A case for walking where no one walks
It may be a bit of a cliché to call the city a concrete jungle, but there’s more truth in it than you’d think. Of course, you’re unlikely to find any tigers or chimpanzees roaming around, but there is a good chance that there’s a world of largely unexplored territory sitting right on your doorstep.
Your local environment is often littered with off-the-beaten-track places, ones that you probably pass everyday without noticing. Places that exist largely without any human interaction, places that are seen but not directly experienced. As such they remain almost two-dimensional images to look at from afar rather than three-dimensional places to explore: highway medians (when was the last time you took a stroll on one of those urban islands?), industrial zones(vast concrete deserts asking only to be wandered upon), underpasses (like jungle canopies throwing shade, providing a respite from the intensity). Often overlooked, each are like a time capsule that holds its own past and secrets.
Another adventure might take you through abandoned factories and warehouses that have fallen into disrepair, mutated from their original function to another use, only to again be repurposed by time and nature into yet another form. The layers and strata formed by each new use make for a fascinating exploration not unlike an archeological dig.
Walking through these places where no one walks challenges a system of town-planning that not only encourages but virtually insists that we form a routine and stick to it (think of one-way streets, train / bus lines and inter-city highways). And while there’s nothing wrong with having a routine, think what you might be missing by always sticking to it.
Also, while this slightly watered-down anarchy isn’t quite trail-blazing through the Amazon, it could well reawaken the intrepid explorer within you. These weird neglected spaces are usually enriched with intrigue and history, and are often prime imagination fodder.
Taking time out to just walk for walking’s sake is a great way to clear the mind, but to walk where no one walks is a great way to reconnect with your adventurous self and see your surroundings in a different light.
S+ Suggested Reading: Psychogeography by Will Self
W.K. + M.U.
Published: June 4th, 2015