Archive for March 24th, 2008

Time & the Lost Art of Cruising

photo by 摩根

WE ARE TIME POOR, to borrow the words of Rolf Potts. Or rather, in all seriousness, we can call ourselves time anorexic. As a generation, we starve our activities and endeavours of the attention they deserve. This leaves us tired, creatively drained. The irony is that the more we try to shove into the seconds the sooner they evaporate.

This idea commonly circulates in discussions about the value of slow travel; the reasoning behind not trying to cram ten countries into two weeks is easy enough to understand. But the heart of that philosophy seems to fizz out once we edge back into home routines. The digital age further enables the work-addicted, and our fragmented mind lessens the quality of our experiences.

I noticed this in my own life during my recent trip to Chicago. Though I had barely 36 hours in the city, I filled a backpack with a laptop, dress clothes, etc., anticipating all the work I would accomplish. The reality of the time frame checked me, however, after a mostly sleepless night drained both my inspiration and my ambition. I was left pedaling around a cold city with a ridiculously heavy bag, annoyed that it hadn’t been the productive trip I’d hoped for.

Even in the day-to-day, it seems the more hurried I feel the less I get done.

As a journalist, I’ve learned that the story can’t (and shouldn’t) be forced. Deadlines aside, we need to make sure we understand what’s really going on. We ought to allow the same kind of time to understand ourselves and to evaluate what we’re working towards in life.

In the past, if I was out on my bike and had some spare minutes, I would just float around the city streets. During the last few months I’ve done none of that, and I’d lost something because of it — a simple enjoyment, a sense of life’s randomness. But as the spring sun becomes warm, I’m beginning to get back to the art of cruising.


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