With some imagination, that daily walk in the park or around the block can become a mood affirming celebration of creativity. Now then, if that doesn’t sound like a bunch of new age you-know-what, then I’ll eat my hat!
But it’s true. It can be a mood affirming celebration of creativity! And here’s how and why.
It’s a matter of becoming a tourist in your own neighbourhood, by looking at the familiar with unfamiliar eyes. It’s taking time to notice the little details and to let your mind wander.
The fact is that exploring our own patch, to use an English colloquial expression, can be hugely inspiring. It’s just a matter of reinterpreting the known as an unknown.
One of the lessons of the pandemic was – when our shops and cafes, restaurants, bars, as well as public attractions like museums and galleries or the zoo or botanical gardens were closed – that it had the potential to make us break with our usual routine(s). As a result, we were forced to discover new places to go: community gardens, offbeat buildings and even public art venues that we’d routinely ignored. Our walks and wandering took on a new look. In a weird way, streetscapes became the attraction and looking at and exploring them with an imaginative and creative eye often helped turn a mundane walk into an interesting experience.
What follows are four suggestions designed to transform your daily neighbourhood plod into a celebration of life.
Take the Long Way
The journey, as all experienced travellers know, is part of the fun. Most people think of travel as transit, a way of getting from A to B. It’s not! Pay attention to the small details – the plants, the flowers, the unattended bench, the water fountain, even the weeds – that punctuate that walk that might, perhaps, accommodate an unfamiliar street or path. Be adventurous.
Select Your Sources
Avoid tourist website suggestions like the plague, especially if you’re visiting an unknown destination or even parts of your own hometown. Instead, seek out specialist books and websites that celebrate and explain unrecognised parts of the city or neighbourhood you live in or are travelling to. You’d be surprised at what you can unearth that’s out of the ordinary – which in itself is part of the adventure!
Celebrate the Architectural
Unless you live in a bland and architecturally nondescript town or housing development, your neighbourhood might very well be a repository of hidden gems. For example, look for heritage sites and learn from them. A great way to expand your horizons and enable you to go further afield is to explore by bike. Got one? Use it!
Discover New Neighbourhoods
Consider downloading a walking map of your city. For instance if you’re living in or visiting Vancouver you could download this map to guide your walk, and use it as the basis for an urban exploration. Or likewise if you’re out and about in, let’s say, Paris, you can download a walking guide to help you discover different neighbourhoods. The same goes for any other city. You’ll find self-guided walking maps online of most large cities throughout the world. You may also find this could be a handy App to download: GPSmycity.
The bottom line is go to a neighbourhood that’s unfamiliar to you and give it the once over. If a neighbourhood that you wish to explore makes you a bit nervous or worries you, go with a friend or two. But go!
Adventures Are Often Just Around the Corner
A sense of adventure is all in the mind. The world, even the world close to home, is full of unique surprises waiting to be discovered and experienced. Taking walks and soaking in the information surrounding you is one way to open that door and expand your horizons and feed your creative juices. The shock of the new is a book about art that celebrates creative innovation. What we should do is celebrate the shock of the familiar. We might learn something surprising.