34 Yesterday I went to my once a year retreat. It is not a place all that far away but I love it there and something about it makes it seem much farther away than it actually is. It's a sort of a journey that,no matter where you live I feel is important to take the time to make: the exploration of the places you don't normally go that aren't within walking distance of your own backyard. This exploration is all about opening your eyes and looking at the world around you and going to places that defy your regular routine just to see what you don't normally see. The most ideal alternate spaces are laid back, relaxed quiet places with plenty of interesting people to well...people watch and I'm always finding more and more of those alternate spaces. I used to stick to cafes, parks, my home, public places such as the library and the mall but as I got older and older it expanded and I started to love trying every last inch of territory that is left unexplored for most of the year and wanted to do creative work within the more unfamiliar places on occasion as well. I've read a bunch of articles and books on various opinions on the best places to write but I'm starting to believe that it is best to stick to as many places as possible but, when I personally am really stuck nothing is better than taking the time to sit in busy, public places and observe. Every story I write is an imitation of reality and the one in my previous post is a good example of one of those golden observational moments. I'm in fact guilty of riding a subway just to eavesdrop and listen to what people where talking about due to a shortage of story ideas. Many of my influences are space-central with their work and I believe it is extremely important and is often overlooked and taken for granted because spaces act as a major character and determining factor in every aspect of life yet we still often take it for granted. Explore often and explore as much as possible and you never know what you'll find out. That pretty much summarizes my point. In fact I have a whole book filled with lists on how to go to familiar places and search for things you don't normally search for that are all about making mini-scavenger hunts out of familiar places.The title: "How to be an explorer of the world", it's my own personal exploration bible. It teaches the reader how to be basically explore their own, everyday world. You never know what you'll find. Every space is filled with hidden things.