Flaneur – (n.) from French. One who wanders aimlessly, who roams, who travels at a lounging pace. Aimlessly?

“What I required was not exactly solitude, but the opportunity to roam around freely, meeting people when I wished and taking leave of them when I wished.”

-Gérard de Nerval

“…it is exile that evokes the sensitive intellectual, the critical spirit operating alone on the margins of society, a traveler, rootless and yet at home in every metropolis, a tireless wanderer from academic conference to academic conference, a thinker in several languages, an eloquent advocate for ethnic and sexual minorities—in short, a romantic outsider living on the edge of the bourgeois world.”

-Ian Buruma

“The crowd is his element, as the air is that of birds and water of fishes.  His passion and his profession are to become one flesh with the crowd.  For the perfect flâneur, for the passionate spectator, it is an immense joy to set up house in the heart of the multitude, amid the ebb and flow of movement, in the midst of the fugitive and the infinite.  To be away from home and yet to feel oneself everywhere at home; to see the world, to be at the center of the world, and yet to remain free from the world— such are a few of the slightest pleasures of those independent, passionate, natures which the tongue can but clumsily define.”

-Charles Baudelaire

9 COMMENTS

  1. That’s quality.

    Having now done both, there is definitely a difference between being a flaneur and a (package) tourist. I start my career pretty soon but a few years down the line I want to take a career break and just wonder off and discover another part of the world for a few months. I met some people that are doing just that and they are having a GREAT time.

    • @Blackpacker: Thanks for the compliment! You can be a flaneur, even with a job; just stroll aimlessly one afternoon, absorbing the atmosphere of wherever you’re located.

  2. hmm that sounds like a cool job title. When people ask what you do…just say I am a Flaneur, def sounds cooler than any other job. Just saw ur previous blogposts and glad u got to meet an Eritrean sista all the way in Brazil…def not many of us globe trottin, at least those of us who are not part of the fugee crew.

    • @AZ: Speaking of ‘fugees, Lauryn Hill’s coming to Brasilia in two weeks! Ya girl was reppin Eritrea to the fullest; from deep knowledge about the history and politics of the place to the high cheekbones and beautifully smooth skin the women are known for. Tell those fools you’re a flaneur and have them running for their Funk & Wagnalls!

  3. Love the excerpts…so amazing to have strangers put my thoughts/innermost feelings into words…I guess I’m not so weird after all 🙂

    • @Toyin: You’re not weird at all; there have been and will always be people enamored of the cacophony of urban life. I’m just glad people can find interesting and inspirational items on my site. That’s what keeps me from thinking that I’m weird! Thanks for commenting!

Leave a Reply