Get out of Samesville

When Alex and I took her two girls out for an adventure last weekend (we went to the excellent Bay Area ‘Maker Faire’), we decided to take the train rather than the car.

Sam and Meg got window seats, literally pressing their noses up against the glass for the entire journey.

They drank in every small detail of the neighbourhoods through which the train sped, a sensation both Alex and I recognised.


We’d experienced it ourselves when visiting places for the first time.

For instance I’d seen Alex’s eyes dart hungrily hither and thither on her first drive through London with me.

Although there can be a certain amount of comfort in familiar environments, it’s also true that the same old surroundings can become soul-destroying when your mood is low.

Going somewhere new can, and often does, lift your spirits.

However, let’s face it, you’re unlikely to feel like setting off on some kind of ambitious expedition if you’re feeling one or two degrees under.

As is often the case, though, you can turn the underlying concept of going somewhere new into a practical idea for someone going through a rough patch.

Why not try this? Find a large-scale map of your immediate surroundings on paper, online, or on your phone, then shut your eyes and use your finger as a dart.

Where did it land? (If you end up somewhere familiar the first time, throw again.) At the very first opportunity, set off to explore, even if means no more than a ten minute walk.

Very often there’s something new just around the corner, and heading somewhere different can be an invaluable way to move on from those same old feelings.

One more thing. A short time ago I asked readers for their thoughts on what others might do to help them if their mood was low, and we’ve pulled these together into the shape of a short questionnaire.

If you’d like to ‘vote’ on what works for you, we’d love to hear from you. We’ll collate the answers and publish them shortly. Here’s the link:


4 thoughts on “Get out of Samesville

  1. Really simple but effective blog Jon, thank you!
    Will be pinpointing new place to walk the dog this morning!

  2. This is so true! I teach kindergarteners and when you get to see them react to something new it is priceless. It is easy to forget how much we all don’t know about our world. Show someone how to make something, crafting or cooking say, you will see something new in your minds eye as well.

  3. *Blissful sigh* I’d forgotten that sense of wonder and the sparkle in the eyes on being in new places and doing new things. Still relatively new in my home town, this is an excellent and timely reminder.

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