Nairobi’s 1st Street Wisdom!

On Sunday 5th June 2017, 6 of us met in downtown Nairobi for the first ever Street Wisdom in Kenya (possibly even Africa??).

As it wasn’t possible to attend a Street Wisdom event first before running one (for the simple reason there aren’t any going on here!), I had to dive right in, read up about it and then go for it.

I live in the Nairobi suburbs and almost never go to central Nairobi as it’s just so hectic (and not know for being the safest city on earth)*. We met at an old Italian Restaurant called Trattoria and did all our walks from that point.

Well, it was just brilliant, on so many levels. We engaged with the streets of Kenya’s capital city in a way we agreed we had never done before, slowed down, connected to one another in a new way and had an utterly unique, enriching experience.

At the end, we met for a beer back at Trattoria and discussed our experiences. All of us felt really energised and amazed at what we had been through. Some example questions:

✪ How can I learn how to sleep naturally again? ✪ Now that I’ve given up my job, how can I best use my time over the coming month?

We said we would all definitely do it again and, in fact, can’t wait to! Thank you Street Wisdom ❤️

Chief, Tonya, Kip & Andy at Trattoria for our ‘sharing’ experience

*Something I found quite difficult was the number of street kids who came up to me whilst I was walking. It was a good exercise though for me to expend less energy on trying to walk away from them and be more open minded and compassionate to what I was witnessing.

“I was absolutely fascinated by the answers the streets had. The streets that I am always on, through this exercise suddenly became alive. I asked a question about my work regarding what it was that I should not compromise. The answers were glaringly clear. Everything was speaking the same message to me. I would recommend this to anybody and will definitely be using the techniques learnt again and again.” Antonia

“My take out was that we are mostly too busy to take note of our immediate environment, even when things are (and have been) right there in our face. It was a brilliant exercise in contemplation and indeed powerful.
Nairobi “revealed” an obelisk; a I and II world war memorial monument to East African veterans, it stands on a street I have walked and passed many times before and never seen. It was also revealing in the “love” walk to note that I am very much a contributor to the City’s vibe. It made me feel an appreciation for myself. Lastly when I asked the streets how I could have more fun in my life, I immediately got the response that I could tap in to anonymity a feeling and personal sense I often don’t have or associate with. This possibly means, I’m a little caught up with my egotistical side that perhaps is inclined to perform and not simply be.
Many, many thanks for this exercise, it was much more powerful than I could have possibly imagined.” Ruby

Lisboa: finding beauty in the after-party debris

street wisdom cafe lisboa

It’s a sign of either sheer naivety or incurable optimism that I chose to host Lisbon’s first Street Wisdom on a Saturday morning at 9am sharp, starting from Mercado da Ribeira’s garden. It’d only been three to four hours since the night’s revellers left for their beds and the signs were everywhere; sticky pavements, abandoned beer bottles, Lisboa lazily waking up to the weekend.

street wisdom slow right down lisboa

And so it felt incredibly special that six humans and one dog turned up to find fresh answers to their questions (the dog does not do social media, and had been tipped off by its human master. Phew).

Despite the enormous differences that make Southern and Northern European folk their own cultural breeds, urban life in the West is made of very similar trappings. Once the group had opened up about their questions, it became obvious that there is no foreign land when it comes to being human in the city.

‘Am I ready to move to the country?’, ‘Does it still make sense to run my business?’, ‘What’s next for me?’ were the sorts of very universal matters we discussed. One of our participants had no questions at all, but appreciated learning how to switch the mindful toolkit on. The majority of participants were on corporate careers, trying to navigate their true sense of self within those structures.

And if you can see beauty in everything, when surrounded by the after-party debris of the biggest outdoor urban rave in Europe (p.s. it happens every Friday and Saturday), then you’re really jamming it when it comes to the tune up. We spotted happiness in a group of drunks wearing less-than-flattering nylon fancy dress onesies, saw jigsaw patterns in the mash of cigarette butts on the pavements, and looked slightly differently onto the groups of pigeons hanging out by the park benches.

street wisdom pigeons lisboa

I always feel blessed and privileged to witness what participants are willing to share at the end of the Quest. Connection is part of what makes us human and yet, somehow, we’ve been socialised into walking anonymously in the city. We swapped tips about where to grow vegetable patches in Lisbon (before checking out to the countryside), learnt about the joy of talking to complete strangers, and opened up about very personal struggles. And we did it without hesitation, before a group of strangers, our only armour being strong expressos and the stunning late Spring Lisbon sunshine.

Lisbon, get ready. We’ve only just started with you.


Spitalfields: Providing Answers and Inspiration

Spitalfields is a diverse market filled with a multitude of colours, fabrics and new ideas for all who visit including those of us in search of wisdom.

The simplicity and structure of the street wisdom experience is an opportunity to take some time for yourself, slow down and notice the world around you.

I began my Saturday morning with a small, yet perfectly formed group of people all showing up to explore and discover answers to their own questions, culminating in sharing their experiences with a hot drink in warm surroundings.

Each person had different insights and observations from goldfish to straight lines in an area which to some was a familiar landscape and yet they noticed that there’s aways something new to learn and gain answers from.

“I’m so glad I came” and “I’m so inspired” were some of the words I heard during those three hours of Street Wisdom warming me up from the inside out.

All of us are looking for answers about life in some way or another and there’s a special magic about this time we take for ourselves that words alone cannot convey.

As I gently guided the group through the simple exercises, I loved listening to each person’s insights and perspectives, appreciating the value of providing others with the space to slow down and connect both with themselves and the outside world.

The answers are everywhere if we choose to look for them…even on the street!

Angela Wells


Wanderful Copenhagen

“It’s not rain – it’s nature reminding us we’re alive!”.  That was my own personal breakthrough moment leading a Street Wisdom in wonderful, wanderful Copenhagen.  Our 12 adventurers had started their Tune Up in bright sunshine. An hour later, just as we started the Quest, the skies opened.  It turned out to be perfect weather for an elemental journey. And it was also really fitting, given this Street Wisdom event was hosted by our new friends Being Human – an organisation that’s best known for taking groups into the wilderness and connecting deeply to Nature for inspiration.

Why did they want to run a Street Wisdom? Founder, Sille Lundquist put it this way – ‘Wisdom is everywhere, if we pay attention to it – this is a belief that Being Human shares with Street Wisdom. Even though we mostly use nature – both the great wild nature, and the small pockets of nature in every city around the world – for nourishment and inspiration, the collaboration was right from the second we met. I got curious and was guided by a playfulness, generosity, depth and eagerness to explore that not only made my day but answered my question – and inspired the people that came along as well! What a wonderful day – being alive in the rain!’

The questions people asked were, as ever, varied.  ‘Should I build the houseboat?‘ was one that stuck in my mind.  Another was ‘My head says yes to the dramatic new job but my body isn’t sure…which of them is right?’  The final sharing, in the warmth of the Atlasbar was just fascinating.  I had to tear myself away so I would get to the airport on time.  But I sense the conversations – and the real adventures – are just beginning.

David Pearl

Inventor of Street Wisdom

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A Notting Hill Street Wisdom

Do you take too many photos at concerts or read your emails while you’re on holiday? Do you busily walk down the street and forget to appreciate all that is beautiful around you? Most of us fall into these little traps and have a deeper knowing that it’s not what we want. When we slow down and go a little bit inside our bodies we remind ourselves that we are craving more wholesome day to day experiences of life. The great thing is that we don’t have to go very far to start having these experiences.

I facilitated my first Street Wisdom event a couple of weeks ago. Street Wisdom is a way of using the streets to get our senses more in touch and more in tune with our immediate environment and using that to help us find the answers to some of our more testing life questions. We use streets to get from a to b but outside of that straight line journey is an opportunity to learn about who we are, what we like, what we want and what steps (or not) to next take.

Six participants used the lightly chilled early springtime buzz of Portobello Road Market in Notting Hill in pursuit of getting their big question answered. The three hour event is split into three parts. Firstly we use shorter walks to tune our senses into the streets. We use the simplicity of our senses in a different way and feed off the sounds, sights, colours and people to fuel a better understanding of ourselves. The second part is where we take that question we want answered and roam the streets for an hour in search of whatever inspiration and direction is offered around us to get closer to an answer. Lastly we get together and discuss our discoveries.

There were some powerful messages flowing through the streets from the book shops to the dustcarts to mother-child bonding and urban greenery. There were conversations in record stores and posters on walls offering gentle signals. We learnt to trust and honour our intuition. We were reminded that sometimes it’s important to remove yourself from your familiar environment and relationships to gain a wider perspective on what you need from life. We saw how enjoying the creativity of others encourages our own creative pursuits.

I enjoyed this feedback from one of the participants: ‘The process reinforces my conviction that when one is open to explore the rich resources that is beyond the self, the meaning of one’s quest is within our reach.’

Use your streets in a way that serves you best. That gold mine of wisdom you’re searching for, how close by is it? I bet not far at all.

Vernon James @casualartist

street wisdom london vernon

A Portal to Awesomeness

The greatest thing about becoming a certified, bona-fide Street Wizard is the ability to go out into the world and share this incredible tool with other humans.

I found myself in Bali over December and January, pursuing a writing project. I had joined a group of brilliant minds and giving hearts at Tribewanted Bali. The programme offers accountability, mentoring, and goal setting to their members, who are working on a variety of projects, from start-up businesses to career changes.

Importantly, tribe is surrounded by a community of people who are bursting at the seams with inspiration and creativity.

Hosted in Hubud, one of the most exciting and carefully curated co-working places in the world, tribe allowed me to quickly connect with a range of people who, to some extent, have thrown themselves into massive quests. They’ve left their jobs, countries and families to come to Ubud to — in the midst of this ancient, spiritual town of 30,000 inhabitants — begin to look for answers on work-life balance and their true talent and calling.

All in all, the perfect playground for Street Wisdom.

I ran two sessions over two days, with 16 people in total taking part. Most of the participants were either established entrepreneurs or on their way to become so. A few others were living the digital nomad lifestyle by running a mix of freelance projects.

To most of these folk mindfulness is familiar territory; yoga just another language.

What was surprising was that even for people who are fluent in these forms of connection, Street Wisdom is still as powerful. You can have a couple years of deep meditation practice in the bag and still be as illuminated as a beginner in the art of slowing down, tuning up and listening to the true self within.

We settled early in the morning to avoid the tropical midday heat and picked a location which had all sorts of magic going for it: independent stores, the busy local market, plenty of cafés, a variety of temples and plenty of quieter little side streets and alleyways.

The group was happy to share their breakthroughs. One of the members came back from the quest overwhelmed with emotion; not only he had found a whole new side to Ubud he had never noticed (despite living there for a number of months) he also confirmed in those two sacred hours what he suspected all along was his gift to mankind. Two women came back deliriously happy; their much happier and serene body language had attracted the attention of strangers of the opposite sex, and an invitation for dinner.

To some others, the quest opened up a whole new set of questions, and more time required for reflection. One member realised that even though he was now living in paradise, he’d stopped noticing the environment around him as much as he would have in the beginning. He wrote back saying he was going to slow down and improve on his ability to observe.

I felt incredibly blessed for being a facilitator of these moments.

For two days only, I was a portal to awesomeness.

I can’t wait for the next Street Wisdom event.

Claudia Monteiro is on @montyclaudia 


New Year’s Revolution


We’re always thinking about how we can give you wonderful people more opportunities to experience the inspiration that’s right there under our feet in the street. So in addition to the Street Wisdom experiences that are springing up all over the world, we came up with Winter Wanderland. Piloted last year, it’s an SMS-based series of daily exercises – missions really – that you can easily weave into your life.

Most of us start the year with good intentions – short-lived ones! January’s Wanderland was designed specially to help people think deeper about the kind of year they want to have. So for 31 days, people all over the UK* turned commuting into curiosity, routine into realisation, asking questions about their 2016 and finding that…answers are everywhere.

We’ve had some great feedback so far. People have reported smiling ’til their faces cracked, looking deeply into the eyes of strangers, discovering answers at the end of 99 steps, opening up to a new way of looking at the streets and a different way of walking down them. It inspired this wonderful blog and an accompanying Instagram feed. Now it’s your turn. We’d love to hear what you discovered out there. Post a comment below or get in touch via Twitteror Facebook.

Thanks for joining us in our Winter Wander, we hope you found plenty to inspire you out on the streets.

From all of us at Street Wisdom.

* Currently Wanderland is available only on UK phones – though Jaki, one of our most enthusiastic US wizards found a way to make it work in LA.  Next year, the world?  Let us know if you’d be interested and we’ll see what we can do.

Berlin: Street Wisdom – an inspirational training tool


I took part in a Street Wisdom experience in Stockholm not too long ago and was very inspired by it. I am responsible for the Vattenfall International Trainee Programme and wanted to share this great tool with the international trainees. When the trainee group met in Berlin for their second seminar week, we spent an afternoon experiencing the wisdom of the streets. At first some of these energetic, fast pased young people found it a bit challenging to actually slow down and listen to the streets, but once they actually did, they really appreciated it. So it works, even in a corporate setting. Since this is “share” ware, I am hoping that at least some of them will arrange their own street wisdom experience soon. Let the wisdom spread!


Therese Troedsson
Program Manager
Leadership Development
Vattenfall Business Services Nordic

A new year adventure in London’s Borough Market

We decided to run a  Street Wisdom Adventure at the end of the first week of January, as we knew this would be a time when people would have some big questions in mind and would be looking for some big answers. 

Sandie (@dilgers) my very wonderful co-facilitator and I, met our Twelve Adventurers opposite Monmouth Coffee in Borough Market. The day was very ‘full’ of weather – both foul and fair.  We started with lovely crisp sunshine, followed by heavy rain and then a dry spell ; all with heavy cumulus clouds chasing each other across the sky above our heads.

We had lots of big questions being asked and it was clear, when we met for our round up discussion, that a good deal of inspiration had been gained and some big answers found.

There were plenty of goosebumps created as immediate and powerful connections were made . The smells ,sights and sounds of the Market as it set-up for Friday lunch , provide a rich territory for stimulus and inspiration.

One participant wanted to build better relationships within the family and became aware , inspired by the sight of surrounding scaffolding, that the key was to build events and activities that would enable this. For another person, looking to start a new business, the sight of office workers at computers was a reminder about getting the set-up and structure of a business right.

The sight of a deflated children’s balloon, children on a school trip and a building housing a charity for adolescent girls; created some great connections around belonging,  working with young people and the nature of home. One person felt the process was made more powerful by simply raising his head, looking up,  and seeing the world from a uplifted perspective.

All in all a great gang, a great adventure and a wanderful way to start 2016.

Nick Hammond