Walking: data collection & thought collation

My first exercise in dedicated walking research. We are always researching when we are walking, mulling things over in our mind, observing what surrounds us. It felt strange forcing thoughts. My plan to trace barriers over an existing map got me thinking. I was actually marking where barriers were crossable – they were individual points or events. Barriers don’t exist at a singular point, they stretch around territories. Barriers are lines, they are maps on the landscape and in our mind.

Doing this process again I would like to focus more on my feelings when approaching barriers. This could be done by tracing the line of my walk, but shifting that line in shape or colour when I feel uneasy, safe or cautious. For example, I crossed a wall into Fifty Acre Wood and, at the time, forgot about open access land. As I had entered a territory over a barrier, not through a gate, I immediately felt uneasy as if I was trespassing, even though I actually wasn’t. It would be interesting to create a dotted line of my walk, where every dot represents an increase in nervousness or alertness. Having done other walks, I know that this can happen on public footpaths as well as when trespassing.

This first walk produced expected results. Yet it has given me plenty of new ideas for how to do things differently next time.