Yesterday my son told me about a new thing that many people have started doing: “Randonauting“. At first glance I admit it seems just a little bit too “woo” for me. Here’s the idea:
Download an app that connects to a quantum random number generator and then, after specifying a maximum distance from your current location, let it choose a location for you to go to. BUT before you click “GO” focus on something that you’d like to get out of that trip. A question to answer, a mood, a feeling or intention. Then go to the place and if you believe the woo, your intention affects the physical world and it manifests. Over on Reddit there are, admittedly, some fun examples of it “working”
I’m intrigued by the idea – if nothing else, people who know me know I adore randomness and the unexpected so an app that tells me to go somewhere I might not otherwise have gone to? Perfection. And hey, what the heck, I might as well try the intention thing, what the heck, right? And so on my next bike ride I install the app, focus on the intention “My next big project” and get on my way.
The first thing that happens on my ride is that the handlebar-mounted phone holder I decided to use for easy navigation during this project, snaps off in my hand about 20 metres after I leave. There will be no phone distractions on this trip. I pull over when it is safe and toss it in the trash and put my phone in the back pocket of my jersey. Google maps can talk to me from behind. It’s safer that way.
Down I go, past the science centre and in to the park. It’s a beautiful night. It feels like a thunderstorm is coming so the atmosphere is one of anticipation. I’m resigned to getting rained on if it happens. It’ll be warm and I’m waterproof.
And then I’m directed back out on to a street in disarray. They’re building a cross-town light rail line here and there are barriers, construction equipment, loose gravel and fences up. But this has deterred most cars from driving here also so it’s nearly deserted. Soon, from my back jersey pocket I hear.
“Your destination is on your left.”
Like I say, this is a bit woo for me but still, when I see this I’m disappointed and a little superstitious despite myself. This site used to be a manufacturing site but now it’s being demolished and looks like a disaster area. If you believe this stuff this is “my next big project” – destruction and disaster.
OK, I need to do this again. I don’t believe in this stuff but I am not satisfied with leaving it at this and I still have more time I need to ride. Again I think “My next project”. I’m directed to loop back down past the science centre again, up the same path that led me to the disaster area and then up a path along the river. The wind is picking up and I can hear the leaves rustling in the trees above. Google sends me on a hill so steep I can barely even push my bike up it and then I’m in a whole different neighbourhood – one I’ve never visited before.
“Your destination is on your left.”
The houses in this neighbourhood are ridiculous – bigger and fancier than anything I would ever dream of having. Most have large iron gates with intercoms and card access. One house currently under construction is so big and ostentatious that at first I think it must be a school or other public building.
Looking at the map I’m no longer surprised by the houses. I’m in the neighbourhood where Drake has a house, where Gordon Lightfoot lives and where Prince lived back in the day. It is lovely but I feel out of place.
So what to make of this? My next big project is to start over and get rich? To buy a mansion and become a supervillian? I think that in the end the answer lies in what I really think of things like this – and also of fortune telling, horoscopes and tarot and even when we look back on something and say “These things always happen for a reason.” We humans have big brains capable of making connections and managing abstract thought. We’re excellent storytellers. And so, we find the connection to the thought that “brought us here.” And so, for me the answer to “my next big project” is what I’ve already started working on. As you’ve seen to some extent I’m working on self-improvement, tearing down bad habits like spending too much time procrastinating, wasting time on social media or not keeping fit, and building up new ones. And so, like the old industrial site, I’m clearing a building site for myself. And then? Once done, then it’s time to take that building site and make something awesome in its place. A new me as it were.
I try once more and as if confirming my idea, the next point I’m told to go to is on a running trail back in my own neighbourhood.
Whether real or not it’s a fascinating thought exercise, turning me inward in good ways and I’m sure it will also give me hours and hours of interesting exploration whether cycling, running, or walking. I’m imagining a 100+ km bike ride done based on this. Where would it take me?
Meanwhile, as I write this, Daegan just got back from his first Randonaut trip – the word he focused on? “Treasure”. Off he went and when he got to the site, there was one of his favourite teachers from high school sitting with his family so they all got to catch up.
Make of that what you will.
Have you tried randonauting? Tell about your experiences in the comments below!