(Bautista, Personal Photograph of Sacré Cœur de Montmartre, Paris France, 2001)
I travelled to Paris, France in 2001 as part of my life goal to see as much of the world as possible.
Life goals – to travel, to study, to read, to be…
With the help of a friend and a city map, I was able to navigate the streets and find my way to some of Paris’ sites.
La Tour Eiffel, Champs-Élysée, L’arc de triomphe, Pere Lachaise, Notre Dame, The Seine, Champs-Elysées – many others – all on foot.
A flâneur, means “stroller” and flânerie is the act of strolling. I’ve learned that it’s not just walking because walking is mechanical, it’s focused, it’s done with the destination in mind. There is little to no appreciation of the atmosphere around. The term flâneur began as something along the lines of passing time but evolved into something more meaningful and artful in 19th century Paris.
While in Paris, I believe I learned or at least attempted to practice this art of mindful walking.
And from then on, I engaged in this processional art form more and more. In every city and place I visited, I continually practiced walking mindfully, taking in the sites, enjoying the steps and I was very unaware of my egoic mind. Meditating.
Even during my time in grad school, I would walk downtown Toronto often. To remember joy and not take academics so seriously.
I need to return to artful walking.
In this crazy thing we call life, I am not sure I belong most of the time but I do know that I belong to the city.