[Guest post] Finding better ways by Marshall Opel

By Street Wisdom

We’re so lucky at Street Wisdom, because we get to work with amazing volunteers who lead Walkshops all over the world, bringing strangers together to share reflections from their wanders. One of those wanderful people is Marshall Opel from Salt Lake City, Utah, who is doing all kinds of incredible, not least with Trips Unplugged. We’re delighted he said yes to hosting this write up of a recent Street Wisdom Walkshop he led in Salt Lake City. Check out the Events page to join his next Walkshop!


I stood in the small grassy island of the parking lot waiting for people to show up. “I wonder if I should have brought a sign like they use at the airport?” I thought to myself. A gray haired man wearing a day pack, standard blue jeans and hiking boots approached curiously. “I knew you were a part of [Street Wisdom] because you were looking around,” Brian said as we exchanged our first greeting. At 62, Brian wants to stave off the rigidity that he’s feeling as he ages. “I don’t want to be jaded and closed off to the world,” he said while we waited for the group to congregate.

Three more friends completed our small workshop and I went about introducing the concept of Street Wisdom and giving instructions for our first of three warm up exercises. The idea is to activate our body’s internal navigation system by noticing the myriad sights, smells, and feelings that are all around us.

The western world teaches us to look ahead at what’s next. Street wisdom invites us to notice what’s in front of us, yes. But what about to our sides? Above us and below? And beyond seeing, what can we sense? Most of us think intelligence is stuck in our heads but here we’re nudged to notice a distinctly different form of intelligence. It’s more like a feeling, and on some level it doesn’t feel entirely our own. The feeling of being connected to something not in our minds and yet somehow known – that’s a space worth exploring.



Inspired? Fancy some more Street Wisdom? Join a Walkshop near you, or head out for your own wander right now with our Tune Ups. Buy a copy of founder David Pearl’s book Wanderful, all profits go back into Street Wisdom to help keep it free. Share your insights and follow us @StreetWisdom_