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Move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. Walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move. -Anthony Bourdain
A lot of artists and writers have spoken about the joy of wandering, moving as much as you can. I tried it and now it’s a habit, a hunger almost. The best way I know of letting my mind wander is to let my body do it. Walking mindlessly might not seem as important as other daily tasks – taking the garbage out, making the bed, saying thank you, being kind – but when wandering, I feel like you let your subconscious mind do the job of taking you where you need to be. That is probably why this simple act has so many advocates amongst creative people. We have perhaps forgotten the quiet joy of meditating with your feet, being consumed by movement and just being in the moment, without thinking a lot or doing much, but to be creative, those things are important.
I was forced to wander, /having no one,/ forced by my nature to /keep wandering because /wandering was the only /thing that I believed in, /and the only thing that /believed in me. /-Roman Payne
Maybe by getting some money in your pocket for a coffee to go and then trying to get off your usual route does bring a sense of adventure. A quiet walk, even for half an hour, can do you good: you see new things, because now you are watchful; you hear new languages, because your ears are open to the stories around you. By letting yourself get lost, you become a foreigner in your own city which is so unusual that the feeling easily transforms into pure excitement. And having that in your life is, naturally, essential.
How to wander aimlessly
1. Pick a day and time.
2. Pick a bag.
3. Start heading in any direction, act only on instinct.
4. Do the opposite of what you think you should.
5. If you start to think you are wasting your time then you are doing it correctly.
6. Keep going. Pay attention to the details. Lose all sense of time and place.
Have you ever done it? Just letting yourself believe in it, as Payne put it, in walking around the city you know so well (or do you?). I try to understand why so much people are obsessed with it and it is not easy to put my finger on it – is it the excitement of movement or is it the sense of adventure? Or perhaps this is the point, not knowing the science behind the magic trick. Maybe I just need to leave it at that and go out on a walk.