I’ve had a strange last week. The urge to use some of my newly rediscovered lateral thinking skills has been bubbling to the surface.
When I was in my late teens I found an early website online of design methods. I forget the name of the guy whose website it is (I think his first name was Martin), but its long been taken offline. However, it introduced me to concepts such as lateral thinking and Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies.
I was amazed to find Edward De Bono’s book Lateral Thinking in a book shop in Quetta and I’ve found inspiration to use the techniques whilst travelling.
Cycle touring is well suited to being a physical manifestation of a lateral thought process. For example, cycling along the main road mid-way through the day, I turned onto a smaller road which was immediately clear as being a good decision.
Rather than the truckers, roadside restaurants, and dirty belching diesel lorries I was presented with quiet tree-lined homes, agricultural land and buffalo in courtyards of rural homes with local people. I soon cycled past a colourful wedding. Fireworks were being launched into the street with loud bangs reverberating my cranium.
An Indian wedding is an event I’ve learnt to either avoid or rock up to on my bike, depending on whether I feel like having a mind whirling adventure into Indian culture. On this particular occasion I decided to cycle away to savour more of the quiet rural roads and pleasant cycling.
Whilst pedalling I get into the ‘zone’. Time is distorted passes more quickly. I pedal, feeling contented, observing my surroundings and listening to music. After 2 hours, I stop, I’ve gone through 3 albums, 3 towns, 50 km and I’m ready for a nice big Gujarati Thali (a resplendent 8-dish Indian meal).
If I had stayed on the main road, choosing not to take a lateral thinking diversion, the experience would have been a lot less interesting and enjoyable. I probably wouldn’t have been able to get into that preferable “flow state” so easily. Anyway that is my theory :)