Sunday, July 4

Writing Safari

I am starting this blog with a recent wonder-seeker invention of mine. I hope it will give insight into the purpose of recording and reflecting on my exploration of wonderful. At first I was calling it a Writing Road Trip, which is accurate but I didn't think it was broad enough. The notion of a Safari is going to be the over arching term that I'll break up into specific categories including the Writing Road Trip and others I haven't figured out yet.

Here was how the plan was born: I realized that often times I make this same highway drive at maximum speed (which is, OF COURSE, the posted speed limit... or something like that...) and thereby make the trip at maximum efficiency and perhaps minimum wonder. Recently, I found myself thinking about the concept of 'exploration' (for interesting reasons I will not get into here, but delved into something that began to sound like post-colonial discourse) and how there is no longer "uncharted territory." It seems that if everything is already discovered that there is no longer a sense of wonder to it all. I just couldn't believe it. Even though the ground has all been 'found' there must be someway to pluck out a healthy dose of wonder, through observation and allotment of time, from what is already growing there. Frankly, it was just that: wonder-in-bloom!

In this unexpected adventure I got some really great ideas. The biggest was the possibility of a simple act of opening my mind to this previously-mundane trip being an exploration of wonderful. Opting to take some side roads and make notes about the unique local signs, streets, parks and buildings opened up the potential in everything and it was hard to see anything that was not some how wonderful. I stopped four times as the maps and signs directed me along the secondary highway. In each community I tried to get a feeling for some part of its essence so made sure to pick a one-of-a-kind place that didn't have a corporate headquarters or nation-wide advertising. I let go of expectations and deadlines and all things to do with efficiency and felt a wonderful sense of freedom. Two of my stops were indoors and food related and the other two were outside. For anyone considering recreating this experience I didn't limit my writing to the things at the location but rather from my whole experience in the community. Through walking, eating, watching and talking I managed to write over 10 pages, drive over 140km and open up a whole new world.

The more I thought about this Writing Road Trip the more ideas for Safaris came to me. You wouldn't have drive, write or even leave your neighbourhood. I suppose you could even try it in your house or apartment, but I like the idea of moving around a bit more than that. I think it would also work perfectly well to do this on a bus or train trip inverting the use of road-time and the stop-time. You could write about one thing from location 1 to location 2 and then change to the second project for location 2 to location 3 etc. I am also convinced that you wouldn't even need to write on a Writing Safari. I know, it ruins the name, but it's really the sense of observation and then the capturing of the story of wonder somehow. You could just tell it, photograph it, videotape it, sketch it or invent a melody.

So now in the aftermath of this Writing Road Trip I am finding myself excited to start observing all the other wonders that are close to home. And I am even more excited to tell the next person who asks me "how long does it take to drive from there?" that my two hour drive turned into a seven hour vacation with a journal full of wonder as my prize for being excited instead of efficient.

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