El Camino de Oxford Street?

Looking for St. Michael? Turn right at Top Shop


Every year thousands of people trek to Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain on routes that wind through Europe, carved by countless pilgrims and spiritual seekers before them. It can be a long, long walk. But that’s the point. If you’re looking for answers, inspiration and insight, the journey’s the thing. It’s where the magic happens, the chance meetings, the unexpected discoveries. I haven’t walked the camino myself but those who have tell me they get a huge amount from it.

Every year hundreds of thousands – millions – of people trek through our city streets on their way to and from work. And what they get from is, mostly – nothing.

Zip. Niente. Nada.

The street to many of us is just a traffic-filled, annoying space to hurry through, a logistical obstacle, something to screen out with an iPod playlist.

We disagree. That’s not a royal ‘we’ either. It’s a delightfully disruptive clan of creative allies involved in a new non-profit venture we call Street Wisdom. We think a scrubby path through the northern Spanish hills is more like Oxford Street rush hour than an average city dweller realises. We think the magic is more about how you look than what you are looking at. We’re suggesting the difference between a quest and a commute is a choice you can make any time. When you really switch on your senses and connect with what’s around you, you can start picking up inspiration right outside your door.

What do you think? Want to experiment? We’re doing Street Wisdom events from San Francisco to Sofia this Spring. Just register on the site and we’ll let you know when and where you can join us.

First posted on Street Wisdom blog 11 February 2014

5 thoughts on “El Camino de Oxford Street?

  1. Very true. I always admired the sculptor I knew whose studio was a few miles form his home and who made it a rule that he would always take a different route to his studio, taking him wherever his instinct took him. There were times when he never got to his studio at all. By the way, there’s no tilde on camino. (Sorry to be pedantic!)

    • Thanks Tim I always appreciate your comments. And thanks for the tilde spotting. I didnt even know it was called that. I have just been to a chinese restaurant called Gung-Ho and until today never realised that meant Working Together. Interesting what you notice when you start looking…

  2. I have walked the Camino and loved it. But you’re right, you don’t have to leave home to have magical encounters. On my small local station, a group of people who previously didn’t know each other have become good friends – just from being willing to take the first step and say hello. A chance encounter on another train has left me with a standing invitation to visit Philadelphia. Be interested and the world will come to you, wherever you are.

    • That’s so encouraging. I love the idea of ‘encounters’. Whenever there’s a disaster or difficulty the papers are full of people’s unexpected compassion and connection with others. Why unexpected. And why do we wait for crises to take that first step? There have been times in history (and there are still places in the world) where saying the wrong word to a stranger could result danger, a duel and/or death. We are living in arguably the safest period of history so far and we’re more scared of contact than ever. Hmmm.

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