhoods by the time he finished this March.
Peter estimated that, over two years, he trekked about 2,500 miles in the city, canvassing nearly every nook + cranny. Here’s what he told us about the experience.
Q: What was your methodology?
A: I wanted to see every single building in Seattle, so I would walk down a length of a block, look down, and go as far as I could. I took a paper map with me and I would cross out the streets that I did, putting an X by where my car was so that I would know where to go back to [...] I also had a pedometer on my phone and would track my miles.
Q: What were your favorite spots?
A: I was impressed with a lot the city has done to beautify things with public projects, like the park off MLK Way [...] and I loved the Mount Baker neighborhood. But West Seattle ended up being my favorite area overall. I had kind of a mock finish line down there at Alki — my wife and a bunch of friends showed up and we walked the last few miles there.
Also, up on the bluff above the beach that adjoins Lincoln Park there’s this little circle up there called Ledroit Court SW, and I just really love that little area — probably because there are houses I could never afford. But they are just spectacular views and the houses are charming up there as well. That one stands out for sure.
Q: What was the most challenging walk you did?
A: The longest I ever walked was 12 miles. You might remember last winter was not great — a fair amount of rain and snow. I had pretty good equipment and I’ve got Norwegian blood, so I’m pretty good down to about 25 degrees, but [once March 2022 was set as a completion goal], I realized I miscalculated the pace. And when I got into late January, I realized, “Oh, I’m gonna have to ramp this up.” Sometime in late February, I realized I’m gonna have to do more than that — up to 10-12 miles a day.
Q: What motivated you to keep going?
A: I hadn’t really thought through that this was gonna be a project from the get go — and I’m going to be finished at such and such time. But the more I told people about what I was doing, they said, “Well, you ought to just do the entire city.”
Q: What was it like encountering strangers along the way?
A: I get high off of seeing people smile back at me when I’m walking by them — I greet virtually everybody I see. I think I’ve always kind of subscribed to the notion of the Seattle Freeze, but I was pleasantly surprised that most of the people I came across were pretty friendly. Maybe I’m a little different and I get some positive vibes out of it that other people may not. Maybe people who are out walking have a naturally friendly disposition.
Q: Do you think the city is pedestrian-friendly overall?
A: I think Seattle’s an extremely walkable place. Some of the hills will give you a good test because they’re pretty steep. But you’ll end up in good shape if you walk the streets, for sure.
Q: Any advice for those who want to try what you did?
A: A good pair of shoes is very important. And find somebody to walk with so you feel a little safer. Also, don’t walk too close to fenced yards — every once in a while dog would be right up against the fence barking as loud as you can possibly imagine. You have to be prepared for stuff like that.
Q: What might be next for you?
A: I would love to walk other places — a few people have told me about some of the phenomenal walks in England. I believe you start on the east coast and you end up in Land’s End on the west coast [...] A lot of people have egged me on and said, “You gotta write a book.” I have collected a lot of thoughts. I just haven’t organized them yet.