The flâneur is more of a serendipitous explorer, receptive to whatever comes along. They are a combination of curious explorer (having no goal other than to experience city life), critical spectator (balanced analyst, seeing beauty, but aware of social inequities), and creative mind (an interpreter who renders the urban landscape legible).

This is both a reflection on my one word for 2018 – Intent – and my new word for 2019 – Flânerie.


For a couple of years now, I have been focusing on one word, rather than goals or resolutions. This was inspired by Kath Murdoch:

The word provides as a kind of ‘tincture’ to the year – its purpose being to regularly nudge you along a path of your choosing – a path that strengthens you in some way.

My word for 2018 was ‘intent’. This involved:

Although this was a useful focus, I felt that as the year went on I was becoming too black and white about things. Too clinical. Too methodical. Yes to this, no to that. Moving forward I felt I needed a means of engaging creatively within constraint.

Initially, I was inspired by Tantek Çelik and his efforts to regularly post positives. I wondered if my new word might be something like ‘solution focused’ or ‘happiness’. However, the more I thought about this, the more concerned I came about what such a focus might imply.

I moved to thinking about small things. Although I feel I pick up on things, I do not always act upon them. Julie Beck argues that unless we do something with what we have read within 24-hours then we often forget it. This got thinking about Ian Guest and his work in regards to flânerie. As he explains, the flaneur is a:

serendipitous explorer, receptive to whatever comes along. They are a combination of curious explorer (having no goal other than to experience city life), critical spectator (balanced analyst, seeing beauty, but aware of social inequities), and creative mind (an interpreter who renders the urban landscape legible).

What I liked about this was that it was not about merely observing, but also actively producing.

So far I have used Alan Levine’s new plugin to create an ‘On This Day’ page. I am also going to return to posting reflections more regularly. I did this a few years ago when I tinkered with the idea of a ‘What If‘ site. I hope that being more active will also help in extending my ‘serendipity surface’.

So that is me, what about you? Do you have any thoughts and suggestions? Do you have a word that you are focusing on this year? As always, comments welcome.


If you enjoy what you read here, feel free to sign up for my monthly newsletter to catch up on all things learning, edtech and storytelling.