The short and obvious answer is “It depends.” It’s up to you.
But it could go like this:
First, on a peninsula inaccessible by car, you run on a white-sand beach beneath limestone cliffs, one of which looks like it has a titanic, clay-red man either emerging from its side or melting into it (depending on your perspective). Then you head to Bangkok, where you have intense diarrhea for two days (it was probably those unripe mangos in shrimp paste that family wanted you to try near the train station in whatever town that was on the way north). But when you’re better, even though it’s very hot outside, you run past embassies and into Lumpini Park, the King’s park, where six-foot monitor lizards walking along the path stop you in your tracks. You run to a lunchtime street market, where, for sixty baht (two dollars), you get platefuls of rice, pumpkin curry, stir-fried fish, glass noodles with fried eggs, and broccoli, which you eat outside, under a giant tent, sitting on small plastic stools next to young Thai professionals on lunch breaks, while sweat pours off of your face.
In Cambodia you wonder whether you should, but in the end you do run in Phnom Penh’s “Olympic Stadium,” which was never used for Olympics but was used for executions under the Khmer Rouge. Running around the track among dozens of walkers and other runners, you look up to the wide rim of the concrete stadium, where, in several groups, hundreds of aerobic dancers move in unison with their respective leaders, each of whom blasts his or her own music from enormous speakers. You listen to music on your headphones, but you also hear a booming cacophony of competing exercise soundtracks. The sun goes down as you run, and the stadium lights go on.
In Vietnam you run in a small park in the backpacker district, where rule number three in section one of the park regulations tells you not to “participate in fortune-telling and other evils in the park.” When it becomes clear that you shouldn’t run in the midday sun, on sidewalks, breathing in fumes from the ever-flowing river of motorbikes, you pay 15,000 dong (71 cents) to run in the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, beneath enormous trees and past an elephant and rhinoceros who, behind their fences, appear nearly catatonic. People look at you because no one else is running. Locals, you are told, run in the early morning, rather than at midday. But at midday you run.
In Laos you run in loops around a small French colonial town, past robed monks at temples, just in front of a dog that is following you. You run and look down at the Mekong river, where kids play on the bank and boats float along. You smell food cooking on grills and see a storm coming over green mountains and you ponder staying there forever, and you run.
In Burma you never run. You walk along dusty, cracked sidewalks, spattered with fresh or dried betel juice, the red spit of the tooth-stained chewers of the addictive betel quid (a betel leaf wrapped around an areca nut and slaked lime, with or without tobacco). You lie down with intense stomach illness for days, aching from lying down but only wanting to lie down. You bike along dusty roads to temples, and you get off your bike because you see a dog that, perhaps, has just been hit by the van moving slowly away up ahead. You stand and watch the dog drag its crippled hind legs through the dust, and you are tempted to approach it but don’t dare approach because you are afraid of rabies, and you’re relieved that the possibility of rabies and the absence of trustworthy medical care give you an perfect excuse to let it be. After watching a while and waiting for the dog to drag itself slowly out of the road, after choking up, you bike onward. In Burma you bike, you walk, you ride on motorbikes, and you travel in buses and cars that drive on the right side of the road even though their steering wheels are also on the right. But in Burma you never run.
In the French Alps, in the cool early spring, you run along the “cleanest lake in Europe,” gaping at snowcapped peaks, imagining that you’ve died. You run partway up a mountain to a pasture, where you walk past a dog guarding a sheep herd and pass between evergreens to a patch of sunlit grass, where three lambs have escaped their enclosure to feed elsewhere, and across the valley you see the swaths of ice and snow on enormous Mont Blanc. In the Italian Alps, in the summer heat, you run uphill, past Herman Hesse’s home, through a village, through woods, looking down at a lake below and across to jagged mountains. You run and think of the end of the world, which seems to be coming at the end of the summer, when you’ll head west over the ocean.
In New York, you run in Central Park, alongside horse-drawn carriages and bicyclists and so many runners. You run around the park’s vast, tree-lined reservoir, with a blazing sunset across the water to the west and a wall of towers to the south. You run along the Hudson River, past anchored sailboats and enormous cargo ships. You run and think that New York’s old, ornamented buildings and pervasive tone of grey make it the world’s most magnificent cemetery. You run and think of Manhattan—where it seems every square inch has been built—as an enormous space station. You run and think that, if nothing else, you should keep running.