A term made popular by the French Poet Beaudelaire has been on my mind for the last month.
Flâneuring is when you take an idle stroll. It’s a practice that that I learned about from reading vagabonding by Rolf Potts. In the world of travel, flâneuring is a way to break out of the tourist traps and find your own adventures. You just wander until you come across something that peeks your interest and let serendipity play a role in determining your experiences.
The act of flâneuring necessarily requires you to abandon the structure and habits you might have – to give up your schedule and open yourself up to things as they happen.
Even when not being a tourist, flâneuring can be a positive and eye opening experience in your own city. A random stroll through unfamiliar streets gives you the chance to discover new restaurants, shops, paths and people. It is all too common to for people to live in a place and never see it. You get stuck in a routine for the regular route to work and the shops you frequent. It seems odd but there are many native New Yorkers that have never been to the Statue of Liberty, but when things are so close it can be easy to take them for granted.
More broadly, the spirit of flâneuring is that of discovery and exploration – something that seems so natural to us as kids. Everything is new when you are young. The older and wiser we get the more we need to go out of the way to encounter new things. New things drive personal growth and make life interesting.