Instructions to get lost in a city


Reading time 4 minutes

As the first approach to this convoluted subject that is the art of wandering, designer and urban planner Ellen Keith published a while ago The Guide to Getting Lost, a vademecum with three proposals, which we will now detail, to become the perfect ' flâneur' . This is: the walker who roams the streets without any direction, without destination.

The same that discovers unsuspected urban topographies activating intuition as the only device. Passionate observer, curious streets; With each step, move a border. His new look opens buildings, cafes, parks, monuments …, while crossing with unpublished faces . Carries a free, improvised walk; but he is not afraid to go astray, because he knows that the roads are never ruined, that there are no wrong directions.

Here are the indications of Ellen Keith, but, attention: for logistical reasons, the three routes indicated below cannot be done using GPS applications, so it is advisable to disable this function of the mobile. For a full experience, it is advisable to forget the phone at home (as long as there is no medical contraindication).

Ponte la capa de explorador y redescubre tu entorno

Put on your explorer's coat and rediscover your surroundings © Alamy


1. Leave home and go to the nearest bus stop .

2. Get on the first bus that passes.

3. Get off after 15 stops.

4. When you get off the bus, go left.

5. When you overtake a person that you find interesting, immediately turn around and take the first street on the left.

6. Look for a kiosk, a shop or a coffee.

7. Stand up and look around.

8. Go to the address that catches your attention the most .

9. Deviate to the first side street you find; when you reach the end, turn right.

10. Reorient yourself (without consulting the mobile). Find the nearest slope and climb it.

11. Take a breath, find a place to rest (a bench, a terrace, the lawn of the park …), Sit at least ten minutes and wait to see what happens.

"Going out when nothing forces you and following your inspiration, as if the mere act of twisting to the right or left was in itself an essentially poetic act."

Súbete al primer autobús que pase

Get on the first bus that passes © Alamy


1. Go to a neighborhood in the city you are curious about.

2. As a starting point, choose a park or any place in the neighborhood that appeals to you.

3. Once you have fully explored this site, start walking.

4. Keep going straight until you find a red light . Change the direction you were leading and cross the first traffic light you see in green.

5. When you reach the end of the street, turn left and head towards the next intersection.

6. Once there, let yourself go in the direction that is most striking to you. After two blocks, turn right.

7. Try to find a cyclist . If too many cyclists pass, try to find a dog and follow the same direction. Pass three blocks and return to point four of the itinerary.

8. Follow these steps until you've seen enough of the neighborhood.

9. When you have seen the neighborhood enough, take a bus to an unknown location . Take a ride on public transport. Avoid looking at the mobile screen. Look out the window and get off the bus as soon as something out there catches your attention.

"The shape of a city changes faster than the heart of a mortal"

Parte de un lugar que te parezca atractivo, como la orilla de un río

Part of a place that seems attractive to you, like the bank of a river © Alamy


1. Go to an area of ​​the city that is familiar to you but in which you still have places to explore. (Hint: it can be any neighborhood, even yours ).

2. Go to a reference point for you.

3. On the way, take a street that you don't normally go through (or better yet, that you've never been through!)

4. Take another street that you don't normally pass through.

5. And another.

6. And another.

7. And another.

8. Etc.

9. Congratulations! You are already a ' flâneur'.

"For the perfect 'flâneur', the greatest enjoyment is to be away from home and feel at home everywhere; contemplate the world, be strictly in the center of the world and stay hidden from the world"

¡Felicidades! Ya eres un 'flâneur'

Congratulations! You are already a 'flâneur' © Alamy

Note 1 : Any of the above indications is likely to be ignored by the apprentice of 'flâneur'.

Note 2: Remember that this manual is intended for 'flâneur' learners. For an advanced degree, read Baudelaire and Benjamin.

Note 3: The quotations highlighted above have been extracted from the book Work of the Passages, by Walter Benjamin.