Yesterday, I decide to take a break from some work and go for a walk. I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like—nothing’s prohibiting me short of other distractions—but when I do I find that, if you’re paying attention, you can learn a lot about your surroundings. I hadn’t gone very far North on foot before, so I took a gamble and decided to see what was nearby.

The walk yielded a number of unexpected finds and interactions. Unexpectedly, it kicked off with a thirty minute conversation with a neighbor about neural pathways and how identities form (casual). After we parted ways, a few blocks up I bumped into a house designed by my favorite architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. A block away from that I found a new, secluded beach with a nice port right up to the water. About another half-mile up I found a new cafe. Oddly enough, I even met a guy (T) who was walking his brother’s dog (Indica) back from a swim in the lake.

All of this within about an hour’s worth of walking, predicated on nothing other than a desire to step outside and stroll for a bit. Had I taken my usual path, I’d have seen the same boring stuff, and likely, wouldn’t have been very present in the moment. It’s a fairly trivial realization, but just by going in the opposite direction, a whole new world can open up to you. The application here is fairly literal—walking—but it could be applied to pretty much anything. Always get a sandwich for lunch from the same place? Try that weird looking Middle Eastern spot across from it. Who knows, maybe you’ll dig it, maybe you’ll get food poisoning. Roll the dice!

When you get stuck in your usual patterns, it’s easy to miss all of the stuff—and opportunities—around you. Just for fun, try going left instead of right. Take a different route to work. Go into that place that looks interesting. Go for a stroll without purpose. Whichever way you go, it’s only a wrong turn or a dead end if you frame it that way.