I heard about “burbing” the other day and it got me thinking — I’d already been wondering if I’d explored all my local walking options for lockdown exercise as I was getting a bit bored with my normal routes. I’ve lived here in Hotwells for more than twenty years now, so it’s hardly surprising I’m fairly familiar with the local area.
But how familiar am I, really? Have I already walked everywhere? Or are there unexplored areas right under my nose? What if I were to, say, draw a 1‑mile radius circle around Hotwells on a map — would I have already walked down every street? (Spoiler alret: I drew the circle, and there are definitely plenty of streets on it I’ve never walked down. Miles are big — who’d’ve thought?)
Of course, it’s not a new idea — as soon as I mentioned it to my friend Sarah (who knows a lot more about psychogeography than I do) she mentioned Richard Long, and Rebecca Solnit1 and some other people as a good starting point for learning. Part of this seedling project will involve some background reading (apparently I may have been going on dérives without even knowing it…)
The idea of actually going and walking down every road within a mile has definite appeal, as it might help ease some of the lockdown boredom and get me out for some fresh air and photography. Plus I can do some geeky things, too. I’ve already hacked together a little microsite with my one-mile radius drawn and started uploading my walks so far onto it.
The site so far is just the results of a couple of hours’ hacking with OpenStreetMap and Leaflet, mostly, and at the moment if I want to add tracks to the map I have to upload them manually. But that’s okay for now. I may add things to it as I go along, depending on how much I feel like spare-time geeking over the winter.
So, that’s one little lockdown project I’m doing at the moment. It seems like a good winter project — I can pop out during lunchtimes while I’m working from home and hit a lot of the local area, maybe making some extra trips for the more interesting and farther-flung places at the weekends. And when it’s dark or chucking it down, I can write a bit of code, maybe add some photos to the map, do a bit of playing with postGIS, or what-have-you.
I’m looking forward to a little fits-and-starts project where it doesn’t matter if I don’t do something every day. The last project, my photo-a-day in September, was good for me, but I think I need something where I haven’t failed if don’t manage to put the work in every single day, and this seems to fit the bill.
I’m not sure how much work I’ll be doing, but I’ll try to post any significant progress (with the walking or with the geekery) here.
- whom we were meant to go and see give a talk before the whole lockdown thing [↩]