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Let’s Get Lost

CC-BY-NC: Bruce Mowson

You are going to be lost with your eyes closed for a long period of time. Gloves are recommended.

A friend, who acts as a safety monitor, takes you to an unknown location. You might travel with your eyes closed, and perhaps they’ll take you there by a somewhat misleading route, so that you arrive quite lost. The general area and starting point can be familiar, or not instantly recognisable. If you quickly recognise and orient yourself, some of the fun of being lost will be lost.

From your mystery starting point, begin exploring.

You can use a blindfold or close your eyes, as is most comfortable. With a blindfold, you won’t be able to use the suns position, perceived through your eyelids, to orient yourself. You’ll use your hands extensively, and this is where the gloves come in – with a bit of protection, you can feel around without fear of abrading your skin. Your safety monitor should try to avoid intervening as much as is practically possible. They should stop you from bumping your head – by placing their hand between head and surface, and they can prevent you walking in front of cars. If possible, try to avoid any talking.

I suggest you set aside three hours for the adventure, and that you continue your sightless walking for as long as possible. Ideally you will lose track of time, and when you decide to finish you can compare the actual duration with your perceived duration. I performed this walk with an objective in mind – finding my way into the city – but I don’t recommend this, as the objective dominated my consciousness, displacing a pure sense of play and exploration.

Before you walk, think a little about the environment you are in. If it is urban, it will have been constructed to standards. The height and width of gutters, paths, walkways, passages, verges and nature strips will follow established norms. The will not be protrusions, holes or trip hazards, and doors generally won’t open into your space. You may be surprised about how familiar your body is with the dimensions of these spaces. On the other hand, take care of your shins and ankles, they are delicate and will appreciate mindful care.

Try to do it for at least a hour, several if possible. Your brain’s auditory functions apparently expand after approximately 45 minutes (Musicolophilia, Sacks, 2007).

Updated: 13/3/14

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