Our fabulous intern Hadley left us a few months ago, and we still miss how much she helped around the Travel Freak office. Luckily we’ve been blessed with not one but TWO new interns, Brittney and Nandini, who you will be seeing around here very soon. But in honor of our original lackey, here’s Hadley’s last piece she wrote for the site which we just found in the bowels of our Documents folder. Perhaps we need an intern just to dig around the Travel Freak annals to dig up things we’ve forgotten!
Guest Post by Hadley
High on the list of my all-time favorite words is the French term dérive. Dérive has lots of meanings, and if you trust Merriam Webster it means to take, receive, or obtain, especially from a specified source. However, I am speaking of the psychogeographical definition of dérive, which transforms the word to be defined as an unplanned journey through an urban landscape to have an authentic, new experience. I imagine you’re pretty confused, but hear me out.
I learned the concept of “dériving” in a contemporary art class I took at a French university in Paris. The term is based on situationist theorist’s Guy Debord’s theory of exploring an urban landscape and engaging in new experiences, which when you think about it is something we do whenever we go to a new place. You know how it goes: you get to a new destination and stand at on an unfamiliar street corner with a friend, deciding whether to go right or left, unaware of what you’ll encounter in either direction. You decide to go right because it seems less threatening, more inviting — the path of least resistance. And then you end up aimlessly walking around, focusing entirely on your surroundings, every minute discovering a new detail. That’s dérive.
Dériving is a concept I find myself engaging in on a daily basis, but especially when I’m traveling. If you’ve never noticed yourself taking advantage of this mental exploration, try it out a little more explicitly on your next vacation or even just in a town or park nearby to you. That’s why dérive is such a great asset for travelers — it turns every activity into a journey.