Coping Skill #49. Exploring a New Place

Walking to class at Oxford

Walking to class at Oxford

What I have spent most of my time in Oxford doing is getting lost. Everywhere that I go, I tend to forget how to get back. It seems that I am not alone in this, but it still makes me feel silly.

However, exploring a new place and wandering about can be a great coping skill. That is what I have been doing in this amazing city.

A bridge over a street

A bridge over a street

When you allow yourself to wander, you can see the world in a new way. Little things become beautiful and meaningful as you search through a unknown area. Try to keep an open mind and heart to what you discover. This way you can reap the full benefits of the expedition.

One other important element is to use all of your senses. Smell the flowers, pet the stray cats, look up at the clouds, taste the raindrops, walk barefoot to feel the cobble road – that is what I have been doing. Wherever you are, you can more fully experience a new place when you allow your sense to take in as much as you feel is possible. Touch smooth rocks or run your hand through a fountain to feel a new sensation. Really listen to the noise around you like other people, birds, or cars zooming by on the street. Look long at a beautiful flower, shiny building, or unique work of art. Try tasting a new food and just focus on how it feels in your mouth. Breathe in aromas through your nose. Pay attention to how all of these sensations make you feel emotionally.

Oxford roses

I love all of the gardens in England!

If you can, try to take some risks and have fun while you explore. This does not mean that you do something unsafe, but that you allow yourself to be a bit crazy or daring. Do not be afraid to be yourself and fully drink in the experience.

However, it might also be helpful to just relax and soak in the atmosphere. Wander about quietly and just stay in the moment. This can be much more calming and release stress.


Wandering about the courtyard by the library

If you get too overwhelmed in a new place, explore something familiar and try to see it in a new light. This coping skill might seem frightening at first, but I have found it to bring great excitement and peace. Find a new land (or old one) and immerse yourself in your surroundings.

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6 thoughts on “Coping Skill #49. Exploring a New Place

  1. I’m moving to a new city at the end of the summer, so this is definitely good advice for me to keep in mind. Thanks!

  2. Elle says:

    I wholeheartedly agree; the ability to explore is a skill and I love the advice you give. So true. Your first line made me laugh, 13ish years in Japan and I can still use that sentence; well replacing the “Oxford” with “Saitama”. 🙂

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