The journey less driven

Have you ever wondered how different our bodies may look in a few centuries time? In particular it is worth speculating on the changes effected by our relationship with technology. Will we have highly developed thumb muscles from all that texting – and longer necks to facilitate all that bending over the little screen? Often, it seems, we are unable or unwilling to make a journey without the aid of technology.

Mark Shepard creator of the serendipitor app, wants to change all that. The app has just been launched as part of his sentient city survival kit. As with any navigational app, you put in your start and end points.However, once that is done, you select a number of waypoints along the way. At each of them an instruction will  be given which will randomize your journey. This might be ‘walk in the shade until there is none left’or ‘follow someone for two minutes’. In this way, Shepard believes, we break the tyranny of all going to the same place by the same route. In an article on Wired, he asks ‘But why aren’t we asking these systems to make our journeys more enjoyable, or more interesting?’ Why indeed – but couldn’t we do that all by ourselves, without the need for an app?

In Jerome K Jerome’ book Three men on the bummel‘, published in 1900, he tries to define this German word:

‘I should describe it as  a journey’ long or short, without an end; the only thing regulating it being the necessity to get back within a given time to the point from which one started. Sometimes it is through busy streets, and sometimes through the fields and lanes; sometimes we can be spared for a few hours, and sometimes for a few days. But long or short, here or there, our thoughts are ever on the running of the sand’

I spent a lot of time earlier this year talking about ways and journeys on the Disciple’s Way. That particular journey is one with a definite destination – but it is immesurably enriched by the unexpected encounters along the way.

Anyone for a bummel?