23 August 2009

My Need for Outdoor Anchorage

I find it hard to leave my house on my own without any concrete destination or pressing objective. Although I love exploring Toronto aimlessly and I think that everyone should do it more often, for some reason doing so alone is very difficult for me. Somehow when I'm with someone or I have to go do something the idea of going out is perfectly appealing, but otherwise it (irrationally) seems futile, scary, and chaotic. I want to overcome this because it is a psychogeographic impairment.

For instance, if I have to go do groceries one night, I'll go out and do them alone just fine, and I'll really enjoy the walk or bicycle ride to and fro. The grocery trip allows me to comfortably leave the house because it affords me a concrete, pressing reason to get out of the house. The objective of getting groceries makes me feel justified in being outside. However bored or restless I might feel sitting at home doing nothing, I can very seldom muster the energy to leave my apartment alone if I haven't a need to do so. It's weird: Even when I have a huge desire to wander about the city, I usually can't do it by myself.

Accompaniment functions as does having an objective; if I have someone else to join me for a psychogeographic walk, then I am perfectly comfortable doing so. The person accompanying me thus serves as a sort of anchor, keeping me (or giving me an "excuse" to be) out of the house to enjoy their company. I feel like anchorage is a good metaphor for this phenomenon: It's as though I need an anchor to keep me out of the house comfortably, so that it doesn't feel like I'm just meandering parlously like a boat floating in the middle of the ocean.


  1. I understand a bit where you're coming from. However, I take walks almost daily around my area, exploring new places. I make the coffee shop my anchor. Stay on a patio for a bit, or stroll with a coffee. I find dusk to be the best time for this. There's also just a pure physical reaction I get from walking by myself - sometimes its excitment, sometimes it's calmness - but it always puts me in a better mood. Also I find it's a good way to think. Ideas always pop into my head - good to travel with a notepad. I'm going to L'Opera coffee shop today actually to chill and walk from there. Sometimes the only remedy to get out of hesitation is simply to force yourself to do it.

  2. I know exactly how you feel with this, Alexander, I'm the same way. Usually once I leave the house I have an all right time, but actually getting myself to go outside can be a tricky task.