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Urban Nomad Booklet

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  • 8/7/2019 Urban Nomad Booklet









  • 8/7/2019 Urban Nomad Booklet




    This project is an attempt to reconcile my dierences with the urban environment. It is based on a journey taken

    in the summer o 2010 in Washington D.C. A walk: rom the northern most point o the district to the southern

    tip. Twelve miles, one day. In order to experience the entirety o what is the District o Columbia, the planned

    route wound through a diverse cluster o neighborhoods: rich, poor, sae, sketchy, urban, green, touristy, almost

    orgotten, historic, colorul and bland.

    The journey was based on the idea o hiking, something I miss every day. It was an attempt to pry my mind

    away rom the notion that a hike is not limited to a place covered in trees, ar removed rom society, but that

    it can be anywhere.

    What came to be was a guide to urban hiking. An examination o the act o wandering the urban landscape,

    rom the planning stages to the completion and celebration o the trek.

    This is or all who live in the city but have let their hearts in wide open spaces.

    artist statement.

    I dont like the city.

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    Humans have always had the urge to explore uncharted territory, to go out intothe woods, to get dirty, to live under the sun, to be sel reliant. But we also havethe need or human contact, or community, or social and amily structures.People come to the city or many dierent reasons, be it school, money, amilyor anything else. Once there, its easy to get stuck, among the noise, in a placewhere everything else alls away...

    There must exist a balance. Balance is

    necessary for life and wellbeing. How does one cope

    with living in the crazy labyrinth that exists betweenthe city walls? Where do you go to get away when

    you cant get away?

    Adaptation and evolution. If you cant

    get to the wilderness, bring the wilderness to the

    city. It doesnt take a change of latitude to grab ayour pack, throw some hiking shoes on and head

    out the door for somewhere new. It would ta ke a

    wander lost in thecity.

    Day ater day we see the same things over andover. Our commute makes us numb to our sur-roundings and becomes a means to an end. Takea second and really look at what surrounds you.Things will take on new meanings and you willstart to enjoy things that you never knew existedbut were near you all the while.

    Find your peace of mind.

    lifetime to explore an entire city; its constantly

    changing, alive with the over abundance of activity.

    An ecosystem of its own. A living, breathing entity.

    Sometimes all it takes is a change of pace, taking a

    different sidewalk to work in the morning, enjoy the

    public transportation instead of wishing you were

    somewhere else.

    S top and sme ll t he owe rs in thene igh-

    bors overly-landscaped yard. Hell, pick a few and

    bring them inside, theyll never know, theyre caught

    up in their daily routine too. Walk in the rain. Find

    a spot to watch the sunset, even if it means climbing

    the water tower in that vacant lot that you pass by

    every single day.

    Take something and make something out

    of it. Find ways to make a greenspace for yourself.

    Grow a garden. Get dirty. Be creative, let your mind

    wander outside of the boundaries set by the sardine

    can society that you live in. Being active is the best


    It helps to have a bit of a sense of humor

    as well... that will get you far in life... especially ifyou live in the city. Not being able to laugh and take

    a step back will s urely lead to your demise!

    So if you are frustrated, bored and feel-

    ing slightly trapped in your concrete world, take a

    hike. Dont just go for a walk in your neighborhood,

    make it an event, an excursion, something to look

    forward too. Get outside of your comfort zone. Af-

    ter all, that is what we do when wander out into the

    country on those barely blazed trails. Nothing good

    ever comes from staying inside the 9-5 lines.

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    things you will carry.

    Hiking in the urban outdoors is sometimes tricky.Since there are plenty o available resources, suchas drinking ountains, ATMs, grocery stores, payphones, directories, people, and everything inbetween, it is possible and quite easy to go ultra-lite. But or those who like to be independentand resourceul, there are several basic things thatevery urban hiker needs to bring along.

    1. A good, comfy backpack for

    carrying all of your things. Smaller is easier in

    the city. 2. Cell phone, in case of emergency

    Facebook status updates. 3. Weaponry. 4. A

    good map. Must have coffee stains and tears

    or it wont work. 5. Water. hydrate or die. 6.

    Music is essential for any excursion. 7. Mail!

    Send some mail, people will be happy and youll

    feel like youre on vacation. 8. A small journal

    for note taking and sketching. 9. Dont forget the

    dollars. City hiking can be expensive. 10. Cof-

    fee. You will need at least four shots of espresso

    to start off your journey.

    What to bring on your hike.



    3. 4.




    8. 9.


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    Dont do it. Dont plan your route. Dont mapout the trails you intend to ollow. Dont ollow a

    trail. Thats the best part o being in the city. Areyou ever really going to be lost? No. There willbe some random person rom which you can getdirections. Or i you pay attention, and ollow thegrid that every single city is based on, you caneasily ollow letters and numbers and get yoursel

    out o any bind.


    Dont plan your route.

    That being said, its handy to carry a

    street map. And kind of fun too. But beware, if

    there are too many people around, you may resist

    pulling out said map due to the chance you may

    be mistaken as a tourist. This will not be a good

    situation, it is hi ghly recommended that you avoid

    looking like a tourist at all times.

    If you do come to a fork in the road, take

    the most adventurous and strange looking direction,

    it will be far more rewarding. You may end up in

    an alley eating the best burrito of your life, or you

    might end up sitting along the river as the sun sets.

    The greater the risk, the greater the reward. This

    can be taken advantage of whilst in the city, as op-

    posed to the wild, where you may fall off a clif f, geteaten alive, run out of food, or become hypother-


    Satisfy your inner wanderlust.

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    Plan Ahead and Prepare

    Know the regulations and special concerns for the

    area you are visiting. Prepare for extreme weather

    and emergencies. Schedule your trip to avoid times

    of high use. All you need is your smart phone. Use

    a map and compass to eliminate the use of marking


    Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces

    Good campsites are found, not made. In popular ar-

    eas concentrate use on existing trails and campsites.

    The entire city is a durable surface. Camping over-

    night is not recommended, unless you have a thing

    for cardboard boxes. Keep campsites small. Focus

    on activity in areas where vegetation is absent. In

    pristine areas, disperse to prevent the creations ofcampsites and trails.

    Dispose of Waste Properly

    Pack it in, pack it out. Deposit solid human waste

    in catholes dug six to eight inches deep at least 200

    feet from water, camp, and trails. Do not deposit

    solid human waste in the city. It is illegal and you

    will get arrested. Find a Starbucks, use the restroom.


    The city is your canvas.

    leave your trace.

    Leave What You Find

    Preserve the past: examine but do not touch,

    cultural or historic structures and artifacts. Leave



    introducing or transporting non-native species.

    Minimize Campre Impacts




    in trash barrels in sketchy underpasses. Keepres

    small, use only sticks from the ground that can be

    broken by hand.

    Respect WildlifeObserve wildlife from a distance, do not follow or

    approach them. Never feed animals. Feeding wildlife

    damages their health, alters natural behaviors and

    exposes them to predators and other dangers. Do

    not feed the tourists. Protect wildlife and your food

    by storing rations and trash securely.

    Everywhere you look, everyone is leaving theirmark. Its nowhere near pristine, but its more

    interesting than staring at unmarked, untouched,boring, grey concrete. Take in the colors o thecity. The stickers, the gratti, the marker tags, theposters, the murals... the visual surroundings oyour city can give you a lot o inormation aboutyour environment. Just like the animals in the wild

    leave ootprints and scat.

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    both nature andthe city are verystrange places.

    they are polaropposites, but justas easy to get lostin and equallyisolating. they canmake

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