My name is Kaye (as in ‘OK’ Kaye). I have led the life of a nomad since I turned 50 years old and left the corporate world in Wellington to live and work abroad. My aim was to really ‘see’ the cities where people live and love and go about their everyday lives, getting that real sense of place and not the tourist version of rushing to tick off as many ‘sites’ as possible in a short period of time. I strolled the cities of London, Paris, Rome, New York among many, but cities I have lived and worked in include Beijing, Addis Ababa, Manila, and of course the one I know best of all, Wellington New Zealand.
I learnt to go out alone to dine, see movies, wander the streets engaging with locals, always walking. Having that sense of adventure and curiosity about my surroundings helped override any lack of confidence and set me on a path of self-discovery as well. What I have found is that while it is important to me to just get out there and do it, it is better to be able to share experiences with others, to compare notes, to open my mind and get other perspectives. Surely, the best way to do this is with a group of like minded companions, with whom we can feel safe, support each other and have fun along the way. When we get to a certain age we do not have to give up on our sense of adventure. We can continue to have a gentle curiosity about life, where we slow down, absorb and enjoy. What better way to do it than to wander a city like a flâneur.
The flâneur is described as the keen-eyed stroller who chronicles the minutiae of city life by wandering its streets, investigating its dark corners, peering behind facades and generally experiencing for themselves what others do every day. Virginia Woolf described it as a human way of walking the city by focusing on the incidental moments and the beauty of the subtle details we encounter along the way, in her book Street Haunting:A London Adventure
Have you ever walked along a street and imagined the lives of the strangers that you pass? Adventuring together, driven by curiosity, we can observe, reflect, and converse about the things we stumble across and so delve into the ‘soul of the city’.