Wednesday, November 24, 2010

When the Details Matter More than the Destination

Four years ago this month I took a personal extended road trip that lasted nearly three weeks. I didn't have to be anywhere by a certain date. I didn't have to plan to be back to work. I had the freedom to go almost anywhere I wanted. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life. To this day I find it hard to describe how freeing an experience it was, and I long for the opportunity to do it again.

I just read this article on the Chronicle for Higher Education about a professor who has developed a smartphone app called Serendipitor that asks you to think about travel not in terms of origins and destinations, but on the journey itself. For the intrepid souls out there looking for that sort of experience, this sounds like the ideal app to allow one to quickly associate with their new surroundings, wherever they may find themselves. I downloaded the app and the idea is for you to enter a starting point and a destination (although you can also have the app make up a route for you). Once the route is entered, you move along the path it chooses for you. Along the way you are prompted with activities to try. Although I haven't tested this yet myself, to me this sounds like a way for someone to really step outside their normal comfort zone a bit.

This is not so much like other location-based activity apps like Foursquare; it's more basic, and in that sense more Zen. I'll have to give this a real college try soon. I think I definitely would have used something like this four years ago. I could try and relate this to training and performance improvement somehow - and I do have ideas on how to do so - but for now I'll let this just be.

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