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A guidebook for people out there who are looking for answers. In life. In work. In everything. And beyond. As you’ll discover, the answers to our questions are right in front of our eyes. We walk past them every day. Wanderful:Sat-Nav for the Soul, teaches us how to fire up our innate internal guidance system and seize the inspiration that surrounds us. Bringing us joy, motivation and clarity. Beat the machines and light up your soul.
Wanderful:Sat-Nav for the Soul is an essential, playful guide to help you discover your true path in life.’ Suzy Walker, editor, Psychologies Magazine
Any profits made from this book will be donated to Street Wisdom which is a non-profit international movement. So, by pledging you’re not only helping produce this book, but also supporting our mission to bring inspiration to every street on Earth. Thank you!
As a walk down any city street will tell you, modern life is a distracting and sometimes disorientating place to be. No wonder we shove in our ear-phones and plough on, screening out the background noise and those annoying strangers - lost in our thoughts.
I am David Pearl, a business innovator and founder of Street Wisdom, a not-profit global social movement which teaches people through WalkShops how to find clarity and inspiration from the city streets. The modern urban route to mindfulness.
As you’ll guess from the book’s title – Wanderful – the key to access inspiration every day is to unhook ourselves from our daily routine, all that rushing from A to B, and find new ways to wander. Not just physically but mentally too. Straight-line thinking is less and less helpful in our complex AI focused world. To find a way through all the twists and turns, we need
That requires us to get off the straight and narrow – wandering our way into answers.
In the book I’ll show you how to have your own Street Wisdom experiences – turning ordinary city streets into places where you can learn something extraordinary. And we’ll go further, discovering how you can wake up the internal guidance system we all have within us. It helps us set a direction and stay orientated. When in doubt it will nudge you towards choices that are going to be more rewarding, authentic and healthy. That’s why the book’s subtitle is 'Sat Nav for the Soul'.
It’s not written as a ‘How To’ book you read beginning to end. Where’s the wandering fun in that? Instead I am structuring it a bit like a cityscape you can browse and find your own path through. I will be sharing thoughts, stories, tips and techniques including a few from famous strangers we ‘bump’ into.
Let’s make this confusing planet a little bit more wonderful - and wanderful – together*.
*Book cover design is for illustrative purposes and may differ to final design.
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David Pearl is an innovator in business, the arts and social change. Drawing on a lifetime's work performing in opera, theatre and film, he has pioneered the use of arts in the business world and is creative confidante to high profile CEOs and their teams across the globe. Known as the ‘Experience Engineer’: designing, orchestrating and animating high stakes meetings. David’s work has appeared in media such as the BBC, The Sunday Times, New Statesman, The Independent and The Telegraph.
David is the author of The Times Top 10 book Will There Be Donuts? and Story for Leaders and is the founder of Street Wisdom, a not-profit urban mindfulness movement offering ‘walking-based problem solving’ and mindful inspiration on the streets of 40 countries - and counting.
He lives in London and Italy, and is an enthusiastic, if out of breath, road cyclist.
The Road to Here
So here we are, standing on the street. About to set off into this book. It could be any street anywhere but for a moment let me invite you join me in Long Acre, an elegantly curving street in London’s Covent Garden. It’s Spring 2013. And it's raining.
This is a book about how you orientate yourself through a confusing world. So before we head off, let’s take a moment to figure out how we got here.
And as we’re going to be spending a bit of time together, ambling through these pages, it also might be helpful for you know just a little about me and this Street Wisdom thingy I am supposed to have invented. I say “supposed” because truly I feel like it was an idea that I tripped over. And though I have certainly led the way for our non-profit movement, it’s actually been realised by a core of fellow wanderers (Chris, Mel, Mark, Sticky, Rachel, Mark A, Scott…) as well as a large and fast growing network of volunteers around the world.
But let’s not hurry on. If wandering is about anything, it’s about taking the time. And noticing what’s happening around you when you do.
Don’t mind the rain. We city dwellers get all hunched up and grouchy when it rains. As though it’s a personal inconvenience. Just think of it as Nature’s way of reminding us it exists, even in the city. Also, as my mother you to say to us as kids, “you won’t melt”.
If you haven’t visited, Covent Garden used to be London’s main Fruit & Vegetable market. Though there’s no sign of a garden now, back in the 1500’s that’s what it was. A walled convent garden that produced the vegetables for Westminster Abbey. It is the setting for the opening scene of Shaw’s Pygmalion and of My Fair Lady, the film of the play. It’s also home to the Royal Opera House, an imposing, ivory-coloured temple of passions and primadonnas where I spent several years as a child singer. That’s a story we might get to later. Or not. Let’s see where our conversational feet take us.
The Opera House is still much as it was when I was a kid but the area has been scrubbed up and the rotting cabbage leaves I remember being stuck to the cobbles are long gone, but you can sense the mercantile history of these streets in the burnished iron work, the paving stones and glazed colonnades.
Covent Garden is normally awash with visitors, but today the drizzle has kept the tourists away.
Let’s swing up Neals’ Yard and turn left down Monmouth Street. See that big, damp Union Jack flag hanging over that portico? It’s the Covent Garden Hotel. Once a Victorian Hospital. Courtney Love isn’t trashing her suite at the moment, though it’s happened. Across the road the full-on erotica at Agent Provocateur seems out of place until you remember Covent Garden was also at one time London’s red light district.
Right. We’ve arrived at the meeting point. A small roundabout where several streets converge on a pillar bearing six sundials. Welcome to Seven Dials. (In case you’re wondering, the seventh sundial is the pillar itself). And waiting for us are a couple of strangers. One has a clipboard. And the other a big smile.
These people are helping to fund Wanderful.
Rob-Jan de Jong
Lorraine Spring -Taylor