Drinking and dancing are fine, but it’s the thought of the walk home that really inspires our nights out.
There is something about the walk home from a club that makes it an almost transcendental experience. Whether it’s the alcohol still coursing through our veins, the feeling of tiredness beginning to set in or the fresh memories of the night itself, there are several reasons as to why it’s the best part of a night out.
Like our fathers and forefathers before us, we stock up on provisions to help us through these long journeys. Processed cheese sprinkled lavishly onto kebab shop chips never tastes quite as good as when it’s eaten at 2am, mixing with the lingering taste of vodka mixer still at the back of our throats. Doner kebabs, Subways and Big Macs are guilt-free, it’s common knowledge that post-night out calories don’t count.
Walks home are bonding experiences. Friendships are forged as you huddle together to fend off the cold of a November Bevois Valley Monday night, or dodge traffic on the Avenue as you emerge from Bedford. The walk is a prime opportunity to dissect the events of the night, gossiping about newly formed relationships, arguments between friends and more.
Portswood is strangely beautiful at 3am. The locals have retreated into their homes, the shop fronts are covered. The high street becomes tranquil, a safe haven from the noise and bustle of the club. By the time people walk home, their phones are often dead, meaning we have no choice but to drink in the calm around us, feeling our yin and yang gradually rebalancing.
We are offered rewards for our conquering of the walk home. The promise of a warm bed at the end of it, several glasses of water in an attempt to ease the inevitable hangover, even an after party for those of us with the stamina for it. The sense of anticipation just adds to the overall excitement of the walk, boosting it further.
It is often said that it is not the destination, but the journey which we should value most in life, and that is never more true than when said about the walk home from a night out. It isn’t simply a way of getting from the club to your bed, it’s a voyage of self-discovery. It’s not just a way of saving taxi money, it’s a form of meditation. Sure it can be chilly, slower than a cab and more tiring, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.