I start every project by getting on a bus. I never check where I’m going. I have no destination in mind. I only get off when gut instinct kicks in. Then I wander. Through the capillaries of the city as it scrambles awake. Through the gutters of street markets as wide boys hawk their wares. Through church yards and city squares, I’ve rambled in pursuit of that moment when mind and feet meet, and ideas bubble.
In the time of the Citymapped journey, where efficiency trumps serendipity, wandering off feels like a radical act. The choice to step away from street maps and instastory check-ins, to check out and veer off-course, is a bit odd. To be deliberately, conspicuously alone in the world feels forbidden. It’s exciting. It’s weird. For my creative process, it’s vital.
Often, when we start creative projects, we don’t know what we’re looking for. We dissect briefs, interrogate clients and scribble thoughts in worn notebooks and on the backs of tea-stained napkins. Somewhere, between the blank stare and the blank page, ideas take shape. Mine froth into being through moving. To write, I need to walk. I need the collision of serendipity and chaos that comes from traipsing the streets of London. I need to be alone, away from the mindless noise of likes, inbox pings and follower notifications.
I need to get lost.
I’ve always found what I needed only when I’ve truly let myself get lost. I’m talking “I should probably leave right now because I might get stabbed” levels of lost. Wandering off, outsides the confines of your comfort zone, is a terrifying and wonderful thing. You learn to be alone with your thoughts. You learn to be listen to the flitting of thought as ideas bubble in fizzy succession. You learn to trust your gut instinct when to get the fuck out and back to the safety of familiar pavements.
Good ideas are not brewed in hipster coffee shops. They froth up on the way there. If you’re in search of new ideas, save yourself a wodge of cash and wander off more instead. And if you really can’t break through, go and get hopelessly, irrevocably lost.
You’ll find just what you’re looking for.