take a flanerie

Posted on December 19th, 2012

This is a wonderful French word. And it’s very Parisienne in nature. Flanerie: to take a wander around a city just to look and smell and absorb.

Photo via Vogue Japan

I’ve JUST today settled on my first apartment. The keys are sitting here on my table. It’s big. For me. The purchase is part of my latest experiment: getting anchored…so that I have a sturdier base from which to flit and fly. Which is what I like doing best.

You might find this odd. My apartment – in stark contrast to where I’ve been the past two years – is in the middle of the most densely populated suburb in Sydney (and, for that matter, Australia). It ain’t no tin shed in the forest!

I’m nervous about being around so much humanity and humming and freneticness and smell. But I feel it’s time for me to get cool with humanity and to be truly in and amongst it. Can’t go over it, can’t go around it, must go through it.

Which brings me to the beauty of flanerie. The French do this on a Saturday afternoon in Paris. They don’t wander around shops and buy shit they don’t need. The French have simple tastes. Excess is deemed vulgar. Instead, they wander the streets, dropping in for a coffee or an aperitif at cafes. Cafes, where the chairs face outwards to the world so as to allow everyone to flanerise more! They visit gardens and poke their heads into avenues and parks and galleries. Just to absorb and look. Just to get in and amongst it. It’s a big part of the French psyche: this simple, still observation of humanity. When I was in Paris I loved the spirit of it…sitting facing out to humanity. Then wandering amongst it. Then sitting back again.

Nowhere to go. Nothing to do.

In Paris, as I flanerised, I felt part of something. I belonged, even though I was alone. Paris is a great city for being alone.

A key aspect of the flanerie is walking. Walking allows you to be in real time with a city.

Another aspect: keeping close and local and small. Not big excursions, but whimsical explorations of what’s near. It’s about not trying too hard, which really is a mantra of mine. Perhaps I’ll make it my 2013 motto.

I very much like this: finding interest in the close, the small, the grottiness. Keeping expectations low. Finding the beauty in the everyday. Trying less.

For, the less you’re reaching outwards, the more you can expand from your core.

All this, it anchors me and gives me a sturdier base. I can tend to get Weekend Panic. I think I should be doing bigger things, farther out of town that folk in Country Road catalogues do (in crisp linen). But I can find the centred calm I seek in life far better from just doing a gentle flanerie.

A wander through a bookshop down the road: I chat to the owner and she offers to host my book launch in January.

A non-committal tea at a local cafe, content to just sit: I learn the owners have bee hives on their roof and support sustainable produce. And that they do Saturday afternoon pork roasts.

People in my new ‘hood sit in tiny, almost-daggy cafes where they know the owner’s family and foibles. Here they do their tax, write their Christmas cards, sitting in chairs facing out to life. In and amongst it. I like it.

Libraries, benches in less-than-perfect-but-still-quite-lovely spots, simple picnics of takeaway roast chook in small parks or verges you’d normally overlook….just looking and keeping it close and small and everyday. It’s the future, I tell you.

What do you do when you take a flanerie in your ‘hood? I’ll need ideas if I’m to make this latest experiment of mine work!

 

 

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  • http://www.yummyinspirations.net Jolene @ Yummy Inspirations

    I take my kids for walks and they MAKE me stop and take notice of things I wouldn’t give a second glance to… like the colours of the trees (my 2 year old is obsessed with all the purple trees at the moment and we stop and look and oohhh and ahhh at every one!). Also the other day we were in a market and I was busily doing my shopping and my 4 year old looked up and saw Xmas decorations and was looking in wonder and joy at the different colours and shapes. It forced me to stop and look at the “beauty” – albeit man-made… but to him it was just pure wonder! Sometimes it just takes thinking about the world around us from a child’s perspective to appreciate what we’d normally take for granted. :)

    [Reply]

    Donna-Lee Reply:

    Hi Jolene, That is truly the joy of children – don’t you think – that they remind us (and maybe teach us) how to witness the wonder of life. Enjoy them while they are small, but never let yourself forget the lessons they are teaching you. Blessings, Donna-Lee

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  • http://sparklingly.blogspot.com J @ sparklingly

    Can’t even begin to describe how much I love every bit of this!

    I “flaneried” around NYC and didn’t even know it! Have to stay, for all its ills (and new rules), Instagram has helped me notice more than I used to on my flaneries. In NYC there’s never a need to look far for something crazy, interesting, wild, beautiful, etc. But, my favorites?

    + The standard cafe/coffee/tea/book routine
    + New markets
    + Checking out new walkways/parks
    + Finding out which new dog runs are open and taking a detour by them
    + And, because I forget, always looking up. Sometimes the streets of NYC are too much to handle, but the rooftops are glorious. (And, where you’ll often find hidden architectural gems).

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    So agree about the instagram thing!! making the ordinary extraordinary!

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  • http://sparklingly.blogspot.com J @ sparklingly

    PS. I remember studying this painting in an art history class at my university on Impressionist Paris and discussing the dandy/sauntering/strolling (flannerie!) nature of the image and how key it was to Parisian life

    http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/20684

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  • Ian

    Beautiful, Sarah.

    Flanerie – yes, it is what the French do isn’t it. It’s a very neighbourly concept that we in the city have lost a bit of… being present whilst meandering & absorbing the wonder all around us.

    Thank you for sharing this and introducing us to a new word. Oh, and congrats on the BIG purchase – home! You have purchased your 1st home – enjoy making it your little paradise.

    Ian x

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    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Bless you Ian.

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  • Kirrilee

    Ahhh second-hand bookshops for sure!
    It’s like a combined neighbourhood bookshelf that you can nose through… and the reading habits of your neighbourhood tell you a lot about them (the brand-new looking books which no one likes and have offloaded quickly, the well-thumbed books which are obvious favourites).

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  • Laura

    On my last European trip my husband and I marvelled how we could spend at least 6 hours everyday just walking around, completely absorbed in our surroundings and what was going on. We had no sense of time or schedule we just ‘flaneried’. When one finds joy in an activity where they reach this state of ‘flow’ or complete unawareness of the time that has passed I think it’s when we are the happiest.

    [Reply]

    Jason Reply:

    You are correct. Walking in Paris is sublime.

    Most Australian cities are boring. Have you tried walking around Newcastle? Ballarat? Adelaide? Gosfrord? Launceston? Bathurst?

    I wonder what French tourists think when they visit Australia and told to see the Big Banana. Or the Big Marino. For Christ sake.

    [Reply]

    Kay Reply:

    Lol!

    Jason, I drove past this just yesterday:

    http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/big-prawns-big-move/1530363/

    [Reply]

    Jason Reply:

    Not another one!! Ha! Thanks for that. We are a classy lot aren’t we? I see it’s being built next to a Bunnings Warehouse as well. This has to stop surely.

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Bunnings do a good sausage sizzle….?

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    Mel Reply:

    Yeah often go only for the sausage

    mary Reply:

    Hi Jason can I disagree strongly. I’m from Scotland but spent two periods in Sydney living for over a month and walking around the city was my total joy. I spent one month in Surrey Hills… I ADORED the indpendent shops, cafes, bookshops, architectural detailing. I spent another month in Manley again really enjoyed just being in it with the added delight of taking FERRIES!!! I could hardly drag myself out of Sydney I enjoyed it so much.

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    Donna-Lee Reply:

    This would surely be the wonder of walking around a place that you are unfamiliar with. Like a new city, or suburb, or even taking a different path to the one you normally take. It easy to become bored with the familiar, but if you were to guide a visitor to your own ‘hood around, you would see wonders that you were not aware of, or had forgotten, or even just taken for granted. I live in an old Queensland city-town, where the houses are tourist attractions in themselves, not just the gardens and the beautiful theatre, and the nearby islands. Sometimes you need the help of someone else to open your eyes to the specialness of a place. :-)

  • Kate

    Congratulations on the purchase of a home! That is huge. May it be a place of respite, calm and happiness for you.

    Thanks for a great year of thoughtfulness and honesty. I don’t usually comment but I look forward to reading your blog posts. Always beautifully written, from the heart, and give me things to think about. Wishing you an awesome 2013.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Thank you Kate. I appreciate that.

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  • Maryann

    Enjoy you new home Sarah.

    I am a flanneur. I love to walk although I tend to do more or this when on holidays. Your post is a timely reminder that I need to do more of this as part of daily life.

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  • Kate

    Is the Australian equivalent pottering? I often tell family & friends “I’m just pottering” when they ask what I’m up to, or is this just applicable to within your home and garden….

    [Reply]

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Pottering! Yes!

    I feel one can potter anywhere, not just home or garden, but it might depend on your interpretation…

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    Kate Reply:

    Mia, interpretation – mmmm… In my twenties yes it could have meant something else…in my thirties it just means I’ve turned into an old woman who potters….ah the serenity of being old and fossicking…

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    Donna-Lee Reply:

    Oh Kate, you make me laugh! Old in your 30s? I mean seriously. A few years ago, my teenage son tried calling me old (in my 40s then), so I asked him what does that make your grandmother – in her 60s – to which he offered, “Really old.” Then I asked him what his great g’mother – approaching 90 – but he could only suggest that she was totally off the scale to him; cannot compute! So you see, age is relative, it’s just a number and all down to attitude and perspective. Personal choice, really. It has been said that if you haven’t grown up by 50, then you don’t need to. So know my son can stop asking me when I’m going to grow up, because I don’t have to. :-D
    Don’t be old before your time, dear Kate.Love the age your are, always.

    @ Sarah, I love your blogs, and the wonderful topics that you hold up for discussion. I have been a flaneur (I love that term, I’m going to use it as often as I can) all my life, I think. My English mother taught me this, as her mother taught her. They are/were both walkers, and though I always tend to park my car a long way from the CBD when I have errands to run, so I get a good walk (not just because I don’t see the sense in paying for parking) out of it, I have recently found an opportunity to see more of my city, by joining a local walkers club. Our primary objective is fitness, but as we start at different locations around town on set days, but head out in a new direction every time. I’ve seen more of my city in the past few months than I have in years. And how better to see your place than on foot – even power-walking, because you can see it more clearly than riding or driving, when you have to contend with traffic, too.

    Liz Reply:

    @DonnaLee – oh my gosh . . thank you x 10000 for saying the above. I am finding myself joking a lot lately being in my mid-thirties about age, but to be honest I feel about ten years younger than that (husband too). I’m going to keep telling myself that and making choices to help keep that actual feeling :)

    Mia Bluegirl Reply:

    Fossick! Gold. Is fossick an Australian word too? I love it either way.

    There is something to be said for being “old” but not. You know, being an extremely silly person with very little interest in growing up, but staying at home with a book on a Saturday night because you just don’t understand those dang young people and their loud music. (I’m 28. Mock away, I don’t mind.) :)

    “You can grow old without ever growing up.” – Billy Connolly

  • Mia Bluegirl

    How lovely. Congratulations on the new home!

    I do so admire the style of the French. The do so many things so well. I marvel at two French girls I know, who rarely wear colour and never any more make-up than a swipe of mascara, but always look so stylish.

    Flannerie sounds like it would be a great deal of fun when it’s just about to rain.

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  • elise

    ADORE THIS!

    You’re so right. It adds to my philosophy of being REAL. After backpacking this year your post made so much sense to me. I think society would be a lot happier if they listened to such sage musings. Keeping things small, keeping expectations low. People can perceive the latter to be negative, but I love it; i get it!

    I, also, tend to get Weekend Panic – it’s the worst! I don’t think facebook helps.

    The flanerie and I became quite close across Europe. I say just follow and indulge in your curiosity. That’s what I did in Europe each time I came across a new town/city. And when it came time to read the Loney Planet guide to the city I would discover I has come across all the ‘must do’ things by simply just meandering. And not only this, I’d discover EVEN better, more wholesome, knooks and cranies of a town. Flaneries are the way to go.

    Enjoy!

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  • http://feedthedogwhoblogs.blogspot.com carmel

    You’ve moved to my old stomping ground, where I loved living, creating and meandering around for 11 years. And you do know it’s referred to as the Paris End of its seedier, adjoining neighbourhood? It’s a great place to be single as well. Being the loner that I am I really loved quietly working away at home, in a tiny studio apartment, knowing I could just step out into the fray whenever I needed that connection with humanity. Or a really good coffee. A chat with a shop owner. A poke around the book shop to shift my energy. Sometimes just a walk up and down streets, checking out how other people were embracing these few moments in our shared time and space. If I ever felt lonely a short poodling around the hood would knock that over quick smart.

    I only know you from your blog, which I’ve been following and loving ever since my health held me to ransom earlier this year; and as you tend to put-it-all-out-there, I reckon I have a bit of a handle on the kind of gal you are. And of all the suburbs in Sydney I reckon this is surely the ONE for you.

    Great plan to have a base, that anchor, security. Agree.. should make the wanderlusting easier.

    Congrats on the new home. And thank you for such honest, insightful, inspiring and sometimes kooky thoughts on all manner of things.

    And at the risk of making me sound like a nutter I know a wonderful tarot/astrology reader in McDonald Street. Just sayin.

    Enjoy the wonderland of your new home Sarah.

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Carmel, thanks for saying it’s the right suburb for me…I tend to agree.

    [Reply]

  • Lyndsay

    Sarah, what a lovely post! Thankyou.
    Turns out I did me some flanerie today! I have rediscovered my town since having a baby & going on long strolls. Today, I ended up inside a beautiful church that I so often admired from the outside but have been too intimidated to go in (as I’m not necessarily religious). It was beautiful. I just sat and observed, it was peaceful & magical.

    Enjoy your new home, new base & new hood!

    [Reply]

  • Rosie

    Congratulations Sarah, enjoy your unit! I too used to have a unit in a great location where I enjoyed doing the same. Not quite the same in the ‘burbs though! Lovely post!

    [Reply]

    Sarah Wilson

    Sarah WilsonSarah Wilson Reply:

    Ah, but it’s about the ordinary. Perhaps just walking around cul-de-sacs. Looking at gardens.

    [Reply]

    Rosie Reply:

    Funnily enough I actually do live in a cul-de-sac! Thanks for the reminder of finding beauty where ever I am!

    [Reply]

    Lisa Ingram Reply:

    Oh that is what we do! Sometimes we even drive a bit to get to new idle
    garden investigations. And smell other people’s roses over the fence gratefully.

    [Reply]

  • https://twitter.com/prettysnippets rebecca

    i love to roam through my neighbourhood. i’m a commuter cyclist, and a single speed one at that, yet walking is precious. a physical indulgence in busy times. it allows you to dawdle, to notice the detail, to appreciate, to savour. i have delighted in getting to know my postcode intimately since buying my own first home 2 years ago. i have loved being able to spot that a neighbour 20 doors down has uprooted their roses and replaced them with a vegetable patch. that the little easter decorations on those rose bushes reappeared on the trees of another neighbour, further down the street. there is no way i would trade the fluster of driving for these enchanting details.

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  • http://thespaces-between.blogspot.com.au/ Natalie

    i love this… the focus on what’s around, on people, experiences, on what’s happening, on life and taking it all in. not on what we need to consume, buy, have. Natalie x

    [Reply]

  • Rachel

    You are so right. I have just spent 6 hours walking through the busy residential streets of Mumbai. I had no plan and nowehere specific to go I just walked. I have seen and experienced so many amazing things and met so many extraordinary people going about their daily lives – that most tourists would not bother to see – because I just wandered around.

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  • http://niki-under-the-influence.blogspot.com niki

    I love nothing better than a weekend of wandering markets, stopping for coffee and people watching. I loved Paris when I was there on my big Euro vacay. A beautiful city with so much class. Cute boys too ;-)

    [Reply]

  • http://achievetheimpossiblecoach.blogspot.ca/ Natalia

    Great post and a very nice reminder to remain curious and wander around. I leave to Russia in a few days and I hope I will get to chance to stroll. Might be a little hard to do in -25C weather but it doesn’t hurt to try. Jokes aside, very beautiful post and very timely given that we tend to run around like chickens with our heads cut off during Xmas. Thank you!

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  • Cathy F

    That’s a great analogy Sarah! I used to aspire to be a cog in the presumed perfection of a Country Road-catalogue-type-world before I grew and realised that the people living those lifestyles portrayed in those very catalogues are just as screwed up as the rest of us. And, besides that, if life were that perfect, it would be totally boring. Congrats on your home purchase, lots of love & best wishes for Christmas & the New Year and thanks again for a wonderful series of informative and fascinating posts in 2012.

    [Reply]

  • Adam Cordner

    I was in Hong Kong not that long ago and loved how they closed off certain roads in the city so people could just wander.

    I have a dog watching addiction. I love to go for a weekend stroll somewhere busy in Sydney where there are dogs booning around. They get Flannerie right. When I watch dogs I try to imagine what they’re thinking and then do voice-overs, I imagine that dogs would swear a lot.

    There is this group of old Greek men and woman that gather at Doughnut King, the women get coffee’s then waddle off yelling at each other while the men all sit around a table laughing, every now and then they all sit in silence. But they do this every weekend, for hours at a time and they all look happy. This getting amongst it seems vital to their happiness, all for the cost of a shitty coffee.

    [Reply]

    J @ sparklingly Reply:

    They know the secret of life.

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    Bree Reply:

    Oh Adam I never thought there was a name for dog watching addiction. I have it too. Happy to know other people feel like me. It slows you down a sort of dog Flanering LOL

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  • Janelle

    I just love this topic!
    I do flanerie well! I am an observer of small and seemingly insignificant things and a potterer and people watcher. Flanerising fills my cup.
    It seems to come naturally to me – I thought most people were the same.
    I wish for flanerising to become compulsory and to be taught in schools!!

    [Reply]

    J @ sparklingly Reply:

    Much more useful to learn the art of flanerie than learning about the inner workings of a frog! :)

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  • Jenna

    So nice to have a word to put with the action. Today I ‘flaneried’ my way around Vienna to the point that my feet are now protesting painfully :-)

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  • Marn

    I call this type of activity ‘mooching’ but in a positive way. There is so much in my inner city ‘hood to do that costs nothing and I love it.

    One of the best decision I ever made was purchasing my inner city tiny studio apartment (congrat Sarah). It’s my own little sanctuary with endless activities awaiting outside my front door.

    Some of my fav ‘mooching’ activities are meandering to the milk bar to get an icy pole on a hot day and checking out the beautiful old homes down the road, discovering an old alley way that leads to nowhere and wondering why it is there, cooling off in a chinese temple at the end of my street, watching the swans on the lake across the road, walking to the local art gallery, sitting in the park to read a book, learning about the history of my ‘hood (the town hall is beautiful when you look at it closely) and sharing a wine on the balcony with my new neighbours.

    In fact, this Christmas I’m intending on doing a lot of mooching.

    Happy holidays all.

    [Reply]

    J @ sparklingly Reply:

    Wow, where do you live, Marn? Sounds amazing! Such a feast for the senses.
    (Quick question though: What’s a milk bar and an icy pole? :/ )

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    Marn Reply:

    South Melbourne! It’s full of hidden gems

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    Donna-Lee Reply:

    So, does that make you “Marnie the Moocher”? I love the term mooching, it’s a good skill to have in your repertoire. ;-)

    Sorry I couldn’t help myself. I know, the song is “Minnie the Moocher”, just using a little poetic licence, for the fun of it. :-D

    Marn Reply:

    Thanks Donna-Lee. Yes I’m definitely ‘Marnie the Moocher’! Love it.

  • Karen

    I love this! My partner and I do it all the time in our inner city Perth neighbourhood. We call it going for a mooch too Marn, or a wander. One of my partner’s questions before we bought the house was whether the neighbourhood was ‘moochable’!

    I like a quiet life but have chosen to live in a central, busy, vibrant and sometimes noisy area. I enjoy hearing the urban buzz around me from my home, even if I don’t want to actively participate in it all the time. It makes me feel connected to life.

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  • http://www.shashenjewels.com eilish bouchier

    Fantastic how fun to move into your new home right on the cusp of this creation energy that is 21.12.12 and at the start of a new year. May it be auspicious and beautiful for you.

    I remember buying my flat in Sydney and everyone declared, ‘So now you are staying/settling’ and my response was ‘No, this now means I can go’ knowing I have a base. It’s how I still feel about it. I love my home and also love leaving it and returning to it. I now own I’m truly a bohemian soul. May it feel like that for you too Sarah. Enjoy!

    I hadn’t heard of ‘flanerie’ before but I believe we all live in villages wherever we live. I have lived in NYC, SF, London, Paris, Granada, more and even Wagga Wagga and each time created ‘my village’ within them – the cafe, the bookstore, the florist, the baker and on it goes. We need the comfort of the familiar amidst the busyness of the world. We need to know we can depend on some things amidst the constant change. I believe we are constantly seeking connection with ourselves, with others and with the universal spirit.

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  • http://www.shaeleviston.com shae

    oh I love this Sarah, I have always done this…and there is a word for it… YAY!!! Oh and my tip, taught to me by an amazing and inspiring teacher a long time ago …Don’t forget to look up!!! Its amazing what you can find if you look above street level at the amazing architecture created long ago…we were on a walk in the city streets of Melbourne when he suggested this …oh the mosaics, the fonts, the sculptured details and the gargoyles!!!! Have Fun xo

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  • Liz

    Hi Sarah:
    I love, love this post – this is exactly how my husband and I travel. Just meandering and finding things as we go, unless someone has a specific recommendation. And we overlapped with you in Paris this year, so perhaps we were unknowingly flanerising together! :) We just adopted a dog and so have been finding new spaces and architecture in our current neighbourhood as well as meeting new people. We have been here for four years (also bought our first apartment) and there are suddenly all these squares, parks, and cool houses that I never knew existed. Hopefully when the weather warms up we can enjoy some outside dining with our new friend. I’m going to bring this post into the New Year with us as a gentle reminder of how to really enjoy an afternoon. Really looking forward to hearing more from you!

    Cheers!

    Liz

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  • http://www.underappletreephotography.com Michelle @ Under the Apple Tree Photography

    When I was a child I used to *love* wandering around the neighbourhood, walking the dog and checking out… letterboxes! Our neighbours’ letterboxes. All so different, often so creative and cute.

    Over the past year or so I’ve taken on the challenge of trying to look at my local area as a traveller would: regarding my surroundings with the eye of a visitor. It’s not easy, and I’m still learning, but I’m noticing a lot more.

    ‘Home’ is such a lovely and ever-changing adventure isn’t it!

    xx

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  • http://www.richmondrambles.blogspot.com.au jan

    Hello Sarah – firstly I am wild with excitement for you – your first big purchase. There is nothing like a HOME to make you feel you belong. My father always described a flannery as the ‘tourist mooch’. I’ve lived in my suburb in downtown Richmond, Melbourne for over 10 years but really only got to know it well once I started blogging about it and the surrounding suburbs. Now I am mooching/flannering/wandering/watching/listening and whatever else constantly. It’s amazing how much more you see, hear and do once you have a ‘purpose’. So keep flannering – you have picked up more in your suburb already than most of the other inhabitants. There are lots of people having interesting low-key adventures in their lives – often right on your doorstep. Enjoy

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  • Kaylene

    Hi Sarah,
    I’m a new convert to the concept of removing sugar from my daily life. It has its challenges, but overall it seems to be going well. Christmas will be a challenge, but I have stocked up with loads of healthy foods for myself, family and guests.
    When I go out flannering in my neighbourhood, I always try to look up. It is amazing how often we really don’t look any higher that our eyeline. I also sometimes pretend that I am in another country, and seem to spot lots of different things that have probably always been there, but I have never noticed before.
    Good luck with your new dwelling, and have a wonderful Christmas.
    Cheers, Kay.

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  • Cherie

    Ahh the art of flanerie. I have been getting my flanerie while on a couple of months break in London. Its perfect when you dont have much money to spend. I have purchased a monthly tube pass and just hop on and get off in a different location every 2nd day.
    If I need to go somewhere in particular, I change the way I get there. Going right instead of left, navigating by picking laneways and buildings that look interesting.

    Each time I visit NY i try and pick a different borough to wander. I love getting lost and stumbling on places.

    I would suggest making yourself a quest or mission to inspire you. Once (before my IQS days) I had a quest to find the best pie in NY. I walked and walked and flaneried and flaneried. Having a quest or purpose helped my (sometimes anal retentive) mind accept the wanderings and enjoy them.

    Enjoy exploring. Keep posting your finds as they are always a delight.

    Cherie

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  • http://www.alexxstuart.com Alexx

    Love this post. Booked my solo – sans famille – ticket to NYC and Paris last week, as I realised after a few years, I longed to commit multiple consecutive days of flanerie and get back in touch with my French side (literally, French on my mum’s side.) Only in Paris, can one ‘shop’ for days on end, not buy a thing, and feel completely satisfied. The act of absorbing it all is the beauty. It’s like a moveable gallery of life around you all the time. Cannot wait and reading your post just now cast me back to the joys of café time, walking time and l’heure de l’apéritif – yipee! Enjoy your new apartment :)

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  • Sally

    Great post sarah.
    I always feel inspired after reading your posts, and this one in particular had me reflecting on the last 12months that I’ve been on maternity leave. My life pre baby was hurried, stressed, and busy, where weekends couldn’t come quick enough and were always too short. These days I literally do stop to smell the roses, admire other people’s gardens, and enjoy the many small delights in my suburb – even stopping to read historical signs on buildings that I never knew existed. I’ve come to know the shop keepers and even the postman!
    My little boy has boundless energy but his innocence and fascination at the simplest of things is something I truly enjoy.
    The mindless pursuit for material possessions we don’t need has become somewhat of a past time for people these days. I have developed a huge dislike for shopping centres and the shopping addicted culture that has quickly evolved. Yes, they offer convenience on many levels but there is nothing like getting to know (and supporting) your local traders.
    Enjoy your new home and your new neighborhood!

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  • Bec

    Nice post.

    I studied ‘le flaneur’ in terms of French cinema a few years ago. A great read about this concept you write of is Anne Friedberg’s book ‘Window Shopping: Cinema and the Postmodern’.

    A must view is the film ‘Before Sunset’ for the beauty of walking Paris (after you watch Before Sunrise, and before you watch Before Midnight in 2013 [walking through Greece]) – think you’ll enjoy!

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  • Terry

    Congratulations on the purchase of the flat.
    Did you get a good price from someone who thought the end
    of the world was here? :)

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  • http://www.behealthylivewellcooking.weeblycom BeccaE

    My favorite is to go where the tourist traps are – the markets, the overly-priced shops, and walk the streets of downtown as if I’d never seen it before. Then, I go to the beach and sit in the sand to watch passersby and their pets, snap a few pix, and sit quietly, waiting for the waves to rise and meet me…

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  • http://www.lydeangeles.com Ly

    So you finished that book? So proud of you! Major life shifts happen 2013 to 2016. You’ve made some excellent choices x

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  • http://butterfliesnmudpies.blogspot.com.au Leanne

    Sarah thank you for this.

    But I must thank the commenters as well. I was reading this thinking “we should drive into Newcastle and do this sometimes…” but then it dawned on me…”that isn’t the point…is it?” We should walk out our front door and experience our neighbourhood. Stop trying to get somewhere that we feel we ‘should’ be experience, and just experience.

    Thanks guys!

    Leanne xo

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  • Jackie

    Hi Sarah,

    I went to see the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition yesterday in Canberra – he loved painting the “Flaneurs” – which were the dandy young men around Paris. Flaneur literally means one who lounges, loafs or strolls about….. Something we love to do on the weekend as a family.

    So nice that I knew what they were from your post!

    Happy New Year.
    Jackie

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  • erika

    Is flanerie everywhere? As I read your blog, it makes me wonder if I am living in the wrong part of the world. I live in Denver, Colorado in the US which I find to be gorgeous but I don’t find the city charming in the way you explain it. I always escape to the mountains to find the true beauty of where I live. There is no ease of the day here, people are out to get something done, coffee shops have drive-thrus attached to them, and you often get rushed through a meal so your table can be cleared. Maybe I am looking at it the wrong way but this blog and the comments make me wonder where is everyone living.

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  • http://www.hellogreathealth.com.au jenny @ hello great health

    hi sarah,

    congrats on the very exciting procurement of your first apartment! may it be filled with love, happiness and lots of relaxing good times.

    thank you for your post about flannerie. i have never heard of this concept before today and i just love it. we all get into such a panic about life and thinking that we are missing out because everyone’s instagrams and facebook pages look like they are having more fun than us.

    i think if we all just slow down and really connect with our environment nearby then happiness is closer than we think. i love flannerie – i think it really nurtures the idea of stillness and just being.

    jen x

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  • http://thezeka.tumblr.com/ Ana

    I found a fancy word for one of my favourite activities – yay ^_^ !

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  • Edwina

    Great article on The Flaneur in the autumn 2014 edition of Slow magazine (also a great magazine).

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