Here’s an excerpt from The Wander Society by Keri Smith on the philosophy of wandering.
To wander is to enter into a space of existing solely in the present moment.
Your only requirement is to observe and have a direct experience with whatever is in front of you (as opposed to secondary or virtual participation).
To wander is to leave behind the complications of living.
You can forget the person you are supposed to be for a time, and become who you truly are–unhindered by duties, obligations, and nagging thoughts. To wander is to access your true self.
To wander is to wake up as if from a deep sleep.
All of your senses become active and alert again. You breathe deeper. You become curious again. You remember who you were when you were young, before you gave your life to other things (technology, school, money, people).
To wander is to pass through a secret portal to another plane of existence.
Time is altered, your mind opens. You’re presented with a multitude of magical experiences, experiences meant for you. They are often sensory in nature–sounds, visual happenings, smells, etc.–but occasionally they may come in the form of “signs” that have special meaning for only you: objects dancing on the wind, graffiti that shows something from one of your dreams, a found note, a piece of plastic in your favorite color.
To wander is to connect with all the other wanderers who are bringing their important work to the world.
Wanderers are a powerful community. But you may be wondering, what form does a community take that does not meet? Are you not socially isolated by remaining secretive? How can you have a sense of community without meeting?
You connect by partaking in the same activity all over the world, by documenting, by sharing if you choose to. By opening yourself up to unplanned time. By being fully alive yourself.
To wander is to go against the evolution of society.
Society wants to speed up, to produce, to seek material wealth. In a system that requires never-ending growth (at the cost of limited natural resources), to slow down seems anti-progress in nature. Who are you if you are not trying to “get somewhere”? Who are you if you are not actively working toward something? As a wanderer, you’re not subject to the narrative forced on you by society. You do not fall prey to trends that have nothing to do with your talents and desires. You do not strive to conform, but instead follow the life that springs from inside. You walk your own path. In this sense, you’re truly free.
To wander is to save the world.
A world that is dominated by cars, technology, and advertising does not encourage free movement of the body or the soul. It is easy for us to get caught up in this world and its flashiness, but it does not fulfill us on a deep level. Our interest in it is fleeting. Somehow we know this. It is up to wanderers to remake the city into something that ignites the imagination.