What is the Street Wisdom movement - and why are people across the globe getting involved?

7th Sep 17 | Lifestyle

It's all about tapping into the mind-clearing benefits of a good walk-and-talk.

Happy smiling woman looking up and walking on city street

Heading out for a walk this weekend? If you fancy throwing some self-development, problem-solving or general worldly wisdom into the mix, how about joining a Street Wisdom walk?

The global social enterprise is running its first World Wide Wander Weekend September 8-10, with walks taking place all around the planet to encourage people to become involved with the movement.

Curious? David Pearl, author, speaker and Street Wisdom guru, tells us what it’s all about…


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What is Street Wisdom?

In a nutshell, the walks are led by volunteer Street Wizards, who’ve all been taught Street Wisdom skills. You walk, you talk (possibly with a group of strangers) and you soak up wisdom as you go. The inspiration comes from David’s 20-plus years of working to “help people – particularly senior business people – be more creative in work and life. I started using the street many years ago as a place where people could be themselves (rather than maintain their workday ‘role’) and learn new things from the everyday world around them – outside and away from their desks and day-to-day living,” he explains.

“Seeing the kind of breakthroughs professional folk were having from these very simple experiences, I wanted to find a way to share this much more widely, with more people and more countries – particularly one that could be enjoyed by people who have never done self-development work, and/or don’t feel they have the time to.

“Another inspiration behind the venture is the idea that wisdom is available on your doorstep – you don’t have to fly off to Machu Picchu. The cities are where we increasingly live and are full of treasures if you know how to look.”

The movement is gathering pace

David refined his approach into a simple workshop that anyone can download from the web. And then the movement began, with Street Wisdom gathering momentum and spreading to 30 countries.

Anyone interested can visit the Street Wisdom website and find events happening in their area. You need to book, but taking part is free – or you can download Wandercast (£5.99) and do your own mini session. If there are no events in your area, you can set one up.

Why is walking and talking so special?

“Greater minds than I agree there is something about walking that stimulates the thinking,” David says. “Friedrich Nietzsche said, ‘All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking’, and fellow philosopher [Jean-Jacques] Rousseau confided, ‘I can meditate only when I am walking’.

“I often encourage clients to leave their desks and go out for a stroll. Moving the body unblocks the mind. And if you’ve an important conversation to have, I recommend walking with that person rather than staring at them across a desk. This is very common in the creative arts (my background) where, for example, you often see scriptwriting partners walking and talking their way through a problem.

“Street Wisdom adds the crucial element of wandering – walking without feeling you have to get from A to B as directly as possible. Wander and wonder are connected. When people allow themselves to get lost – including in very familiar streets – they often bump into unexpected answers.”

Sofia Wisdom 2014

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Where does Street Wisdom hope to lead?

“We’re delighted to say Street Wisdom is already showing signs of taking off as a movement,” says David. “It’s being experienced by public and business groups, and councils are starting to think about adopting Street Wisdom city-wide.

“Our vision is to bring inspiration to every street on Earth. We think that would make the world a more creative, friendly place – and cities less stressful and lonely.”

For an event near you, see streetwisdom.org

© Press Association 2017