San Diego's Premier Social Network Afoot

Since its inception in 1977 before the fitness craze erupted, Walkabout International has been in the forefront of promoting good health and fitness by conducting over 25,000 walks covering more than two million people-miles – or the equivalent of walking around the equator over 80 times – for tens of thousands of “soles”!

The rest of this page is dedicated to all our volunteers as we tell a little bit about the Walkabout Story. A 15 minute video interview of Kathy Follis, an early Walkabout Board Member, Publicity Chairperson and an active Early Birds walker, is included as she talks about Walkabout being seven years old and the various aspects of the group. Stan Follis, current Walkabout Board Member and 3rd Vice President of Walkabouts married Kathy in 1980 and so became aware of the group at that time. Enjoy!

Walkabout International is a nonprofit, all-volunteer educational organization that promotes walking in urban, suburban and rural environments throughout the world for like-minded ‘soles’ who enjoy the pleasures of putting one foot in front of the other for fun, fitness, discovery and socializing.  Every year we conduct hundreds of free walks in San Diego neighborhoods as well as day trips in California and extended, behind-the-scenes walking tours in the US and abroad.


Our organization derives its name from an Australian aborigine ritual, called a walkabout, in which members of the community venture out to live off the land and meet their environment on its own terms. That is the spirit of what our walks are all about. We encounter and embrace our urban, suburban and rural environments on their own terms and open ourselves up to uncovering the beauty and essence of a neighborhood while we enjoy healthy exercise and convivial socializing. That’s the “Walkabout” part. The “International” component reflects the opportunity to travel for customized, behind-the-scenes walking tours of countries such as the UK, Switzerland, France, Canada, Mexico and Japan.

Walkabout International began as a result of people, recently moved to San Diego, who wished to discover the tucked-away nooks and crannies as well as the well-known picturesque places in the environs of San Diego; to walk just for the health of it in the evening after work – and to meet others with similar interests afoot who would share their favorite pathways.


Walkabout International has been featured on local radio and television and in articles appearing in virtually every newspaper and magazine published in San Diego County, as well as in The Los Angeles Times and the nationally prominent Prevention Magazine. Even celebrated travel guru, Arthur Frommer, has praised us for the quality of our unique, behind-the-scenes walking tours. Walkabout International has been recognized by the Save Our Heritage Organization (SOHO), the San Diego Historical Association, and the La Jolla Historical Association for our innovative efforts in promoting walking to raise people’s consciousness about local history, architectural preservation, and the rich cultural diversity within our communities. The City of San Diego, with the blessings of many mayors, has honored us by proclaiming Walkabout San Diego Day on March 4th. Why this date? Because it is the only day of the year that is an exhortation to walk – to march forth!


Like the Sierra Club, but with an urban accent, Walkabout’s events offer a rich assortment of flair and flavor. The La Jolla Ice Cream Social Amble, where we stop to sample treats at every ice cream and frozen yogurt parlor. The Scenic Drive Endurance Walk during America’s Finest City Week saw hundreds parade along the 62-mile, signposted route from Sea World through Old Town, Balboa Park, Downtown, the Gaslamp Quarter, Harbor and Shelter Islands, Sunset Cliffs, Pacific Beach, Mount Soledad, UCSD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla Cove, Mission Beach and back to Sea World, typically 17 hours later. Historical walks, like our “Talmadge Tales” in Kensington. Holiday saunters through neighborhoods in Clairemont and Chula Vista known for their exuberant display of lights and decorations. Walkabout International has led multitudes astray in the Gaslamp Quarter, especially through the legendary exploits of revered leader, Downtown Sam.


WALKABOUT INTERNATIONAL volunteers lead hundreds of free walks every year. Walks vary in pace and duration, many ending with an invitation to socialize over coffee, breakfast, lunch or dinner. New walkers are welcome to walk with us before subscribing to our newsletter. Our monthly walk listing is available on the Walks page, and information about trips and other events is available on the Trips page. Past trips have included San Francisco, Washington DC, and New York City as well as Scotland and a west coast cruise. Events include day trips, pot lucks, auctions and an annual picnic.

TO JOIN A WALK begin by looking through our listing for a walk description that matches your needs. Whether you are a beginning walker seeking exercise, a newcomer to San Diego, a hiker looking for an experienced guide, or simply are interested in exploring San Diego with a congenial group, you’ll find something of interest. When you find a convenient date and time, just show up at the meeting place. The walks are free, no reservation is needed and the only cost — if you continue to walk with us — is $20 a year for our monthly newsletter. One free copy of our newsletter (“San Diego Feets”) is available by simply selecting on the “Get your Free Complimentary Issue” Icon on the sidebar of calling the office during our business hours. 


Walkabout International conducts hundreds of walks each year throughout San Diego, California, the US and abroad. What you may not know is how crucially important it is that the operations of our all-volunteer, non-profit organization is fueled in the two ways of any noteworthy enterprise: through time and through money.

Consider the different flavors of time – time that comes from people planning and conducting local walks; time that comes from people helping at the office in Liberty Station; time that comes from people serving on special committees and boards; time that comes from people fostering partnerships with other organizations poised toward walking; time that comes from people conceiving, coordinating and conducting tours and trips beyond San Diego.

The second kind of “fuel” is money. It also comes in different flavors: money that comes from Newsletters subscriptions; money from tax-deductible contributions; money from special events; money from our trips and tours. It is this last source that prompts this message.

What you may not know is that in just the past few years, Walkabout International has conducted the following to celebrate walking as well as to help support the costs of bringing you our 1000-plus walks each year:

Local Events: Our annual meeting and auction, Thanksgiving Day dinner, celebrations for our volunteers, the Chinese New Year banquet, Christmas Day Brunch, Lambs Theater performance

Day Trips: Huntington library and gardens, Balboa Island, Mission Inn Riverside, Nixon Library, Palm Springs Follies, Getty Villa Malibu, Palm Springs Movies Stars homes, Shuttle Endeavour in Los Angeles, Temecula

Extended Travels: Julian, Idyllwild, San Luis Obispo, Monterey Bay, Northern California missions, Northern California Coast, Baltimore, Pennsylvania, Cape Cod, Boise, New Orleans, Savannah, Charleston, Washington DC, New York City, Vermont, Hawaii (cruise), England, France, Switzerland, Austria

What also may be not be widely known is the extraordinary energy, effort and time that Walkabout leaders ceaselessly donate to crafting trips and tours in order to offer outstanding value for those who seek our unique “Walkabout-way” of travel. Keeping costs low and identifying captivating destinations requires immense commitment and creativity from our leaders. As we embark on planning more trips outside of the San Diego environs, we look forward to offering destinations you wish to visit and providing a price that gives outstanding value to what you experience. Comparable “commercial” tours can cost considerably more than Walkabout tours. Some trips, like our Switzerland adventures with 3- and 4-star accommodations, would cost 2 to 3 times as much if taken with a commercial tour company. But, then again, no commercial company offers the company of traveling with your friends and Walkabout family.

We offer a personalized walking component that cannot be found anywhere else — at any price. Our trips offer the essential features you wish to enjoy, not the frills that you don’t care about. Best of all, it’s like traveling with your family because you are — that’s the spirit of Walkabout, San Diego’s premier social network afoot! And this singular spirit permeates every step of our travel experiences.

What can Walkabout supporters do to help Walkabout with its funding challenges? Travel with Walkabout, and travel frequently. Let us know where we can lead you next…