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Flourishing Things: Learning by Walking

The dérive is a psychogeographical concept coined by Guy Debord in 1956 in his work "Theory of the Dérive.” The dérive refers to an unplanned journey through a landscape (often urban) where participants "let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there." This concept was critical in the development of psychogeography which centres around playfulness and the exploration of urban landscapes. Dérive encourages participants to stray off the beaten path (both literally and metaphorically) and let their surroundings guide their movements. This type of movement and exploration facilitates experiential learning.

The best way to learn about a landscape is by immersing yourself in it. Letting yourself wander through an area gives you a tactical and rhythmic experience that cannot be replicated by looking at a map, viewing images, or reading about the area. Physically interacting with a landscape allows you to feel connected to the land and to the people who might have lived there in the past or are currently living there now. 

Take some time out of your day to wander and explore. Without any specific objectives in mind, let yourself be guided by the landscape in order to learn through experiencing your surroundings. To get a sense of the landscape, slow down and take note of what you see, hear, feel, and smell. Try to refrain from talking and rely solely on your senses in order to feel the environment. Whether you are walking through a neighbourhood or exploring a park or natural landscape, you may come across hidden gems like a beautiful mural, quaint café, peaceful resting spot, or walking trail that you otherwise would not have encountered.

You can hear about my experiences of Learning by Walking on the tundra along the shores of Hudson Bay in episode 13 of the Live. Well. Green. podcast titled, “Learning from the Land”.

How to do a Dérive – Dérive Print and Play Cards

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